Background and aims: People with Parkinson disease (PwP) exhibit gut dysbiosis and considerable gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms. Probiotics, beneficial strains of microorganisms, supplement and optimize the intestinal environment and alleviate GI symptoms among elderly people. We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of clinical trials to investigate the effects of probiotics on PwP.

Methods: We searched the PubMed, Embase, and Cochrane Library databases. Major outcomes were the effects on GI symptoms, including bowel movement and stool characteristics. This study was registered with PROSPERO (CRD42021262036).

Results: Six randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and two open-label studies were included. Most of the probiotic regimens were based on Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. Six studies investigated the benefit of probiotics for GI symptoms, especially for PwP with functional constipation, and two RCTs assessed probiotics’ effect on systematic metabolism and inflammation. In the meta-analysis, probiotic treatment significantly increased the frequency of bowel movements among PwP (mean difference [MD]: 1.06 /week, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.61 to 1.51, p < 0.001, I2 = 40%). Additionally, probiotic treatment significantly normalized stool consistency (standard MD: 0.61, 95% CI = 0.31 to 0.91, p < 0.001, I2 = 0%).

Conclusions: Although the probiotic compositions varied, probiotic treatment significantly attenuated constipation for PwP and exhibited possible systematic effects on inflammation and metabolism. Given the tolerability of probiotics, the present meta-analysis may provide more consolidated evidence of the benefit of probiotics on constipation in PwP and a possible new therapeutic approach for disease modification.