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Key Message #2 – Choosing The Right Probiotic

The right probiotic

There is a multitude of different probiotic products on the market, all containing different strains of live bacteria, in different combinations and at different amounts – and this can make it difficult to decide which product to use in any given situation.

When deciding which to use, we would recommend using the probiotic that has a double-blind placebo-controlled trial published to support the specific condition that you are dealing with.

Whether it is irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), allergy, infection, gut-brain related disorders or simply alongside antibiotic use, it is efficacious to use strains that have been shown to provide a benefit for that particular condition.

In addition, a probiotic should include isolates that have been identified using the following criteria:

Totally non-pathogenic

A species indigenous to the target host (human)

Capable of ‘colonisation’ of the digestive tract

Resistant to stomach acid and bile salts, capable of attachment to epithelial cells and capable of immunomodulation in-vitro.

Data to support use

Clinical data is particularly important.

Commercial release

Commercial release of the product should be covered by a thorough quality assurance program.

Lab4 and Lab4b

The Lab4 consortium of live bacteria used in the ProVen Probiotics products comprises four specially selected strains of lactobacillus and bifido bacteria found in the developed human GI tract. A separate group of four lactobacillus and bifidus strains was selected for babies (Lab4b) to reflect the bacteria present in the developing gut.

Lactic acid bacteria (Lactobacillus) and Bifidobacteria are considered to be benign microorganisms that are not associated with pathogenicity. In addition, the Lab4 bacteria have been rigorously tested to show both their passage through the GI tract and colonisation of the gut.

Prior to selection, the bacteria in the Lab4 consortia were subjected to a rigorous two-phase testing process to enable the most appropriate strains to be selected.

This two-stage process included preliminary and secondary screening for strain suitability, durability, ‘competitivity’, antimicrobial properties, antibiotic susceptibilities and growth and storage capabilities.

Multi-condition clinical data

But the ‘acid’ test is the efficacy of a particular probiotic in practice – does it stand up to its in-vitro characteristics in vivo?

The Lab4 consortia is supported by data showing benefits and symptom reduction in all of the following conditions:

Intestinal Disease

Roberts JD et al 2016.  An Exploratory Investigation of Endotoxin Levels in Novice Long Distance Triathletes, and the Effects of a Multi-Strain Probiotic/Prebiotic, Antioxidant Intervention. Nutrients 8:733

Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Williams EA et al 2009. A multistrain probiotic preparation significantly reduces symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome in a double-blind placebo-controlled study. Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics 29:97-103

Clostridium difficile and associated diarrhoea

Plummer S. et al 2004. Effects of probiotic supplementation on the incidence of C.difficile diarrhoea. International Microbiology 7(1):59-62

Allergy in babies and children

Allen SJ et al 2014. Probiotics in the prevention of eczema: a randomised controlled trial. Archives of Disease in Childhood 99(11): 1014–1019

Upper respiratory tract infections

Probiotics and vitamin C for the prevention of respiratory tract infections in children attending preschool: a randomised controlled pilot study. Garaiova I et al 2014. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition 1-7

Anxiety and continuity of attention

Owen L et al 2014 A double blind, placebo controlled, randomised pilot trial examining the effects of probiotic administration on mood and cognitive functionProc of Nut Soc 73(OCE1):E29

Athletic performance

Roberts JD et al 2016.  An Exploratory Investigation of Endotoxin Levels in Novice Long Distance Triathletes, and the Effects of a Multi-Strain Probiotic/Prebiotic, Antioxidant Intervention. Nutrients 8:733


Madden JAJ et al 2005. Effects of probiotics on preventing disruption of the intestinal microflora following antibiotic therapy: A double-blind, placebo-controlled pilot study. Int Immunopharmacology 5:1091-1097​

and: Plummer S et al 2005. Effects of probiotics on the composition of the intestinal microbiota following antibiotic therapy. Int J of Antimicrobial Agents 26:69-74

This evidence supprots the view that an effective probiotic will talk to different parts of our physiology and have effects in multiple systems at the same time. Currently, the Lab4 consortia of bacteria used in ProVen Probiotics is the leading probiotic group with ongoing, multi-condition clinical research to support this view.

Want to know more?

Pro-Ven Probiotics aim to provide the best support for both you and your health. If you wish to know more about gut health, and staying healthy please do not hesitate to call us on 01639 825107 or alternatively, learn more via our blogs or in-depth proven research.

ProVen Probiotics, Unit 2 Christchurch Road, Baglan Industrial Park, Port Talbot, SA12 7DJ. Tel: 01639 825107

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