We offer a range of high quality, high potency probiotics that have been shown in scientific studies to be stable, effective in the gut and acid resistant. Our industry-leading LAB4 complex can be found in the majority of our probiotic products, and consists of 2 specific strains of Lactobacillus acidophilus with Bifidobacterium bifidum and Bifidobacterium lactis. We also use other well-researched strains in specific combinations when clinically required.
Properties of Effective Probiotics
As probiotic bacteria have different attributes, it’s important you consider a product with well-characterised strains, ensuring the bacteria have been correctly identified and have a proven safety record.
What’s really in it?
Proper strain identification is essential to ensure the research about benefits is valid. A recent EU study concluded that 28% of probiotic strains were misidentified by manufacturers and so inexact labelling of strains is a very real issue.
Avoid non-human strain bacteria or yeasts
which are conceptually unsound and can be dangerous in immunocompromised individuals. The stated positive effects of S. boulardii are also arguably less generalised with little evidence of a beneficial effect on immunity and similar positive results can often be obtained with certain human strain probiotics.
Although we can isolate hundreds of different bacteria from human stools, it doesn’t follow that using multiple bacteria will offer a health benefit. If you are considering a multiple strain product, ensure the bacteria are well-characterised, safe, human strain, and are known to have a beneficial effect in the human gut in that particular combination. Furthermore in unproven multistrain products the bacteria may be antagonistic to each other and may alter the gut flora in an undesirable way.
Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria have a virtually unblemished safety record when administered to humans and do not elicit an overt Th1 or Th2 immune response. Historical use of Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria over decades of use has shown no pathogenicity even in neonates when used in concentrations from 1 billion to 10,000 billion/day.
Ensure the probiotic you use contains the stated dose at end of shelf life. Good probiotics need to be kept in the fridge to maintain potency. If a product states that refrigeration is not required, the stated potency has either been reduced to allow for storage at higher temperatures (and is therefore less potent than it could be) or the product does not guarantee potency at end of shelf life. Avoid probiotics in ‘activated liquid’ form as these are less stable and more prone to deterioration. Freeze dried probiotics have a much higher degree of viability.
Many studies have shown the preferential effects of prebiotics on the status of good bacteria in the gut. Using prebiotics like F.O.S. preferentially increases the ratio of good to bad bacteria and can dramatically potentiate the effect of the probiotic. Therefore ‘synbiotic’ products, where both pre and probiotics are used together, are the preferred form. The claim by some that F.O.S. feeds bad bacteria is a myth as in every scientific study the effect of F.O.S. is overwhelmingly to increase probiotic bacteria and to reduce, or at least not increase, potential pathogens like Candida albicans. e-coli, clostridium and klebsiella
Finally, and most importantly, is there any research associated with the combination and if so how good is it? Many probiotic manufacturers claim research support for their products, but the quality of the studies is sometimes lacking. There are numerous products stating beneficial effects on conditions like IBS, but when the data is examined the studies are often very small scale or require expensive long term supplementation to deliver the claimed effects.
Question what you ADVISE!
BioCare® Probiotics what sets us apart
Activity - assessed in clinical trials of around 850 individuals, across 5 different conditions.
Dosage - effective proven therapeutic dosage levels maintained to end of shelf life.
Viability - published study shows BioCare® strains survive digestion.
Innovation - 25 years experience, evolving products and bespoke formulations to meet the needs of every age from neonate to the elderly.
Safety - in a published study over 2 years of 225 pregnant women and their babies.
Effectiveness - in 7 peer reviewed published papers with 85+ citations. Many probiotics have not been investigated in any human clinical trials at all or can take 3 months to show a benefit compared to placebo.
BioCare® Probiotics and Antibiotics
BioCare® ‘LAB4’ blend of probiotics has been used extensively in several well-designed and high profile clinical trials showing benefits for some of the negative effects of antibiotic use.
Antibiotic Therapy Study
Supplementation with LAB4 probiotics helped maintain the balance of the gut microflora following 7 days of antibiotic therapy and reduced the overgrowth of Coliforms, Enterococci and Staphylococcus aureus.
155 patients over 21 days, found that daily supplementation with LAB4 significantly reduced incidence and total numbers of antibiotic resistant strains after antibiotic therapy (>70%) and inhibited overgrowth of Candida albicans.
138 patients requiring antibiotic therapy for C. difficile found that supplementation of LAB4 probiotics for 20 days significantly reduced C. difficile associated diarrhoea compared to placebo.
BioCare® LAB4 Irritable Bowel Syndrome Study
52 people diagnosed with IBS divided into two groups. One group supplemented daily for 8 weeks with LAB4. Second group took a placebo. IBS symptoms assessed every two weeks during the study period and at 10 weeks. LAB4 significantly reduced the total IBS symptoms in the subjects compared to those taking the placebo.
The Swansea Baby Study
This was a large, well-designed longitudinal study that confirms the theory that specific probiotics given during infancy can prevent allergy in children and hence potentially reduce the lifelong incidence of the condition.
454 mother/baby pairs took part in the trial. Half of the mothers took the 10 billion of the LAB4B probiotic per day during the last trimester and then gave the same probiotic to their newborn babies every day for 6 months following birth.
The LAB4B group were 57% less likely to develop allergic atopic eczema than those receiving the dummy product and 44% less likely to develop allergic reaction to the common allergens including pollen, cow’s milk, egg, and house dust mite.
The primary author, Prof. Steve Allen concluded the following as the key message of the trial... 'Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria administered to pregnant women and infants aged 0-6 months prevented atopic sensitization and atopic eczema’
- Penders J. Thijs C, Mommers M. Stobberingh EE, Dompeling E, Reijerink NE, van den Brandt PA, Kerkhof M, Koppelman GH, Postma DS. Intestinal lactobacilli and the DC-SGN gene for their recognition by dendritic cells play a role in the aetiology of allergic manifestations. Microbiology 2010, 156, 3298-3305
- Schiffer C, Lalanne AI, Cassard L, Manacrdi DA, Malbec O, Bruhns P, Dif F, Daeron M. A strain of Lactobacillus casei inhibits the effector phase of immune inflammation. J Immunol 2011, 187, 2646-2655
- SJ Allen, S Jordan, M Storey, CA Thornton, MB Gravenor, I Garaiova, RH Jones, TV Macfarlane, AL Seager, B Manshian, M Moller, M Omakobia, SF Plummer, D Wang, G Morgan. Probiotics and atopic eczema: a double-blind randomised controlled trial. Arch Dis Child 2012;97:A2
- Pelucchi C,Chatenoud L, Turati F, Galeone C, Moja L, Bach J, La Vecchia C.a,b. Probiotics Supplementation During Pregnancy or Infancy for the Prevention of Atopic Dermatitis A Meta-analysis Epidemiology 2012;23: 402–414