In an independent trial, Proven, proved that their Lab4 ‘friendly’ probiotic bacteria strains halved the risk of allergic sensitisation in infants up to two years of age. To add to this, the risk of atopic eczema was also reduced by over 50%.
The two-year trial, by Swansea University, gave pregnant women products containing Lab4 during the later part of their pregnancy, as well as babies in the first months of life. The results demonstrated that Lab4b probiotic products can significantly reduce the risk of allergy in children.
What are probiotics?
Probiotics are microrganisms, such as bacteria or yeast, which can be found in some food, and are believed to play an important role in regulating intestinal function and digestion by balancing the intestinal micro-flora.
Why do we need this ‘good’ bacteria in our diet?
Our digestive tract contains trillions of bacteria – more than the total number of cells in our body. They start to colonise the gut as soon as we are born, through contact with bacteria in the birth canal and, subsequently, though the mother’s milk and other food and drink that is consumed. Some are beneficial and some can be ‘pathogenic’ (able to produce disease).
It may seem hard to believe that some bacteria are actually good for us, but the beneficial ones in the gut are thought to have many vital roles. These include producing lactic acid to create the right pH in the gut for optimal digestion and absorption, producing the enzyme lactase to digest lactose in milk, fermenting fibre in the diet to produce substances that nourish the gut wall, manufacturing some B vitamins and vitamin K, and producing substances that act against ‘bad’ bacteria and yeasts and compete with them for space and nutrients (hence helping to prevent illness). If there is an imbalance of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ bacteria or other organisms (e.g. yeasts), this is known as dysbiosis and may be linked to some common digestive disturbances, as well as other health problems.
Perhaps the most ‘recognisable’ friendly bacteria is lactobacillus acidophilus, which is known to many simply as ‘acidophilus’. However, there are many species and strains of good bacteria, although many that we know about are in the lactobacillus or bifidobacterium families. In supplements of live bacteria (also known as probiotics), combinations of these different types – and others – may be found.
Proven is available www.provenprobiotics.co.uk, from all good independent pharmacies, health shops and www.nutricentre.com