What is Lab4?

Lab4 is the name given to the four probiotic bacteria strains developed by Cultech Ltd, the Welsh based nutraceutical company. The Lab4 consortium of bacteria are human strains of live bacteria, which have been shown in scientific studies to be stable, effective and resistant to stomach and bile acids.

There is a Lab4 for adults and Lab4 for pregnancy and infants from birth to four years (Lab4b). Both consortia of probiotic bacteria have substantial independent evidence supporting their health benefits.

What are probiotics?

Probiotics are live microbial food ingredients that have a beneficial effect on health when taken in the right amounts.

Where can I get Lab4?

The unique Lab4 blend of probiotics can be found in a number of different branded products around the world.

This includes ProVen Probiotics in the UK and some countries around Europe, in GNC probiotic products in the US and in Biocare products worldwide.

How can you ascertain what makes a good probiotic?

The European Consensus taken in 2004 outlines the criteria to help people distinguish good quality probiotics as those with evidence for health benefits.

The European Consensus outlines that a high-quality probiotic must contain bacterial strains that meet the following criteria:

  • Clinically proven health benefits demonstrated using rigorous scientific trials (randomised, double blind, placebo controlled trials)
  • Must be alive and reach the gut in sufficient number, surviving gastric and bile acid and digestive enzymes during the gastro-intestinal transit until they reach the gut
  • Are clearly defined using modern biological detection methods
  • Are clearly labelled, including the genus (eg Lactobacillus), the strain (eg acidophilus Cul-21) and amount (eg 10 billion)
  • Are shelf stable, thus guaranteeing delivery of the quantity of probiotic until the date of expiry

The Lab4 probiotic strains satisfy all these criteria.

What are CFUs or viable cells?

CFU means colony forming units, which are the number of viable bacteria or probiotic cells in the product. Probiotic supplements range from 1 billion CFUs to 500 billion or more.

Lab4 probiotics are backed by research at a variety of CFU numbers – from 10 billion in The Swansea Baby Trial to 50 billion in The Keele Study.

It isn’t always the case that more CFUs is better and some people might benefit from starting with a lower daily dose and working up to a dose that best supports them and their symptoms.

Are Lab4 probiotics natural?

Yes. The Lab4 probiotics strains have been cultured from human gut bacteria.

Are Lab4 probiotics vegetarian and/or vegan?

All Lab4 and Lab4b strains are both vegetarian and vegan.

Are Lab4 probiotics allergen-free?

Yes. All Lab4 and Lab4b probiotic strains are free from gluten, dairy, soy, nuts and GMOs.

Are Lab4 probiotics stable at room temperature?

Lab4 probiotic strains are guaranteed to the end of the product expiry date when stored at room temperature – generally 18 months after manufacture.

Are Lab4 probiotics freeze-dried?

Yes, the Lab4 probiotics are freeze-dried and further micro-encapsulated and conditioned using our unique Tri-Phase technology, which increases stability of the probiotics at every stage of the process.

What formats are Lab4 probiotics available in?

Due to the proprietary manufacturing processes used in Lab4 production, the probiotic bacteria are stable and can be incorporated into any product format.

For example, the ProVen Probiotics range includes capsules, tablets and powders.

The same manufacturing processes mean that the Lab4 consortia can be included in products that also contain other nutrients, including vitamins, minerals and other botanicals.

Do Lab4 probiotics survive the stomach acid?

Yes. The Lab4 strains have been involved in rigorous testing to show that they survive through the gastrointestinal tract. These studies are both in vitro and in vivo (see The Cardiff Tracking Study).

Do probiotics have side effects?

The side effects of probiotics are usually mild and temporary and can include gas and bloating along with mild changes in stool consistency.

This is often a sign that the probiotics are working as the symptoms are generally the effect of the ‘die-off’ of the pathogenic strains of bacteria, which then produce gas as a side effect of being ‘crowded out’ by the probiotic strains.

Are Lab4 probiotics safe during pregnancy and breastfeeding?

Yes. The Safety in Newborns Study involved 454 mother/baby pairs and showed that the Lab4b bacteria were completely safe for use both during pregnancy and in newborn babies.

Are Lab4 probiotics suitable for children?

Yes, Lab4 probiotics are suitable for children. The Lab4b group of bacteria contains strains that reflect the infant’s developing gut and are designed for use in pregnancy, baby and toddler products. The Lab4 group of bacteria reflects the developed gut, which is generally established by around three years of age. This consortium of bacteria is designed for use in products for adults and children over three years of age.

This is often a sign that the probiotics are working as the symptoms are generally the effect of the ‘die-off’ of the pathogenic strains of bacteria, which then produce gas as a side effect of being ‘crowded out’ by the probiotic strains.