Articles

As key members of the probiotic research community, the Lab4 team regularly contribute to articles in magazines, journals and other publications both online and offline.

Michael DR. Bacteria help for healthier hearts. Advances Wales 2016; 79: 14

A collaborative study between Cardiff University and Cultech Ltd has found that friendly bacteria can play a role in helping to prevent high blood cholesterol levels, and support current treatment programmes for heart disease. This study used cell-based experimental models to identify a strain of friendly bacteria that may be able to help lower blood cholesterol levels. The presence of Lactobacillus plantarum CUL66 could alter the behaviour of the major cholesterol absorbing cells of the intestines and reduce their ability to transport cholesterol.

Garaiova I, Koehling HL. Probiotics in Childhood. Pediatrics for Parents 2015; 30: 18-19

The establishment of a balanced healthy neonatal gut microbiota and its maintenance through childhood and adulthood should be considered as a strategy to minimise the development of both chronic and acute diseases. As our knowledge of the human microbiome increases through the advances in molecular science techniques, the potential role for probiotics to optimise the establishment and composition of the gastrointestinal microbiota from birth to contribute to our overall wellbeing is becoming more and more evident. This article will focus on the role of probiotics on allergy and respiratory tract infections during infancy and childhood.

Bull MJ, Plummer N. Big benefits from microscopic friends. Today’s Pharmacist. Autumn/Winter 2014: 73

Probiotics are advocated in the management of dermatitis, IBS and diabetes. Current evidence supports the role of probiotics, prebiotics and synbiotics (probiotic and prebiotic combos) in a broad range of gastrointestinal conditions, particularly antibiotic associated diarrhoea, including that driven by C. difficile. Probiotics also appear to effectively ameliorate IBS symptoms, may be effective in the prevention of atopic eczema, whilst reducing sensitisation and symptom load.  Unfortunately, IBD continues to be a recalcitrant disease where probiotics, prebiotics and synbiotics have only shown limited efficacy in ameliorating symptoms. However, the benefits shown to date still direct physicians to use probiotics as a part of their treatment profile, as other drug treatments are also of limited effect. Evidence is also quickly building that probiotics have a consistent and profound effect in promoting general immune function as expressed by reduction in upper respiratory tract infections (coughs and colds). A recent meta-analysis shows an average reduction in days with  symptoms of 30 per cent and a recent UK trial has shown 50 percent reduction in days with symptoms and 30 per cent reduction in incidence of coughs and colds over a six-month period, culminating in a reduction of 30 percent in total absenteeism from school.  The potential for probiotics to offer benefits in disease prevention/risk reduction in areas such as obesity, metabolic disease and, more recently, even in brain and neural functioning, indicates that the gut has a physiological role that is more profound than simply digesting and assimilating food. And moreover, the microbiome is becoming more widely recognised as an integral and highly active component of the human gastrointestinal tract.

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Pevac-Djukic M, Plummer S, Garaiova I. Probiotics and the Gastrointestinal Health. Naturopathic Doctor News and Review 2010 (January), 6 (1):8-10

The scope of probiotics seems endless! It seems that more and more applications for the involvement of probiotic supplements are being identified, almost on a daily basis. There are inconsistencies in the results that have been obtained but much of that relates to the testing of a diversity of products with different compositions and potencies. It is apparent that there are benefits from probiotics across a broad spectrum of conditions, many of which are linked with antibiotic therapy. As our knowledge of the value of the gastrointestinal microbiota is growing, so is the awareness of the potential for probiotics and as the mechanistic details of the mode of action of probiotics becomes clearer, further developments will occur. Overall, the message for probiotics and the gastrointestinal tract is “watch this space”.

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Plummer S, Garaiova I. Can probiotics impact the development of allergy in infants? Integrated Healthcare Practitioners Magazine 2008 (June/July)

There is an absolute requirement for postnatal development of a balanced immune system and it would appear that one of the primary signals for such maturation involves stimulation from the commensal microbiota, particularly the gastrointestinal microbiota. Thus, there is a need/justification for supplementation with probiotics to ensure the establishment of a stable, balanced neonatal intestinal microbiota. In the longer term greater insight into the association between the gut microbiota and atopic diseases requires further large scale prospective birth cohort studies such as the PROBAT study (Morgan 2005).

Madden J. Dietary Management of Irritable Bowel Syndrome. www.readbusiness.co.uk. Nutrition, 11th April 2003: 45-49.

IBS is a common disorder and is potentially incapacitating. However, symptoms can often be managed by the patient themselves making minor modifications to their own diet and/or lifestyle. In more severe cases, where the symptoms are debilitating, the guidance of a GP or practice nurse will be necessary. The practice nurse may be the first medical contact for new IBS patients and so should be aware of the range of symptoms. There is evidence to suggest that an altered intestinal microflora may play a part in the pathogenesis of IBS or in its manifestation. Dietary supplements, such as probiotics, may be helpful in alleviating symptoms.

Plummer N, Wood C. The Neonatal Immune System and Risk of Allergy a Delicate Balancing Act, Positively Influenced by Probiotics and Fatty Acids. Townsend Letter for Doctors and Patients- February 2002: 94-98

Type 1 allergic hypersensitivity now affects 1 in 7 children born in Western countries. It is now recognized that the correct and balanced development of the neonatal immune system plays a pivotal role in the risk of allergy inception, and that the development of the immune system in the newborn is dependent on exposure to the intestinal microflora which is acquired directly following birth. In this regard, the intestine has been described as the “classroom” of immunological education and there appears to be a distinct relationship between the establishment of the neonatal intestinal microflora and the development of allergic sensitization. At birth, neonatal immunity is strongly skewed towards humoral (antibody forming) immunity and it is now thought that the balancing of this bias by powerful induction of cell mediated and tolerogenic immunity is vital if allergy is to be avoided. Healthy intestinal microflora enhances the activity of cell mediated and tolerogenic immunity, thereby contributing to a balanced immune status. The establishment of an active, beneficial intestinal microflora can be promoted by the neonatal administration of probiotics (live intestinal microbial supplements). It is also becoming apparent that dietary polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) contribute to the inflammatory reactions involved in allergy; omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids have profound effects on the balance between cell mediated and antibody immune responses. Evidence suggests that supplementation of correctly balanced omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids may help to relieve allergic symptoms.

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