In 2004, the Cambridge Clostridium difficile Study was the first published scientific paper on the Lab4 probiotic strain. This published study showed that supplementation with Lab4 probiotics can reduce the incidence of C. difficile diarrhea in hospitalised patients - around 70% of patients taking antibiotics reported suffering with diarrhea, while only 20% did when supplementing with Lab4 at the same time.
In 2008, work was published looking at the effects of Lab4 probiotics in managing gastrointestinal symptoms (e.g. bloating and pain). Supplementation for 12 weeks significantly reduced total and improved scores for satisfaction with bowel habit and quality of life in diagnosed IBS sufferers. Continued supplementation was considered necessary to sustain this improvement.
More good news for IBS patients was seen in a 2013 study. The supplementation of IBS sufferers with Lab4 probiotics prior to and alongside antibiotics was shown to provide protection against overgrowth by yeasts.
In 2010, a study evaluated the safety of Lab4b probiotic supplementation in two potentially vulnerable populations – mothers during the last month of pregnancy and their healthy newborn babies during the first six months of life. The study confirmed that the use of Lab4b probiotic is perfectly safe for mums-to-be and their healthy newborn babies. No differences were found in total adverse events either in the mums-to-be or the babies between the Lab4b probiotic group and the placebo group. Symptoms, drug usage, infant growth, method of feeding, visits to the doctor, and mothers' assessment of infant health were similar between Lab4 and placebo.
After showing the safety of Lab4 for mums and babies, a large randomised, double blind, placebo controlled study was designed to evaluate whether Lab4b probiotics given during infancy could prevent allergy in children. Babies given the Lab4b probiotics were 57% less likely to develop atopic eczema than those receiving the placebo. The babies given Lab4b were 44% less likely to develop allergic reaction to common allergens, including pollen, cow’s milk, egg and house dust mite.
In 2014, a study in conjunction with Keele University examined the effects of Lab4 probiotics on general feelings of anxiety, mood and cognitive function in healthy individuals. Lab4 probiotics significantly decreased ‘trait’ anxiety levels compared to the placebo group, where the ‘trait’ anxiety levels increased over the course of the 6 weeks supplementation.
To date, there have been a number of studies that have looked at the effects of Lab4 for athletes. Studies have looked at how they effect your exercise performance if you train or compete in the heat. There have been studies looking at how they can improve the performance of marathon runners, triathletes, and even those taking part in Marathon des Sables - the toughest race on earth. For a full review of these studies, check out our blog on Probiotics as the next big sports supplement.
So far, Lab4 probiotics have been studied for their effectiveness:
- With antibiotic treatment
- For mothers and babies
- In managing IBS symptoms
- More and more evidence is showing how probiotics could help athletes.