Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions


What are friendly bacteria?

Each of us has around 100,000 billion viable microbes living in our intestines, comprising over 1,000 different species and more than 5,000 strains. These microbes weigh around 1.5 kg in total and are referred to collectively as the microbiome...


What is the microbiome?

Each of us has around 100,000 billion viable microbes living in our intestines, comprising over 1,000 different species and more than 5,000 strains. These microbes weigh around 1.5 kg in total and are referred to collectively as the microbiome...


Why is it important to take probiotics with food?

Probiotics should always be taken with food. If they are not taken alongside food, 90-95% of the bacteria will die in the stomach acid.


Why take friendly bacteria with antibiotics?

Research has shown that taking friendly bacteria (probiotics) alongside antibiotics can reduce the adverse effects of the antibiotics on the gut bacteria, helping to maintain a healthy balance of bacteria.

Breast feeding with probiotics

Why choose Pro-Ven for your baby?

Your baby needs friendly bacteria to help support bacterial balance in the gut as the microbiome develops immediately following birth and for the first 2-3 years of infancy.  ProVen Probiotics pregnancy and baby products contain strains of friendly bacteria that have been shown in research to be safe in pregnancy and newborn babies.

Can you take too much friendly bacteria?

No, it is virtually impossible to overdose on probiotics. We all have billions (some estimates say trillions) of ‘friendly’ bacteria in our body and these are constantly being replaced. ProVen Probiotics containing Lab4 strains of friendly bacteria can help this replacement process and support a balanced microflora. Taking very large amounts may mildly increase frequency of bowel movement.

I have heard that friendly bacteria should be kept in the fridge. Is this true?

This is true of many brands of friendly bacteria, however the ProVen Probiotics range has been specially formulated to be stable at room temperature for over 12 months and still deliver the stated levels of beneficial bacteria. If you wish to store ProVen Probiotics in the fridge that is fine, particularly if you are in tropical climates.

Do we need to take ProVen Probiotics every day?

There is increasing evidence that the daily supplementation of probiotics helps to improve both intestinal and immune health.

Our gut bacterial community is not static – every day, bacteria represents around half of the faecal mass we excrete from our bodies. This reflects the dynamic nature of our gut bacteria and suggests that supporting this microbiota with probiotics every day will have a positive effect on the balance of bacteria, helping to maintain a higher ratio of the good bacteria required to support health.

Previous generations had higher intakes of probiotic organisms as fermentation was used to preserve foods and these fermented vegetables and dairy foods contained high levels of bacteria. Consumption of fermented foods is far less prevalent today as refrigeration is now used as the means of food preservation and it can therefore be useful to support the friendly bacteria with daily supplementation.

Can probiotic friendly bacteria help combat allergies?

Breakthrough clinical evidence published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology in 2012 demonstrates that supplementing with friendly bacteria can significantly reduce the risk of allergy in children. In a large trial in Swansea, Lab4 Probiotics were taken by mothers during the latter part of pregnancy and given daily to their babies in the first six months following birth. The mother and baby pairs supplementing the friendly bacteria via Lab4 Probiotics halved the risk of allergic sensitization in infants up to two years of age. Remarkably, the risk of atopic eczema was also reduced by over 50% and this is likely to significantly reduce asthma and rhinitis into older childhood and as adults.

The aim of the Swansea study was to confirm that early supplementation of friendly bacteria can help to prevent children from becoming allergic in the first place. It was specifically related to supplementation of friendly bacteria in infants and shows that this can provide benefit to children up to two years of age. Other studies have shown that probiotic supplementation can be effective when provided to older children who already have allergies.

What is Lab4?

Lab4 is a consortium of probiotic bacteria, which has been developed by Dr Nigel Plummer and his team of scientists at Cultech Ltd in south Wales.

The scientists at Cultech have over 20 years experience of the discovery and development of probiotic bacteria and the production of probiotic products. Crucially, the Cultech researchers have spent the last fifteen years undertaking clinical research to prove the effectiveness of the Lab4 probiotic strains and this research is ongoing.

There is a Lab4 for adults and Lab4b for pregnancy and infants from birth to four years.

The Lab4 consortium of bacteria contains Lactobacillus acidophilus (strain 1), Lactobacillus acidophilus (strain 2), Bifidobacterium bifidum and Bifidobacterium animalis subsp. lactis.

Lab4b contains Lactobacillus salivarius, Lactobacillus paracasei, Bifidobacterium animalis subsp. Lactis and Bifidobacterium bifidum.

For further information on Lab4 probiotics, please click here.

Where can I get Lab4?

The unique Lab4 blend of probiotics can be found in the ProVen Probiotics range of supplements developed with different formulations to suit all ages and lifestyles from pregnancy to 50+.

How are ProVen Probiotics different?

ProVen Probiotics contain the unique Lab4 probiotic strains. This group of strains is one of the very few probiotic cultures that have been rigourously studied over the past 15 years to demonstrate consistent health benefits ranging from allergy prevention in infants to reduction of all symptoms (bloating, pain, discomfort) in people suffering from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

Other studies conducted at Addenbrooke’s hospital in Cambridge have shown that Lab4 can reduce the levels of ‘bad bacteria’ following antibiotic treatment, as well as reducing the incidence of diarrhoea caused by the ‘superbug’ Clostridium difficile.

ProVen Probiotics have also been developed based upon 30 years of research and development in probiotic bacteria and products. As well as the Lab4 bacteria, the team of scientists behind ProVen Probiotics have identified a process to add other nutrients, such as vitamins and immune enhancing ingredients such as elderberry, to the supplements without destabilising the Lab4 bacteria.

As a result, ProVen Probiotics offers a range of products that include continuously researched live bacteria and key nutrients to support health.

What about yoghurt and yoghurt drinks?

As well as supplements, friendly bacteria are often added to certain foods such as yoghurt and yoghurt drinks, milk, cheese and now even cereals. The effectiveness of the friendly bacteria in the body will depend on the strains and numbers of bacteria and it may be useful to check out the evidence supporting these products and the strains of bacteria they contain.

When do the benefits of ProVen Probiotics start taking place?

This is very individual. However from our clinical studies with the Lab4 probiotic ingredient we found that many IBS sufferers found relief within two weeks. Similarly, with the Clostridium difficile study the effect was apparent within 2-3 weeks. The latest clinical study was amongst new born babies and is therefore preventative, but results showed that the effects were established within the supplementation window of six months following birth.

How can you identify a good friendly bacteria supplement?

The European Consensus, taken in 2004, outlines a number of criteria to help people distinguish good quality probiotics as follows:

  • Have clinically proven health benefits demonstrated using rigorous scientific trials (randomised, double blind, and placebo controlled designed trials).
  • Are 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 labeled, including the genus (eg. Lactobacillus), the strain e.g acidophilus Cul -21) and amount e.g 10 billion.
  • Are shelf stable, thus guaranteeing delivery of the quantity of probiotic until the date of expiry.

ProVen Probiotics containing Lab4 probiotic strains satisfy all these criteria.

Are the probiotics in ProVen Probiotics natural?

Yes, the friendly bacteria used in all ProVen Probiotics products are naturally sourced and cultured.

Do any ProVen Probiotics contain any Genetically Modified Organisms?


How many different friendly bacteria are there?

There are many different strains of friendly bacteria naturally present in the human body, which can have different benefits.

The strains used in the Lab4 blend of friendly bacteria in ProVen Probiotics have been specifically chosen from the most researched families of bacteria and offer a synergistic effect which cannot be gained from a single strain. For example, Lactobacillus acidophilus tends to provide benefits to the upper intestine (duodenum, jejunum and ileum), whereas the Bifidobacteria provide benefits in the large intestine (caecum and colon).

How are prebiotics different?

Prebiotics are completely different from probiotics.

Prebiotics are a type of fibre that cannot be digested directly by humans, but are used as food by probiotic friendly bacteria to help them to multiply and colonise the gastro-intestinal (GI) tract.

Some foods contain prebiotics and if eaten alongside probiotics, they can help to support the multiplication of the probiotic bacteria. These prebiotic foods include raw garlic, raw or cooked onion, raw leeks, raw asparagus, artichoke, dandelion greens and under-ripe bananas.

Some of the products in the ProVen Probiotics range also contain prebiotic fibres FOS (fructooligosaccharides) and GOS (galactooligosaccharides) to support the colonisation of the Lab4 bacteria.

What is the source of the DHA in Pregnancy Plus?

ProVen Probiotics Pregnancy Plus contains an additional fish oil capsule to provide the omega 3 fatty acid DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) to support mum and baby in pregnancy.

The omega 3 fish oil in ProVen Pregnancy Plus is derived from tuna and is a highly purified stable fish oil that meets all the requirements of Regulation 1881-2006, which clearly sets the standards in relation to mercury and other heavy metals, PCB’s, Dioxins, Furans and PAHs.

In addition to the tests the supplier conducts to ensure their compliance, we also rigorously analyse the oils at an external laboratory before using them in any of our products.

My child is formula fed, but is allergic to dairy – can I give him the ProVen Probiotics for Breast Fed Babies?

Yes – it’s fine to give your baby the ProVen Probiotics for Breast Fed babies.

The only difference between the two products is that ProVen Probiotics for Formula Fed babies has added prebiotics, which are naturally present in breast milk and help the probiotic bacteria to colonise the intestine. The number of live bacteria in both products is the same – 10 billion per serving, as used in the Swansea Baby Trial.

The ProVen Formula Fed product contains two types of prebiotic fibre, GOS (galactooligosaccharides) and FOS (fructooligosaccharides). GOS is derived from the lactose in milk and, although it is unlikely to contain any lactose and does not contain any milk protein, it is derived from milk. FOS is derived from fruit and vegetables.

Why am I experiencing extra gas?

The Lactobacillus and Bifidus species of bacteria used in ProVen Proiotics are not gas-forming, so do not cause flatulence.

One of the ways these friendly types of bacteria work, is by crowding out the pathogenic species and is these ‘bad’ bacteria that cause fermentation and gas.

After taking ProVen Probiotics for 2-4 weeks, symptoms of extra gas should start to diminish as gut bacterial balance begins to be restored.

Are ProVen Probiotics enteric coated?

Some probiotics are enteric coated, which protects the contents of the capsule when passing through the stomach.

At ProVen Probiotics, we have the ability to enteric coat, but we choose not to as, in order for the bacteria to start colonising, the enteric coating has to dissolve in the small intestine, the capsule has to be broken down and the contents of the capsule have to be released and activated.

As the small intestine doesn’t have the pummelling action or the acidity of the stomach and the transit time through the small intestine is only 2-4 hours, it is unlikely that the enteric coating will be broken down in time for the probiotics to have an effect.

Instead of enteric coating, ProVen Probiotics are provided in a variety of formats that are designed to travel through the stomach with food and to disintegrate as they do so, ready for use in the intestines.

The ProVen Probiotics powders and chewable tablets disintegrate immediately and the capsules disintegrate within 30 minutes. When taken alongside food, the bacteria then travel with the food through the stomach acid to the small intestine.

Ask the experts

If you have any questions regarding the ProVen Probiotics range or would like additional health, nutrition or other information, please complete the form below and send it to us.

Learn more about LAB4, the probiotic bacteria used in all ProVen products.

Learn more about LAB4, the probiotic bacteria used in all ProVen products.

Ask the experts

If you have any questions regarding the ProVen Probiotics range or would like additional health, nutrition or other information, please complete the form below and send it to us.


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