The Cambridge Probiotic / Antibiotic Trial


The discovery and use of antibiotics was probably the single most valuable development in medicine in the 20th Century. However, it is now recognised that there were two common undesirable effects associated with extensive antibiotic use - these are:

  • The detrimental effect on the beneficial normal flora – allowing potential for pathogenic microorganisms to ‘overgrow’. This overgrowth can cause a diverse array of adverse conditions ranging from antibiotic associated diarrhoea, to the increased risk of development of irritable bowel syndrome.
  • The widespread development of antibiotic resistance, which many authorities consider to be perhaps the biggest single challenge to human healthcare in this century.

The aim of the Cambridge Probiotic / Antibiotic Trial

The aim of supplementing Lab4 in these trials was two-fold:

  1. To compensate for the loss of many beneficial components of the normal flora and so maintain the balance of the microflora and prevent pathogenic overgrowth (Trial 1).
  2. Reduce the incidence of antibiotic resistance in the microflora population which develops following the use of antibiotics (Trial 2).

The results

Trial 1
Lab4 supplementation reduced the overgrowth population of coliforms, enterococci and Staphylococcus aureus, in the re-growth microflora following antibiotic therapy.

Trial 2
The supplementation with LAB4 probiotics significantly reduced the incidence and total numbers of antibiotic resistant members of the microflora following antibiotic therapy.