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Launched Friday 18th May 2012

Breakthrough in allergy prevention

Highlights of new breakthrough clinical evidence are previewed today at the Allergy + Free From Show (18-22 May 2012) which demonstrates that the daily intake of a specific strain of probiotics given to pregnant mothers and their newborn infants halved the child's potential development of allergic sensitization and atopic eczema.

Currently, the UK is one of the top three countries in the world for the highest incident of allergy (₂), with over 21 million UK adults suffering from some kind of allergic reaction (₃). Most children develop allergic sensitivity in the first two years of life, and if diagnosed with atopic eczema they stand up to 80% chance of this progressing to asthma by the age of 12.

The double-blind placebo controlled study was run by The College of Medicine at Swansea University and has been submitted to the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology by Professor Stephen J Allen MD who is also presenting the data in detail to healthcare professionals next week. The study was conducted on 454 mothers-infant pairs, who took a daily dose of ProVen Probiotics (providing 10 billion of the specific Lab4 probiotic strains*) from 36 weeks of pregnancy and during the first six months of life. The babies were assessed at 2 years of age and it was found that those taking the probiotic significantly reduced their chance of becoming allergic to common allergens such as pollen, cat dander, house dust mite, cow’s milk and egg by half (50%). Moreover, the risk of the children developing atopic eczema was reduced by 60%!

The Lab4 probiotic can be found in a new range of supplements - ProVen Probiotics - which is being launched at the Allergy Show in London this weekend. Five published double-blind studies (₄, ₅, ₆, ₇, ₈) have already demonstrated the benefits of Lab4, and there are 12 products in ProVen’s newly launched range with different formulations to suit all ages and lifestyles.

Dr Nigel Plummer, Managing Director of Cultech, manufacturers of ProVen commented: "ProVen is one of the most studied probiotics in the world. With six major scientific clinical human studies, all demonstrating positive benefits in intestinal and immune health, we have the broadest evidence of any probiotic on the market."

"This latest study for our Lab4 probiotics is a true breakthrough. We're delighted to be able to launch our brand ProVen Probiotics which harnesses the unique Lab4 probiotic strains to develop a comprehensive range of high quality supplements." concludes Plummer.

Allergic conditions such as asthma, rhinitis and eczema have trebled over the last 20 years (₉), and currently 40% of children and 30% of adults have one or more of these three allergic conditions (₁₀).

Dr. Carol Cooper, GP, and parenting writer commented: "There’s no doubt that allergies are on the increase and doctors, like others, feel powerless to stop the rise. In children, eczema and hay fever have soared, and now affect around three times as many youngsters as 20 years ago (₁₁). The NHS already spends £900 million on general practice care of allergies such as eczema, asthma and rhinitis alone (₁₂). This trial shows that the development of allergies could be tackled at a young age and this result is significant."

Professor Glenn Gibson also supports the launch of ProVen Probiotics, and the latest findings for Lab4. As Head of Food Microbial Sciences Research Unit and Head of Food Microbiology at the University of Reading, Glenn had this to say: "Over the years we have seen some exciting studies in this area. This study in particular is a breakthrough in terms of its size, length and depth. The results are extra exciting, when we consider the amount of money currently being spent to cope with allergies. This launch is significant given the amount of evidence we have about the benefits of taking probiotics and the concentration of LAB 4 in each capsule."

Products in the newly launched ProVen Probiotics range including specific formulations for Babies, Toddlers, and older children, as well as a high potency, and multi-nutrient products for adults. Prices range from under £5.00 to £19.95. ProVen Probiotic supplements are available on-line from as well as Lloyds pharmacies and leading health food stores.

Lowri Turner, Nutritionist and Broadcaster helping launch ProVen Probiotics at the Allergy + Free From Show this weekend confirmed: "Thanks to this new research, we can now offer mums concrete advice on how to prevent passing on allergies to their infants. Best of all ProVen Probiotics are drug free, completely natural and easy to administer to babies."

For more information please contact Eye PR on 020 7691 4232. Andrea Kilbride 07801 548967; Anna Cox 07779 037157 Kerry Milliken 07799 714006

Notes to editors

Infants received the same capsule dosage as their mother, once daily from birth to age 6 months. The contents of the capsule were sprinkled into the infant’s open mouth or mixed with expressed breast milk or formula feed.

* Containing a unique probiotic four-strain preparation LAB4: Lactobacillus salivarius; Lactobacillus paracasei; Bifidobacterium animalis subs. Lactis; and Bifidobacterium bifidum)

**Hygiene hypothesis suggests that reduced exposure to microorganisms in early childhood results in increased sensitivity to allergens and other environmental irritants.

1. Swansea baby trial submitted to The Journal of Allergy and Child Immunology, 2012, being presented at the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health annual conference, Glasgow 22nd May, 2012.
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12. A review of services for allergy, House of Commons Health Committee, 2004 and Allergy, Still not meeting the unmet need, Royal College of Physicians (London) 2010

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