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The Benefit of Probiotics

November 2, 2011
Press Release:


Though we often struggle to accept that bacteria can be good for us, they’re essential to health and to our quality of life. Here’s why.

Ever since Louis Pasteur peered through his microscope and announced the link between bacteria and diseases, we’ve been wary of bacteria.
1. It’s important to note that certain bacteria are actually useful to humans, assisting in maintaining gut health.
2 Helping to regulate a healthy immune response.
3. Millions of friendly bacteria reside in our intestines and it is often when their balance is upset that we feel ill or get symptoms such as diarrhoea, says PharmaChoice spokesperson and pharmacist, Liezl van Tonder.

What are probiotics?

Probiotics are gut flora that normally live in the digestive tract and are most usually defined as live bacterial cultures which contain lactic acid bacteria such as lactobacillus and bifidobacterium.The basic principle of probiotic supplementation is that when the balance of healthy bacteria is disturbed, introducing new beneficial organisms in the form of probiotics may help rectify the situation, says Van Tonder.

Different probiotics serve different roles in terms of improving intestinal function and maintaining the integrity of the intestines. Among the many known benefits of probiotics are:

Ø Probiotics help maintain a strong immune system, as introducing friendly bacteria in the form of probiotics is believed to challenge the immune system in healthy ways.
Ø Probiotics can prevent many kinds of diarrhoea, from travellers’ diarrhoea to antibiotic-induced diarrhoea. Infectious diarrhoea in children, caused by rotavirus, is responsive to probiotics. In a study that included 287 children hospitalised for diarrhoea, one group received oral rehydration solution, and the other received the same solution but with the addition of probiotics. The children given probiotics recovered more quickly and were able to leave the hospital earlier.
Ø They may help reduce intestinal inflammation and hypersensitivity reactions in infants, which makes them useful for food allergies and those suffering from atopic eczema.
Ø They may help in alleviating symptoms associated with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).
Ø Probiotics can also increase the bioavailability of proteins and fats by breaking these down in the digestive tract, which is particularly important for toddlers and patients who need building up after illness.

When should we take them?

Probiotics can be used to help treat diarrhoea that arises from infection and/or antibiotic treatment .They’re particularly helpful when you’re taking antibiotics since diarrhoea is a common side effect in 10% to 30% of people on antibiotic treatment.

It’s also an excellent idea to take probiotics before, during and after foreign travel: up to 10% of people who get diarrhoea while travelling end up developing persistent diarrhoea. In some cases, it can lead to irritable bowel syndrome. A 2007 report that looked at data from 12 studies concluded that probiotics significantly lowered the risk of traveller’s diarrhoea.

However, you don’t need to be experiencing symptoms to get the benefit of probiotics, they can be routinely included in your diet, as they improve the body’s microbial balance.

Where do we find probiotics?

Probiotics are contained in certain foods or can be taken as oral supplements. Yoghurt with live cultures is an excellent source: half a cup a day is the recommended amount. Depending on the mode of production, probiotics are also found in cottage cheese, milk drinks, powdered milk products, breakfast cereals, infant foods, infant formulas, but many prefer to take it in supplement form in order to be sure of getting optimal formulations in the quantities their bodies need – in a convenient package.

When you’re choosing a supplement, look for one that includes more than a single strain of probiotics, as their effectiveness and usefulness to your microbial balance is enhanced by a broader range, says Van Tonder. GastroChoice™ is an excellent option, as it contains a high concentration of probiotics, (25.5 billion CFUs* at time of manufacture), in an optimal formulation and can be taken in a convenient once-a-day dosage.

GastroChoice™ is available at pharmacies and certain retail outlets at a recommended retail price of R123.00. For more information on GastroChoice visit the PharmaChoice website on:

CFU = Colony forming units

1., Retrieved September 22 <,%20Retrieved%20September%2022> , 2011
2., Retrieved September 22, 2011
3. Jaret, P (2010) What are probiotics? Retrieved August 5, 2011, from WebMD:
4. Van Heerden, I.V (2011, reviewed, April 21). The benefits of probiotics. Retrieved August 5, 2011, from HYPERLINK “, 14445.asp”, 14445.asp
5. Chang, L (2010, reviewed, June 10). Using probiotics for diarrhoea. Retrieved August 5, 2011, from WebMD:
6. GastroChoice™ Capsules Package Insert

Press Release by Margot:

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