Unlocking the power of probiotics: How to choose the right one and what to watch out for

You’ve probably already heard that probiotics are live bacteria and yeasts that live in our gut and support our overall health. You may even already know they can be found in foods like yoghurt and other fermented foods and can also be taken as supplements.1a 

However, you may still be unsure of the relevance of a probiotic strain – or how to choose the right one to help improve gut health and boost the immune system. 

Let’s take a look…

What are probiotics? 

Imagine a busy highway on a weekday morning, with the roads clogged with cars racing to work or appointments. Now imagine this at a microscopic level, and you have some idea of what the microbiome within our bodies looks like.

Our gut consists of trillions of bacteria (also known as microbiota or microbes) of thousands of different species.2a These include fungi, parasites, viruses, and bacteria.2b 

Although many people regard bacteria and other microbes as nasty “bugs”, many are actually beneficial. 1b Some bacteria aid in digestion, the destruction of disease-causing cells, and the production of vitamins. Many of the microorganisms found in probiotic supplements are the same or comparable to those found naturally in our bodies. 1c

These “bugs” coexist peacefully in a healthy individual, with the greatest numbers found in the small and large intestines. However, when the scales of equilibrium are tipped by infectious diseases, diet, or the extended use of antibiotics or other bacteria-destroying drugs, the body may become more prone to illness.3

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What types of bacteria are in probiotics?

With an army of trillions of microorganisms working hard to break down and digest your food, you want the beneficial bacteria in your gut to be happy, healthy, and thriving, which is where probiotics come in. Probiotic supplements are a way to complement your diet with beneficial bacteria.

Many of the microorganisms found in probiotic supplements are the same or comparable to those found naturally in our bodies. Probiotics can contain a wide range of microorganisms. Bacteria from the Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium groups are the most common. Other bacteria may also be used as probiotics, and so may yeasts such as Saccharomyces boulardii.4

It’s important to understand that not all probiotics are created equal. Different probiotic strains can have different effects on the body, so it’s crucial to choose a supplement that contains the most beneficial strains for your specific health needs. 

For example, if you’re looking to improve your digestion, look for a supplement that contains Lactobacillus acidophilus or Bifidobacterium bifidum.5

If you’re looking to prevent antibiotic-associated diarrhoea, you may want to look for a supplement that contains Lactobacillus rhamnosus or Streptococcus thermophilus.6

A word on Colony Forming Units

Another vital factor to consider when choosing a probiotic supplement is its number of live organisms (CFUs).

The recommended amount of CFUs varies depending on the specific probiotic strain. In general, a higher CFU count is better.7 Still, it’s important to be aware that CFU counts are only one part of a high-quality supplement. 

Bacterial strain combination, the delivery mechanism, bacterial count expiry date, and clinical studies should also be considered.8

How does Reuterina® measure up?

Reuterina® Probiotics contain live freeze-dried bacteria, of which the counts are guaranteed until expiry.9

Reuterina® Probiotic strains have been isolated from human origin and have well-documented safety and stability trials in humans.10a 

The Reuterina® product line’s efficacy and safety remain unchanged. Over 200 clinical trials have been conducted to validate Reuterina®.10b

Reuterina® range of products

Reuterina® offers a wide range of products for people of all ages.

Reuterina® drops11 is a convenient liquid drop designed specifically for infants under the age of two years. Reuterina® drops have been clinically validated in babies and children and have been shown to benefit a variety of health conditions.

Reuterina® Vit D drops are specifically formulated with 400IU Vitamin D3, which acts to enhance the absorption of calcium and phosphate in the body. These drops can be used daily to assist with immune modulation12.

Reuterina junior® strawberry flavoured chew tablets are appropriate for children over the age of two who can chew a tablet13.

Reuterina® daily is used to help treat and prevent conditions caused by an imbalance in the gut flora.14 Reuterina® daily can be used to help treat and prevent diarrhoea and constipation by restoring and maintaining a healthy balance of flora in the stomach and intestines (gut).

Reuterina® acute aids in the restoration and maintenance of a healthy balance of gut flora during and after an antibiotic course.15 Reuterina® acute has been clinically validated in trials where it was demonstrated that taking Reuterina® during the antibiotic course resulted in fewer diarrhoeal side effects.16

Reuterina® femme is indicated to maintain and restore healthy flora.17 When ingested daily, Reuterina® femme helps to maintain a healthy vaginal flora and prevent vaginal infections.

The Reuterina® family of probiotics are available from selected Dis-Chem and Clicks stores and independent pharmacies nationwide. Join the conversations on Instagram and Facebook.

1. a, b, & c. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. Probiotics: What You Need To Know. Available from: https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/probiotics-what-you-need-to-know. Last accessed January 2023.
2. Ursell LK, Metcalf JL, Parfrey LW, Knight R. Defining the human microbiome. Nutr Rev. 2012 Aug;70 Suppl 1(Suppl 1):S38-44. doi: 10.1111/j.1753-4887.2012.00493.x. PMID: 22861806; PMCID: PMC3426293. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3426293/. Last accessed January 2023.
3. Belizário JE, Napolitano M. Human microbiomes and their roles in dysbiosis, common diseases, and novel therapeutic approaches. Front Microbiol. 2015 Oct 6;6:1050. doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2015.01050. PMID: 26500616; PMCID: PMC4594012. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4594012/. Last accessed January 2023.
4. Fijan S. Microorganisms with claimed probiotic properties: an overview of recent literature. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2014 May 5;11(5):4745-67. doi: 10.3390/ijerph110504745. PMID: 24859749; PMCID: PMC4053917. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4053917/. Last accessed January 2023.
5. Ljungh A, Wadström T. Lactic acid bacteria as probiotics. Curr Issues Intest Microbiol. 2006 Sep;7(2):73-89. PMID: 16875422. Lactic acid bacteria as probiotics. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16875422/. Last accessed January 2023.
6. National Institutes of Health. Probiotics. Available from: https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Probiotics-HealthProfessional/
Last accessed January 2023.
7. OmniBiotic. Colony Forming Units — What Are They and How Many Do You Need? Available from: https://www.omnibioticlife.com/what-are-colony-forming-units/. Last accessed January 2023.
8. Reuterina Acute® Approved Package Insert, March 2010.
9. Data on File
10. Reuterina® Drops Approved Package Insert, August 2009.
11. Reuterina® Vit D (drops) Approved Package Insert, August 2013
12. Reuterina® Junior Approved Package Insert, July 2010.
13. Reuterina® Daily Approved Package Insert, July 2010.
14. Reuterina® Acute Approved Package Insert, March 2010.
15. Savino F, et al. Lactobacillus reuteri DSM 17 938 in infantile colic: A randomized, double-blind, placebo- controlled trial. Pediatrics 2010;126:e526-e533. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20713478/. Last accessed January 2023.
16. Reuterina® Femme® Approved Package Insert, December 2009.