“ Brand: Holland and Barrett / Form: Chewable / Dosage Form: Bars „
- Why I Bought - In November last year I, my husband and our toddler all became ill with Norovirus. Anyone who has had it will agree that it is a particularly nasty illness to have. I don't find I'm particularly susceptible to virus' of this kind and I am often the lucky one to escape becoming ill. However, my son picked it up at nursery and after spending two days looking after him there was so escaping it. Once we had all recovered I hoped that I wouldn't have to feel like that again for a long time. Unfortunately in December I had food poisoning after eating out in a restaurant and once again I had terrible stomach cramps, fever and vomiting. I felt concerned that the virus and food poisoning would have left my digestive tract with bad bacteria and there would be none of those 'friendly' bacteria I am always hearing about on television adverts for live yoghurts and probiotic drinks. I had a look at some of these in the supermarket but decided they were quite expensive and a bit of a hassle to take every day. I forgot about the idea until I was in Holland and Barrett and I spotted several different probiotic tablets. This seemed like a much easier way of getting that much needed good bacteria. I settled on one of the cheaper options which was Holland and Barrett's Probiotic Acidophilus chewable blueberry flavour tablets. - What is a Probiotic? - Probiotics are microorganisms, also known as 'friendly' bacteria, that can be found in the digestive tract. They help digestion run effectively. Probiotics occur naturally in food such as yoghurts or they are sometimes added. It is also possible to get an added boost of these bacteria from a probiotic supplement. Lactic acid bacteria (LAB) and Bifidobacteria are the most common types of bacteria used in Probiotics. - Uses - There is no evidence to conclusively support the fact that Probiotics have any positive effect on health. However, they are thought to be beneficial for a number of different ailments and conditions. One of the most common uses is to replenish friendly bacteria destroyed by use of antibiotics. The purpose of antibiotics is to kill unwanted bacteria but they will also wipe out bacteria that the body needs. A probiotic can help introduce good bacteria into the gut after a course of antibiotics, particularly after a long course or particularly strong dose. Other uses include constipation, diarrhoea, infection or inflammation in the digestive tract, irritable bowel syndrome and colitis. A probiotic may help to prevent these conditions, ease the symptoms, reduce the length of illness and aid recovery. - Packaging - I was surprised to see that these tablets come in a glass bottle. This doesn't bother me but it would make it difficult to travel with them. I am able to see the contents through the coloured glass. There is a purple label which displays the name of the product, that the bottle contains 100 tablets and there is also a picture of some blueberries to denote the flavour. The dose guidelines state that adults and teenagers should chew one to two tablets daily, children over three should chew half to one tablet daily. The tablets should ideally be taken with a meal, the dose must not be exceeded and they should not be chewed with a hot drink as the heat can kill the bacteria. The main ingredients are listed as Lactobacillus acidophilus (a type of LAB) and Bifidobacterium BB-12, two common bacteria used in Probiotics. One tablet contains one billion active cultures which is similar to the amount contained in many live yoghurts and Probitotic drinks. The full list of ingredients includes: Sucrose, Bulking Agent (Microcrystalline Cellulose),Anti-Caking Agents (Silicon Dioxide, Stearic Acid, MagnesiumStearate), Maltodextrin, Beet Root Powder, Lactobacillus acidophilus,Citric Acid, Starch, Flavourings, Fructose, Glazing Agent (Triacetin),Bifidobacterium BB-12. The label states that you should consults a doctor before using these if you are pregnant, breastfeeding or on any medication. I'm sure this is just a precaution. It is good to see that the tablets are free from artificial colours or flavours and preservatives. They also contain no milk, lactose, soya, gluten, wheat, yeast, fish or porcine. - Taking the Tablet - The tablets are about the size of a five pence piece but a little thicker and they are light purple in colour. They look a bit like a sweet (making it very important to keep them out of reach of children). The tablets are very easy to take as they are chewable. They have a powdery texture to them and a pleasant sweet blueberry flavour, but not an overly sweet sugary taste. They are pleasant enough and I have no problems taking two of these. Initially I took two tablets per day as I was keen to replenish the friendly bacteria in my digestive tract after having a virus and food poisoning. After three weeks I started to take one per day but I do sometimes forget. I told my husband he should take them too but he wasn't keen and decided not to. - The Results - I wasn't taking these to get any visible results but rather to increase the amount of good bacteria in my digestive system, not something I can actually measure. So there is no way for me to know if they have had this effect or not. About two weeks after I had the food poisoning and I had been taking these tablets for two weeks I got food poisoning again! My husband and I both had it after eating something that was out of date. It could be a coincidence but his symptoms were much worse than mine. He had two days of stomach cramps, fever and vomiting while I just had a bit of a temperature and cramps for a day. I definitely still felt unwell but I feel sure my husband felt much worse. I was left with the impression that the friendly bacteria may have helped me and because of this I am happy to continue taking it. Luckily I haven't been ill since. - Price and Availability - These tablets are available from Holland and Barrett stores and their website. They are priced at £10.09, although they are currently half price for an amazing £5.04! I bought mine when they had a buy one get one half price offer and I thought it was a reasonable price to pay. It works out cheaper than buying the yoghurts and drinks and for me it is less hassle as you don't have to buy them so often. - Would I Recommend? - I would definitely recommend trying a probiotic supplement and in particular I think these chewable blueberry tablets are really nice. They are easy to take, taste nice, may help with a variety of digestion complaints, they work out cheaper than buying live yogurts or probiotic drinks and you don't have to buy them as frequently. Although the benefits aren't proven I do think they helped reduce the symptoms and length of illness when I had food poisoning.