Travel is great. Travelers diarrhea is not! So whilst it might be fun to shop at markets and experience different food tastes, do remember the old "boil it, cook it, peel it or forget it" rule.
Every year around 12 million cases of travelers diarrhea are reported and between 30-50% of the visitors to high risk areas go down with it.
One of the main causes of travellers diarrhea is bacterial infection by the pathogenic bacteria e coli which accounts for about one third of all cases. E coli can be transmitted via both food and water.
This probiotic supplement looks to be a useful addition to the intrepid traveller's backpack.
It contains the yeast Saccharomyces boulardii which I talked about on another page on traveler's diarrhea and which already has a fine reputation for treating diarrhea of all types. But that isn't all that Protecflor contains. It also has a strain of Lactobacillus rhamnosus called Lactobacillus Rosell 11, a strain of Lactobacillus acidophilus called L Rosell 52 and Bifidobacterium longum Rosell 175.
Each of these probiotics on their own has a beneficial effect on gut health by restoring a balanced microflora and protecting the gut. Together, they work even better.
If taken at meal time, the buffering effect of food will ensure that these beneficial intestinal bacteria sail right through the stomach and get to where they're wanted intact.
Do not believe well meaning people who tell you that probiotics can not survive the trip through the stomach. As always, it comes back to strain. Some can and some can't. The bacteria in Protecflora can.1
The great thing about using a probiotic supplement for traveller's diarrhea is that you can start taking it before you leave home so as to ensure that your gastrointestinal tract is in the best shape it can be BEFORE it meets up with the e coli bacteria or one of its kin. If you're on an extended trip - lucky you - you can take it long term with no harmful effects.
Saccharomyces boulardii is able to bind to e coli bacteria forming large agglutinates that are easily eliminated.2
The probiotic strains in Protecflor are three beneficial intestinal bacteria that are able to adhere to the gut surface. They bind strongly to the intestinal cells and help support a strong immune system.
This supplement is not always easy to find but but the same probiotics are found in Optibac Probiotics for Travel which is sold in the UK and they ship world wide.
1. McFarland LV. Meta-analysis of probiotics for the prevention of traveler's diarrhea. Travel Medicine and Infectious Diseases, 2007 March; 5 (2): 97-105.
2. Gedek BR. Adherence of Escherichia coli serogroup 0157 and the Salmonella typhimurium mutant DT 104 to the surface of Saccharomyces boulardii. Mycoses; 42: 261-264