Vitamin Bears™ Nutrition & Healthy Living

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Probiotics and Healthy Chocolate? YES PLEASE!!





Gut Health is an ever increasing area of research and popularity for consumers. With gut related ailments such as colon cancer on the increase we are all too aware of how our diets and lifestyles can affect our health, with our gut suffering from almost all negative social factors.


One way we have been custom to looking after our gut health, is with probiotics, or friendly bacteria.

In the simplest terms, a probiotic is a living beneficial micro-organism; it can be a bacterium or yeast. Certain micro-organisms living in the human intestinal tract are essential for good health.

The World Health Organization defines probiotics as “Live micro-organisms which when administered in adequate amounts confer a health benefit on the host.”

The word probiotic comes from the Greek and means ‘fit for life’ or ‘pro-life.’ While much of the progress against disease over the past two centuries has involved the discovery and use of antibiotics, public health and medical researchers now foresee revolutionary progress on a similar scale for probiotics.

Probiotics, when ingested, induce health benefits by beneficially affecting the balance of the intestinal microflora (or microbiota). While interest in the health promoting aspects of probiotics goes all the way back to the start of the 20th century, scientists have made huge progress in recent years in identifying their potentially beneficial roles in health.

Billions of bacteria inhabit the human digestive system. These bacteria are referred to as the gut flora. Some of these are beneficial, yet others are potentially harmful. A balance between the two is vital for good health and well-being. There should be a balance of 85% good bacteria in the digestive system vs. 15% bad – if this balance is altered symptoms occur.

Dietary and lifestyle factors destroy good bacteria and can cause an imbalance. Those factors include:

  • Stress and lack of sleep
  • Prescription medications (e.g. Antibiotics)
  • Digestive aids
  • Sugar
  • Carbonated beverages

Since 70% of the body’s immune system dwells in the digestive tract, maintaining balanced digestive health is crucial to the body’s overall well-being. The most natural way to get more “good” bacteria and maintain healthy balance of intestinal microflora is to take a probiotic supplement. Now for the innovation…..

There are capsules, powders, milks, yoghurts, little drinks….. and now PROBIOTIC CHOCOLATE!

Combining the delicious daily treat with the goodness of probiotics, we surely have a winner. But does it work and does it survive the passage to out gut…?

YES! Probiotic Chocolate has been proven to survive the harsh environments of the stomach and reach the gut alive. This has been proven in a study conducted by chocolate experts, Barry Callebaut who reported:

“…The coating of the probiotics in chocolate is an excellent solution to protect them from environmental stress conditions and for optimal delivery.”

The above mentioned study tested the viability of a mixture of coated Lactobacillus helveticus and Bifidobacterium longum embedded in a chocolate and milk matrix during passage through the stomach and small intestine. In addition, the results were compared with the survival of the bacteria present in a popular yoghurt drink.
The conclusion was clear – the chocolate matrix offered superior protection. In contrast, the bacteria in the milk matrix were negatively affected by stomach acidity (4-times lower end-counts), whereas hardly any negative effects were observed in the chocolate matrix.

Bacteria in the yoghurt drink were also negatively affected with only 20% surviving the passage through the stomach and small intestine. Survival rates in the milk matrix and yoghurt drink were found to be 3 times lower than in chocolate.

Probiotics in chocolate ensure the survival of up to 4X as many good bacteria as those contained in dairy and without having to be refrigerated!

Good news for chocolate lovers that want to look after their gut health. Look out for those with Dark Chocolate so you get the benefit of the high polyphenols as well to look after your heart!


S. Possemiers, M. Marzorati, W. Verstraete, T. Van de Wiele, Bacteria and chocolate: A successful combination for probiotic delivery, International Journal of Food Microbiology, Volume 141, Issues 1-2, 30 June 2010, Pages 97-103. Full text.

J Burgain, C Gaiani, M Linder, J Scher, Encapsulation of probiotic living cells : From laboratory scale to industrial applications. Journal of Food Engineering (2011) Volume: 104, Issue: 4, Pages: 467-483. Abstract and preview.


#chocolate #probiotic #guthealth #digestion #immunity #prebiotic #goodbacteria #healthy #supplements


Back to School


Whilst stocking up on folders, pens new lunch boxes and school shoes don’t forget their supplements. Start by strengthening their immune systems with black elderberry, and help to strengthen their brains with fish oil. Get them into the routine of taking the supplements and kick start their minds ready for school.

It has been seen that after the holidays kids often have a somewhat weakened immune system not quite ready for the bugs they will be reintroduced to. Kids are often susceptible to coughs and colds. The next thing you know, your child is home from school sniffling, with a fever and maybe even vomiting. This makes your child miserable, the teacher unhappy, your boss disappointed and you frustrated.


So what considerations can parents put into place?

Daily diets should be balanced and nutritious. It is all too common to see children consuming less than their recommended 5 a day and instead opting for less than healthy snacks such as crisps and chocolate over a fruit or yoghurt for example.


It is vital children get a good breakfast to provide them with the energy they’ll need to get them through the day. Often sugary cereals can give them a temporary sugar rush which is less than ideal for kids. Instead opt for a more whole-wheat based cereal to provide long lasting energy.

Lunches should equally be as well balanced with a fair share of fruit and veg… carrot sticks and hummus can be an alternative to crisps or chocolate bars and are often received well in children.

Supplementing children with fish oil to help with their brain development is always beneficial as it can be quite difficult to feed children the fatty fish they need. Mackerel, anchovies and sardines aren’t at the top of most children’s favourite foods that I am aware of!Yoghurt’s are also a good idea as the calcium for the growing bones and the probiotics for their gut will also keep help them fighting fit.


Top Supplements for Kids!

Fish Oil is vital for children and their growing minds. DHA has been widely reported and researched for its role in brain development. Other studies have also showed how it can help with behaviour and hyperactivity in children.

Black Elderberry is also a nutritious and good tasting supplement that can help maintain their immune system and fight off the bugs that are often passed around the classroom.