Consumers looking for a simple way of topping up their healthy bacteria don't need to reach for the fridge for a probiotic yoghurt drink any longer - all they have to do is take a mint.

Ecobrands reckons that just two of its ActiMint Probiotic Mints after a meal will deliver the same amount of friendly bacteria as a one-shot yoghurt drink - with the added bonus of fresh breath.

The mints have a special coating that helps absorption of Lactobacillus acidophilus (bacteria which are important for digesting food as well as maintaining health) into the gut to help ensure the bacteria survive.

MD Robin Baker said that independent tests had shown an impressive number of probiotic units reached the lower intestine. "For some people, it has a better effect than yoghurt," he claimed. He added that although there were medicinal probiotic tablets on the market, this was the first time the benefits had been put in a mint, which was convenient and low calorie.

"They should be popular with people on diets or those who are lactose-intolerant," he said. "They are also good for travellers about to go abroad, before the bad bugs take hold, as well as for people who have been taking antibiotics, because certain drugs destroy good bacteria."

He recommended that the mints should be taken before, during and after a course of antibiotics and insisted that no-one could overdose on the product because the probiotics could only contribute to gut and oral health.

The new mints have the added benefit of containing prebiotics, which stimulate the growth and activity of good bacteria and maintain healthy blood sugar and cholesterol levels. They also contain natural tooth-friendly sweetener Xylitol and breath-freshening peppermint oil. Xylitol contains 40% fewer calories than sugar and has a low GI index, said the company.

Ecobrands has listings for the mints in health stores (rsp: £2.99 for a pack of 60 mints) but is now talking to the multiples. The product is also sold in Spain and the US.