To investigate matrix-specifity of probiotic effects and particularly of the reduction of antibiotics-associated diarrhea, a controlled, randomized, double-blind study was performed, in which 88 Helicobacter pylori-infected but otherwise healthy subjects were given for eight weeks either a) a probiotic fruit yoghurt "mild" containing Lactobacillus acidophilus LA-5 plus Bifidobacterium lactis BB-12, n = 30), b) the same product but pasteurized after fermentation (n = 29) or c) milk acidified with lactic acid (control, n = 29). During week five, a Helicobacter eradication therapy was performed. Helicobacter activity was measured via 13C-2-urea breath tests and antibiotic-associated diarrhoea and other gastrointestinal complaints were recorded by validated questionnaires. In intervention group a, b and c the mean number of days with diarrhoea was 4, 10 and 10 (P<0·05), the frequency of episodes 17%, 7% and 27% (n.s.), and the change in total symptoms score before antibiotics treatment was -1·4 ± 1·1, -1·2 ± 1·1, 2·6 ± 1·1 points/four weeks (P<0·05). All milk products decreased Helicobacter activity by 18 to 45% without significant differences between groups. The observed decrease in Hel. pylori activity seems to be not or not only due to probiotic bacteria but (rather) to components of acidified milk (most probably lactic acid). Fruit-yogurt-like fermented milk products with living probiotic bacteria significantly shorten the duration of antibiotics-associated diarrhoea and improve gastrointestinal complaints. Fruit yogurt-like fermented milk is a matrix suitable for probiotic bacteria.