According to the website,
VSL#3® has the highest available concentration of beneficial bacteria with 450 billion live bacteria per packet. The human gut has thousands of billions of resident bacteria. In order to modulate the composition of this gut flora in a positive way, an extremely large amount of probiotic bacteria is necessary. VSL#3® is the only probiotic preparation that delivers enough bacteria to beneficially affect the gut flora in patients with serious intestinal disorders.
And by serious intestinal disorders, they refer to medically diagnosed ulcerative colitis, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, or an ileal pouch.
VSL#3® works by colonizing the GI tract with optimal quantities and types of probiotic (“good”) bacteria. These bacteria adhere to the walls of the GI tract and form a barrier that protects the inner layer of the gut from pathogenic (“bad”) bacteria and other toxic substances that can cause inflammation by modulating intestinal defense mechanisms.
In addition, VSL#3® modulates a variety of substances that are involved in the healing of inflammation. For example, VSL#3® has been shown to induce the production of interleukin-10, an important “chemical messenger” that suppresses inflammation. 22,35,39,49,64
Finally, evidence suggests that VSL#3® reduces intestinal permeability by tightening up the junctions between the cells in the outer layer of the intestine (the epithelium).39 If the spaces between the cells of the gut wall become too large, bad bacteria and toxins can leak in, causing inflammation.
At about $86 for 30 packets (of the unflavored powder), it seems like a good deal for 450 billion live bacteria per packet. Or at least compared to what I've seen at Whole Foods. Anyone have personal experience with using VSL#3 or a probiotic of similar potency?
I've taken the VSL#3 for about a month with sometimes up to 4 doses per day because my gut problems seemed so hard to shake down.
It is a very powerful probiotic, but keep in mind that a powdered version like that one will lose much more potency passing through the stomach than an enteric coated version.
Unfortunately for me though, vsl#3 made things worst, but on the good side it was the only probiotic that was strong enough to tell me something had been wrong all along with the probiotics I've been using. It made me discover that bifidum is probably overgrowing in my small intestine and that any probiotic formulation that contains it will keep my problem alive.
I agree with qualia that you should strive to learn exactly what you're dealing with.
I've tried lots and lots of probiotics and I've found that what works best for me are acidophilus formulations in enteric coated capsules without any FOS or inulin.
Hope this helps somewhat.
good question. i have wondered this myself if the 30x potency brings a noticeable benefit compared to the usual 5b potency. i would guess so. however, in my personal experience, it's even more important to find the right type of probiotic species for one's specific problem. for example, one needs different strains for a "simple" disbyosis caused by antibiotics than for bacterial or fungal overgrowth in the small intestine, or even an infection with a pathogen like difficile. so, i guess its more important to find out what the problem is (maybe doing a stool test), and then look for the strain that has proven to be most effective for this specific problem (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Probiotic for example). otherwise one can treat for month by using something that has absolutely no effect on ones specific problem. the strains i would try out first are boulardii, coagulans, L.GG and acidophilius.
My opinion, more is not necessarily better pro-bioticwise. More is good when you're replacing (say after antibiotics). Not necessarily when maintaining. So Cost vs Benefit, it isn't worth it UNLESS you're having the issues specified it is for.
Speaking of which, I didn't see anything readily visible on their site as to how many of each species is in the product. They've got a boatload of species listed, but not how much of each = 450 billion. Might be evenly spread among all of them, or might be 449.9 billion of the cheapest one...
It might be on there, I didn't see it. Example of what I expect to see. Look at the Jarro site http://www.jarrodophilus.com/ Lists it right on the front page. 4.4 billion total spread out in differing amounts on the various strains.
I know this comes months after the original question but I thought I'd add to this. From what I learned from a GI, a lot of probiotics do not work for the simple reason that the probiotics are dead by the time they are in the capsules. Probiotics are living cultures that require processing and storing at cold temperatures (fridge cold). Many manufacturers do not observe this simple rule, AND if you find your probiotic on a non refrigerated shelf, chances are you are taking a dead culture (won't help). I just started VSL#3 so I can't attest whether it works or not, but I know they are manufactured at the right temperature and need to be refrigerated so that the strains stay alive. Hope that helps.
I haven't tried it but I am seriously considering it. But I'm worried it isn't right for my specific problems. I have candida which is causing major GI issues. Bloating, acid reflux, indigestion, thyroid and hormone issues, lethargy and muscle fatigue, but no bleeding so I don't think I'm at the point of ulcerative colitis. I may possibly have leaky gut because of my instant reaction to added sugars, gluten, dairy, and soy- hot flashes, muscle pain, and instant sinus problems. Does anyone know if VSL #3 would be good or bad for my condition? I eat Paleo each and every day! Love it but it isn't helping so I know I need to step up my game!
I took these now for 3 weeks and all of the sudden I started shitting my pants with no awareness. Definitely did not work for me- made things worse. Imagine the embarrassment of sitting at your desk and all of a sudden you feel something warm and wet and it is running down your leg... happened 3 times before I linked it to the VSL3.
I JUST HAD MY SECOND COLONOSCOPY UNSUCCESSFULLY AGAIN DUE TO DIVERTCULUM. I'VE BEEN TESTED BLOOD AND STOOLS NEGATIVE. HAD THE VIRTUAL TOO. PRIOR TO RECENT TEST GO TRIED ANY FOR TRAVELER'S DIARRHEA. IT HELPED A LOT BUT ONLY HAD 7 Days worth sample. Like CD have multiple sudden DIARRHEA to where it interferes with daily living...including "accidents"the. Today GO gave samples to try of VAL #3...so, other than cost I'd also like to hear about other's experiences. I'm also a nurse who hasn't done much with probiotics.
i used VSl on and off for about a year. i bought it when i could afford it. didn't do anything for my digestive problems so i stopped taking it. i used the regular and DS versions. i think it's just too expensive to contain the fillers and additives that it does. it should be pure for the amount i was paying for it- $186 for a 20 day supply.