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Probiotics Articles

VSL3 Medicinal Food Supplement - Ian Middleton

If you a sufferer of IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), UC (Ulcerative Colitis) or have an Ileal Pouch then there is good news: VSL3 was designed specifically as a medicinal food supplement to aid in the treatment and management of these ailments.

Why do we need probiotics?
Regardless of whether or not we are not afflicted with these ailments, our GI tracts are locked in constant battle between good and bad bacteria. Pathogenic (bad) bacterium is the most common cause of bad health. We are all exposed to it in our daily lives, and what keeps us healthy is the balance between the good and bad. Naturally, the scales should be tipped in our favor and our GI tract should ideally contain at least 85% of good bacteria, which not only blocks the bad bacteria from setting up home, but also feeds and strengthens our immunity and protects us from illness and disease.

What’s in it?
VSL3 is packed with 450 billion colonies of live and viable friendly bacteria, which are freeze dried in order to preserve their viability. Rather than just one strain, which is common among many probiotics, VSL3 is manufactured using 8 strains, which are as follows:

  1. Streptococcus thermophilus
  2. Lactobacillus paracasei
  3. Lactobacillus plantarum
  4. Lactobacillus acidophilus
  5. Lactobacillus delbrueckii (subspecies of bulgaricus)
  6. Bifidobacterium breve
  7. Bifidobacterium infantis
  8. Bifidobacterium longum

The mix also contains trace amounts of casein, a protein found in milk, which is used as a binding agent; therefore people allergic to this should be aware. However VSL3 is completely free of sugar, sweeteners, gluten, yeast and soy. No artificial colors or preservatives are used either.

How does it help people with IBS, UC and Ileal pouch?
Prolonged usage of antibiotics is known to have a devastating impact on our healthy flora.  Also, because Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Ulcerative Colitis and people with an Ileal pouch may have distinct nutritional needs and may have to avoid certain foods, this means that they could lack the everyday friendly bacteria we all get from our normal diets. These restrictions mean that sufferers cannot modify their diet to obtain this. Therefore they are in more dire need of a medical supplement to compensate for this lack of friendly bacteria.

Requirements, defined by the orphan drug act, 21 U.S.C and the FDA, mean that any medicinal food must be specially formulated and processed, rather than grown naturally. VSL3 conforms to both these requirements and is thus approved for medical use under the supervision of a medical physician, and is the only probiotic product that is recognized by the American Collage of Gastroenterology as an effective treatment for pouchitis.


Does it work?
The manufacturer has patent protected its own formula in the USA, thus maintaining that VSL3 is a unique mixture not found anywhere else in the US. Scientific tests have proven VSL3 to be highly effective at re-populating the colon and acting as a defense barrier to prevent unfriendly bacteria getting in.  The eight strains were chosen specifically to ensure an optimal level of intestinal flora.

How does it come?
VSL3 is freeze dried in order to preserve its viability. You can buy it in sachets of powder. Each sachet contains 450 billion colonies of bacteria. The powder comes in flavored (light lemon) or unflavored form.

Alternatively you can buy VSL3 powder in capsules, each containing 112.5 billion CFUs; so four capsules are equal to one sachet.

How to store
Due to the fact that it’s a freeze-dried product, VSL3 must be refrigerated and kept chilled in order for the bacteria to stay alive and viable. Therefore if you travel a lot then you must ensure you take a small portable refrigerator with you. When ordering via mail order, the product will be sent in insulated, ice-packed packaging.

How is it taken?
Sachets can be poured into a glass of cold water, or any other non-carbonated liquid and drunk straight away. You can also mix the powder with cold foods such as yoghurt or ice cream.


Form: Powder form in sachets (flavored and unflavored) Box of 30
Powder capsules (boxes of 60)

Enteric-coating? No

Strains: 8 strains

Suggested directions: 1 - 2 sachets per day for adults taken with non-carbonated drink or cold food. Consult your doctor first for directions.

Storage: Keep refrigerated.

Used for: Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Ulcerative Colitis and people with an Ileal pouch


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