Research-Based

VSL #3 Probiotic Review – Does This Probiotic Supplement Work?

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By Jack Cincotta, MS

Reviewed by Juliana Tamayo, MS, RDN - Last Updated

vsl 3 review

If you’re into health and wellness, I’m sure you’ve heard about probiotics. And there are countless probiotic supplements out there. 

While this is certainly better than having no options, it can also make it pretty confusing as to which ones are best or actually useful.

Well, we’ve found one probiotic supplement that is advertised to be the last probiotic you’ll ever need.

It’s name? VSL 3 Probiotic.

Keep reading our VSL 3 Probiotic review to see if this really is the best probiotic supplement out there.

About VSL#3 Probiotic

VSL#3 is advertised as the most effective and potent probiotic supplement out there.

Well, “supplement” isn’t even the right word here actually. Rather than classified as a dietary supplement, VSL 3 is actually categorized as a probiotic medical food, which is a step above dietary supplements.

vsl 3

VSL#3 Probiotic contains a whopping 112.5 Billion CFU per serving, which is derived from 8 different probiotic strains. 

These strains are designed to work complementary with your digestive system to improve gut health and specifically reduce symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome  and ulcerative colitis.

VSL#3 Probiotic Benefits

VSL#3 Probiotic is designed for the following specific benefits:

  • Reduced Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  • Management of Ulcerative Colitis
vsl 3 supplement

Reduced Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is one of the most troubling gut dysfunctions. People with this condition often have many irritating and embarrassing symptoms, such as stomach pain, diarrhea, constipation, excessive gas, and so on.

VSL 3 Probiotic claims to reduce IBS and help you clinically manage your symptoms. This is all due to the eight different probiotic strains, which are meant to restore balance to the gut microbiome and improve overall digestive function.

Management of Ulcerative Colitis

Ulcerative colitis (UC) is an inflammatory bowel disease that can lead to many uncomfortable symptoms, such as rectal bleeding, stomach cramps or pain, and bloody stools. Obviously, these are things nobody wants to deal with.

VSL#3 is advertised to help individuals manage the symptoms of ulcerative colitis, and possibly even treat the disorder. The various probiotics included in VSL3 are designed to work together to restore gut health and digestive function, which may reduce UC symptoms.

So, is VSL 3 the best probiotic out there? And will it help manage IBS and UC?

Read on to find out.

VSL#3 Ingredients

VSL#3 Technically contains only one ingredient:

  • VSL#3®

VSL#3 ®

VSL#3®  is a trademarked form of eight different probiotic strains, seven of which come from either Lactobacillus or Bifidobacterium varieties. 

There have been a number of clinical studies on this exact probiotic supplement. And there is evidence that VSL#3® can reduce a number of IBS symptoms, such as pain and bloating, but these weren’t highly significant. 

But VSL#3® may be more beneficial for UC because research shows that taking this probiotic supplement helps greatly reduce UC symptoms and even helped some people to achieve remission. 

More generally speaking, VSL#3 may offer a wide variety of gut health benefits for other people who simply have poor gut health and a low count of good bacteria. This may lead to improvements in digestion along with reduced gas, bloating, or stomach pain. 

Does VSL#3 Work?

It seems likely that VSL#3 will work. It contains a really high dose of probiotics per serving and uses a well-researched form. 

Plus, it goes through cold processing to ensure that the probiotics stay viable. 

Not everyone will experience benefits, but there is enough evidence to say that this supplement seems helpful for reducing stomach pain, digestion problems, and gut dysfunction. 

How Does VSL#3 Compare?

VSL#3 stands out from other probiotics mainly due to its high CFU count. In fact, at 112.5 billion CFU per serving, this is up to 5 to 10x the amount of CFU in some other supplements. 

vsl 3 cup

Also, we like that it uses eight different strains, which may offer more benefits than other supplements that use just one or two strains. 

However, keep in mind that the strains used are more susceptible to damage if not refrigerated or stored properly. And this is a common concern with other probiotics too. 

Who is it Best For?

VSL#3 is specifically designed to improve gut health and reduce gut symptoms in people with IBS or UC. 

How to Take VSL#3

The makers of VSL#3 recommend taking four to eight capsules per day for the management of IBS or UC. 

It can be taken with any cold, non-carbonated beverage or even mixed into any cold food, such as yogurt or applesauce.

Since it’s a medical food, it must be taken under the supervision of a medical professional.

Safety and Side Effects

Probiotics are generally safe to take. Some people may experience mild bloating or gas when first taking this product as the gut adjusts to the new source of probiotics.

VSL#3 is free from the top major allergens and is non-GMO, Kosher, and Halal-certified. It is classified as a probiotic medical food. 

Where to Buy VSL#3

You can buy VSL#3 on their main website at this link.

vsl 3 website

There are 60 capsules per bottle. You can buy one, two, three or four bottles at a time. All options are available as a single purchase or their Subscribe & Save option, which cuts off 10%.

Here are the prices:

  • One Bottle:
    • Regular: $65.95
    • Subscribe & Save: $59.36
  • Two Bottles:
    • Regular: $124.95
    • Subscribe & Save: $112.46
  • Three Bottles
    • Regular: $178.95
    • Subscribe & Save: $161.06
  • Four Bottles:
    • Regular: $224.95
    • Subscribe & Save: $202.46

This product is relatively affordable IF you need just one or two capsules per serving. But they say to take four to eight capsules for the management of IBS or UC, which can make this product really expensive. 

We suggest talking with your doctor. The dose per one capsule is already really high (112.5 Billion CFU) so you may not need to take as high of a dose as they say. 

VSL#3 Verdict

VSL#3 is a high-dosed, well-formulated probiotic. It contains eight different probiotic strains that are proven to help with the management of IBS and UC, while also promoting general gut health and digestive function. 

The price can get pretty high if you need to take as high of a dose as they recommend, but it’s pretty affordable if you only need one or two capsules. Talk with your doctor if you plan on buying and using this. Overall, it seems beneficial for people with IBS, UC, or anyone wanting better gut health and reduced digestive problems.

Overall Rating:
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Jack Cincotta, MS

Jack Cincotta is a certified holistic health coach through AFPA and a board-certified holistic health practitioner through AADP. He has written hundreds of articles on nutrition and supplementation. Jack has a M.S. degree in Psychology and is passionate about researching the science behind nutrition. He often uses research-backed supplementation protocols for many of his clients to optimize results.

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