VSL3 probiotics have been proven to help with chemo induced diarrhea, pouchitis,ulcerative colitis and Irritable bowel syndrome.
VSL3 is meant to be used under the supervision of a doctor but is readily available, although pricey.
The VSL 3 mixture is expensive but it does appear to work well for many people providing they take it at the levels used in the various studies. Currently (beginning of 2011) VSL3 is not covered by health insurance in the US (but see the Double Strength below). I have heard of people being able to use the receipts towards a medical expense tax credit (line 330 of Schedule 1 of your federal income tax return) but that was by using a prescription and having it filled by a pharmacy - not buying online.
This is another of the probiotics to start off slowly with - too much too quick can leave you feeling very bloated and with foul smelling flautlence!
You can buy VSL#3 online - it comes in 3 different formats. You can buy it in powder form, either lemon flavored (10 or 30 packet boxes) or unflavored (30 packet box only).
The VSL 3 capsules contain 112.5 billion bacteria per capsule with a suggested dosage of 2 capsules and the sachets of powder contain 450 billion. As this is a probiotic mixture you'll often find the term cfu (colony forming units) used which really is a more accurate term than bacteria. Recommended doses vary from half a sachet to 8 depending on the complaint.
Some of these products have more reviews than others but remember that it is the same probiotic mix in each so the reviews for the capsules should apply equally to the powder sachets. It just depends on what you prefer.
Some suppliers ship world wide and some only ship within the US.
There is also a double strength blend which (in the US) is available by prescription and IS covered by health insurance. You need to ensure that the doctor writes the script for the double strength and packet number ie VSL#3 DS packets of 20, because the single strength dose is not covered.
Many people are having difficulty getting hold of this double strength dose. Some pharmacist say they need various codes so - a few figures in the hope it helps someone get this useful probiotic.
NDC (National Drug Code) is 54482093001.
GCN (Generic Code Number) is 97109.
DIN (Drug Identification Number) is 00903105
Probiotics promote gut health through stimulation of epithelial innate immunity - a study on mice but says "support the hypothesis that probiotics promote gut health through stimulation, rather than suppression, of the innate immune system" and "defects in innate immunity may play a critical role in the pathogenesis and progression of intestinal disorders, such as inflammatory bowel disease".
Commensal bacteria, traditional and opportunistic pathogens, dysbiosis and bacterial killing in inflammatory bowel diseases says "VSL#3 is one probiotic preparation shown to be efficacious in certain clinical situations'.
VSL#3 probiotic-mixture induces remission in patients with active ulcerative colitis says "patients with mild to moderate UC (ulcerative colitis), not responding to conventional therapy, with VSL#3 resulted in a combined induction of remission/response rate of 77% with no adverse events".