Frequently Asked Questions
The following questions and answers will help you learn more about VSL#3® and how you should use it.
- How does VSL#3 work?
VSL#3 is a high potency probiotic. It provides a combination of bacteria which colonize and protect the gastrointestinal (GI) tract with balanced quantities and types of live bacteria. Additional effects of probiotics continue to be described as intensive research is ongoing in this field.
- How long does VSL#3 take to work?
In general, VSL#3 takes up to 1 week to become established in the gut. A study conducted with VSL#3 confirms that maximum bacterial colonization of the gut occurs within 20 days. This high level of colonization remains stable throughout consumption. After daily intake it is interrupted, the strains in VSL#3 will survive in the gut for up to 1 week.
- How long can VSL#3 be taken?
The length of time VSL#3 is consumed depends on the specific reason for which VSL#3 has been recommended. A healthcare practitioner should be consulted for use beyond a duration of 12 months.
- Can VSL#3 be used if the patient has an intolerance to dairy products?
VSL#3 products have no traces of dairy and are verified as non-dairy.
- Is VSL#3 gluten-free?
Yes, VSL#3 is gluten free.
- Is VSL#3 safe for use in children?
VSL#3 is recommended for use in adults. For safe use in children, please contact your physician
- Is VSL#3 safe for use during pregnancy?
Although VSL#3 contains naturally occurring, beneficial microorganisms, it is recommended to consult a physician before use.
- Where can my patient get VSL#3?
VSL#3 is available as an over-the-counter product at Pharmacies. It requires refrigeration so the patient will need to ask at the counter. VSL#3 is also available for purchase online at VSL3.ca.
- Was there any change in manufacturers for VSL#3?
As of May 2016, both flavoured and unflavoured VSL#3 reverted back to being manufactured in Italy, at the same premix manufacturing facility where the original proprietary blend of the live bacteria was developed and produced. This change does not result in any significant changes in process, only a change to the manufacturer. The product continues to be manufactured to the same quality specifications as before.
- I noticed that the labelling has changed. Have there been any changes to the ingredients?
There were minimal changes. Although we have been working on removing all traces of milk/dairy from VSL#3 and now it is dairy free, we have found that by adding minute amounts of cornstarch to the composition the vitality of the lactic acid bacteria increased, making the formulation more stable and potent.
- Why cornstarch?
Cornstarch has been added as an excipient to VSL#3 in order to increase the stabilization of the live bacteria. Cornstarch has been used for many years as an excipient in foods, pharmaceuticals and cosmetic products without any safety implications.
- What makes VSL#3 different from its competitors?
VSL#3 is a proprietary blend of different strains of live bacteria that have been clinically studied to present beneficial effects in managing Pouchitis and other serious intestinal disorders in patients versus conventional therapies alone. The VSL#3 proprietary blend is distributed exclusively by Ferring Pharmaceuticals in Canada, Israel and Europe and has been approved for sale in Canada since 2012.
- How does VSL#3 work?