Dr Rhonda Patrick is a big advocate of a healthy gut biome. She aims to achieve this primarily through a nutritionally diverse diet that’s rich in fibre. On top of this, she tops up her gut bacteria with supplemental probiotics.
Until recently she was using the probiotic VSL #3. To quote her:
I’ve changed my probiotic to VSL#3. It has 10X the bugs than any other brand and 25 published studies showing efficacy in IBS, IBD, colitis, and c.diff.
She has also talked about VSL #3 on Twitter:
And its not just Rhonda taking it; Tim Ferriss is also a fan:
However, recently Rhonda changed her probiotic choice to Visbiome.
Rhonda states that Visbiome offers almost the exact same formulation as VSL#3, at about $16 less per box of 30 packets.
See this Visbiome vs VSL#3 comparison table to understand the minor differences.
VSL#3 vs Visbiome – The History
VSL#3 was originally created by Professor De Simone in Italy. The De Simone probiotic formulation was licensed to VSL Pharmaceuticals, be marketed under the trademarked term VSL#3. This agreement went on for many years, in which time they published 25 different studies on its effectiveness. When this agreement expired in January 2016, De Simone opted to partner with ExeGi Pharma, and created Visbiome. It uses the same formulation VSL#3 were using prior to Jan 2016. This now means there are two companies offering almost the exact same formulations (again, see the comparison table to understand their minor differences).
Pricing – Pills vs Sachets
Visbiome is the Rolls Royce of probiotics, and it doesn’t come cheap.
|Visbiome Pills||Visbiome Sachets|
|Live Bacteria Count||112.5billion||450 billion|
|Price per serving||$1.7 per serving
– Each $51 tub contains 60 pills, with 2 pills per serving
|$3 per serving
– $90 for 30 sachets, 1 sachet per serving
Typically Rhonda takes a maintenance dose of probiotics between once per week and once every 2 weeks. Specifically she takes the sachets containing 450 billion live bacteria:
What Rhonda leaves out in the tweet, is that the packet (sachet) form contains 4x as many live bacteria as a serving via the pills.
Recently, whilst she has been breastfeeding, she has been taking 1 sachet per day.
Rhonda knows so much about this subject, compared to the layman, that I tend to take her advice. She talks about two main problems with other probiotics:
- They often die when left unrefrigerated
- They don’t contain a meaningful amount of live bacteria
If you’re set on taking a probiotic other than Visbiome or VSL #3, it would be worth checking if there are any peer reviewed studies backing up the products efficacy. For studies on VSL #3, search it on Google Scholar.
Whilst supplementing probiotics like Visbiome or VSL #3 is useful, it shouldn’t replace a nutritionally diverse diet, rich in plant fibre. To learn more about this subject, take a look at the following Rhonda Patrick interview with Dr. Erica & Dr. Justin Sonnenburg