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.
At one stage she used to try a variety of probiotics, but now she uses just one 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:
VSL #3 is actually supplied in a cold box, and should be transferred to the fridge upon delivery. This is to preserve the live cultures contained in the pills.
Pricing – Pills vs Sachets
VSL #3 is the Rolls Royce of probiotics, and it doesn’t come cheap.
If bought in sachets, its $3.40 per serving ($103 for 30 sachets), and if bought in pill form its $2 per serving (each $60 tub contains 60 pills, and the recommended serving size is 2 pills). Beyond the cost, there is an additional difference between the pills vs sachets. Each capsule has 112.5 billion live bacteria, whereas each sachet has 450 billion.
Currently 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:
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 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 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