I have been given this product as part of a product review through the Chronic Illness Bloggers network. Although the product was a gift, all opinions in this review remain my own and I was in no way influenced by the company.
I have shared previously that my digestive struggles (including diagnoses of: Gastroesophogeal Reflux Disease (GERD), Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), and Functional Dyspepsia) are linked to my diagnosis of EDS. That is true, but there is also a second, more complicated piece of my digestive difficulties that I learned about when I started seeing a doctor of integrative/functional medicine in 2015. Integrative/Functional medicine is a practice in which doctors work as a team with a patient towards overall wellness. These doctors view patients as a whole, and not in the piece by piece manner that the specialties of modern western medicine encourage. They work with both a background knowledge of western medicine, as well as an understanding of the benefits and wisdom that traditional eastern medicine offers. (You can learn more about it here)
When I first started seeing my doctor of functional medicine, I had not yet been diagnosed with EDS, and I wanted someone to look at the whole picture. One of the first things that she did was to look a the health of my digestive system, or “gut” as she likes to call it. What she found was that years of upper respiratory infections fought by a body that was already in a state of “fight or flight” from the yet to be diagnosed Dysautonomia were met with antibiotics that not only did away with the infection, but also had effectively killed my entire microbiome of “good bacteria” and left it unbalanced. Bad bacteria, and candida (yeast) were overgrowing. One of the first things that she did was put me on the best high potency probiotic available at the time: VSL#3. It was not a miracle cure, but it helped my digestive tract to function more normally.
When I was offered the chance to try Visbiome, which is a new high potency probiotic created by the scientist who orginally designed VSL#3, Professor Claudio De Simone, i jumped on it. Visbiome contains the same strains of bacteria, in same proportions as VSL#3, which amount to 112.5 billion bacteria per capsule (about 3-5 times the amount of live bacteria found in drugstore probiotics). Both VSL#3 and Visbiome capsules must be refrigerated (and arrive in a cooled state), but the Visbiome bottle is designed to further ensure the preservation of the bacteria until you use it. It’s also easy to open if you have arthritis or another joint condition (like me). Another advantage for me is that the Visbiome product is dairy free (something I avoid as a part of the dietary management of my conditions) and contains fewer preservatives than VSL#3. Both products are gluten-free. The price (if I choose to continue with the Visbiome) is roughly the same as for VSL#3. There was no reason not to try it (You can learn more about how the two products compare on Visbiome’s website).
The recommended dosage is the same that my doctor had recommended for the VSL#3, 2 capsules. I took mine together, at dinner time, (because that is when I am most likely to remember to look in the refrigerator to take it) and because for part of the course of treatment I was on antibiotics for one of those upper respiratory infections that I am prone to and needed to take the probiotic at a different time of day from the antibiotic.
After completing the 30 day trial, I can say the same for Visbiome original strength as I did about the VSL#3. It is no miracle cure. It was probably hampered by the antibiotic, but i got bronchitis and had to treat it (Visbiome did prevent antibiotic-associated diarrhea, which I’m also prone to). I still have digestive difficulties, but the addition of a high potency probiotic has made an improvement in my nausea, reflux, and constipation. Visbiome maintained that effect. This outcome makes me eager to work with my doctor of functional medicine to consider stepping it up and trying Visbiome’s other product, an extra strength variety that has to be prescribed by a physician.
I would recommend that if you choose to look into the original or extra strength version of Visbiome, you should do it under the direction of your physician. I am not a doctor, and therefore have no way of knowing if this product is right for you, I can only say with certainty that it is right for me.
If you are interested in finding a doctor of functional medicine to work with (who may be more likely to consider the use of a product like Visbiome) I would start with the database from The Institute of Functional Medicine.