Can probiotics help?
The Harvard team wanted to know specifically, “Can we cure or help MS by fixing an imbalance in the gut by administering probiotics, which we know are good for us,” Tankou explained.
This study was sponsored by Teva Neuroscience Inc. and the Ann Romney Center for Neurologic Diseases.
The small pilot study looked to answer two questions.
First, is it possible to change an MS gut by simply giving it a probiotic?
And if successful, would the team see any changes in the immune system?
There’s a need for safe ways to manage MS. One way to manage MS is to manipulate the immune response in the body, thus triggering an anti-inflammatory reaction.
This research shows that at the immune level, taking the probiotic VSL3 orally induced an anti-inflammatory reaction.
The team chose Visbiome, a brand name of VSL3, for the study. Visbiome is a high potency probiotic that has been around for more than a decade. It includes eight strains of bacteria and is produced in the United States.
The basic formula is available over the counter for $50 for a one-month supply. An extra-strength version is available by prescription. Prescription strength was used for this study.
Visbiome has been used on animals and humans for a variety of conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome, ulcerative colitis, and diabetes.
“It has a good safety profile,” Tankou told Healthline, and it “is the most studied of probiotics.”