Dear 100 Hour Board,
I am having a difficult time knowing how to separate truth from error.
I recently visited a gastroenterologist, and part of his reccomendation to what I should do for my condition is to take a strong (and rather expensive) probiotic called "VSL #3". From what I can gather, this probiotic has been used for years and has developed a reputation as being a good probiotic (as I even remember hearing about it years ago). But, as I was looking up where to buy it, I found some information that caused me some concern:
"...A U.S. court has ruled that the formula sold in recent years as VSL#3 is not the same as original formula used in many clinical trials, and that this newer formula was falsely promoted as being the same as the original. The inventor of the original formula now sells the product as Visbiome (ExeGi Pharma)..."
So, naturally, wanting to make sure I was taking the right product (as it is expensive and I do want the best for my health), I left a message with my doctor's office, asking whether I should take the one with the same name, or the one which reportedly has the original formula under a different name. When the medical assistant returned my call, she only gave me a brief response, that the doctor said that what I read was only "propaganda created by the internet," and that I should take the one labeled "VSL#3". But, as I've looked up more information, it seems less and less definite that this is just simply propaganda to promote the new product. There seems to be some unbiased information out there showing that there was indeed a court ruling, and that it was in favor of the inventor, Claudio de Simone (for example, with this here). I still can't seem to discern whether what I'm continuing to find is still "propaganda," or whether the gastroenterologist is just instantly passing it all off as false without considering the possibility and really taking time to look into the issue?
(As they say, "you can't teach an old dog new tricks"...)
So, how do I know which side is right?
I know there's lots of details here relating to my specific case, and I do want to know which probiotic will be the one that will help my health issues; but in general, I also want to know, what does one do to separate truth from fiction in this world we live in?
-What is truth?
If it's possible, I think you should get a second opinion. I don't know if the doctor is getting anything out of prescribing something specific, or if he's totally right, or what. But talking to a different specialist should get you a bit more information about the product and help you sort it out a little bit.
If you're taking the prescription at face value in the first place, you're saying you will take what a doctor tells you to take. Your doctor is prescribing you whatever he believes VSL #3 to be.
So if you're still trying to do the prescription, take the VSL #3. But it seems like your confidence in your doctor has been injured, so maybe you don't trust the original prescription. If that's the case then definitely do all that Sheebs said, or find a second opinion from another doctor.
When it comes to medicine, people forget that they are first and foremost responsible for what they put in their body. They forget that they have a choice and they are accountable. So yes, take the initiative and do your research.
But if you feel like your doctor is well-meaning, knows his stuff, and is your best source for medical information--take the VSL #3. He knows what he means, and may have prescribed exactly that to a bunch of other patients like you, and had it help them. That's the product he's talking about.
Again, we're not doctors. You should be talking to people with licenses. Maybe a few of them.