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How VS-01™ Compares to Other Vaginal Probiotics

Here’s how VS-01™ stacks up against other vaginal probiotics regarding strains, delivery format, safety, and more.

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Contents
A New Era of Vaginal HealthBacterial Strains Delivery FormatNutrient ComplexSafetyKeeping the Conversation Going Citations

At Seed, we believe that it’s about time for a new era of vaginal health: one that works to close the gender data gap; that addresses not just the symptoms, but the source of vaginal disruptions; and that treats health proactively, not reactively

VS-01™ is our contribution to this long-overdue evolution in vaginal care. 

Built off of almost two decades of pioneering research by Jacques Ravel, Ph.D., VS-01™ is a synbiotic that’s designed to optimize your vaginal microbiome and help protect you from (all-too-common) disruptions and imbalances.

If taking a new product to address vaginal health concerns brings up questions—good! Rigorous scientific inquiry is at the heart of everything we do at Seed, and we don’t encourage taking any claims at face value. So, in the spirit of helping you make informed decisions about your health, today we’re breaking down exactly how VS-01™ compares to other vaginal probiotics with regard to bacterial strains, delivery format, and more.

Other Vaginal Probiotics

Your vaginal microbiome (VMB) plays an essential role in your vaginal (and whole body) health—helping to promote vaginal comfort, keep intruders at bay, and support reproductive well-being.1,2

Unlike the gut microbiome, which ideally contains a wide variety of microorganisms, the VMB tends to function best with less bacterial diversity. Research shows that Lactobacillus crispatus, a species of bacteria that produce lactic acid, is the cornerstone of a strong, resilient vaginal microbiome.3

This bacterial family helps maintain a moderately acidic environment in the VMB, rendering it inhospitable to pathogenic intruders.4 Sexual activity, taking certain prescriptions, and douching are just a few of the daily habits that can deplete the VMB of lactobacilli and make the vaginal environment more vulnerable to disruption.5-7 

This is foundational vaginal microbiome research—but it’s not reflected in today’s vaginal probiotic space. Many existing products do not contain Lactobacillus crispatus and if they do, they combine it with other bacterial species that have not proven beneficial for vaginal health.  

Certain strains within the L. crispatus family have a particularly protective effect on the vagina, and these have been sorely lacking on the market—until now.8 

VS-01™

VS-01™ is the first vaginal synbiotic to deliver three live strains of L. crispatus that are clinically validated to promote optimal vaginal health (LUCA103™, LUCA011™, LUCA009™).

Identifying them took Dr. Ravel 216 months, over 2,000 research participants globally, and nearly 9,000 sequenced vaginal samples. The final three strains were selected for their genomic superiority and strong association with vaginal microbiome stability—and since they were isolated from healthy human vaginal microbiomes, you can trust that they are fully attuned to this beautifully complex ecosystem.

Other Vaginal Probiotics

Quick Anatomy 101: there is no direct route from the mouth to the vagina. That means, if you want a vaginal probiotic to have a meaningful impact on the vaginal microbiome, you’ll need a product that directly interacts with the vaginal wall (AKA, a vaginal suppository—not an oral capsule). 

Traditional oral probiotics that are marketed for vaginal health are designed to exert some skin contact with the vagina via the perineum once they leave the body (yes, this means they’re relying on poop transfer). However, for this to happen, the probiotics would need to a) survive the damaging aspects of the digestive system, such as digestive enzymes, bile salts, and high acidity levels, and b) have meaningful enough skin contact to allow their microbes to colonize the vagina. This is not a given, hence why oral formats capsules have not been shown to exert major changes in the vaginal microbiome in clinical research.9

VS-01™

For the most effective results, we designed VS-01™ tablets to be inserted directly into the vagina. This enables the probiotic bacteria to bypass the digestive system and directly interact with the vaginal wall to promote VMB health—and we have the testing to prove it. 

In a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial, we evaluated multiple candidate formats of VS-01™ to find the best and most effective mode of delivery. Following multiple study arms, we landed on a SMART Tablet™ slow-release delivery technology that was 10 times more effective at increasing L. crispatus abundance when compared to a leading oral probiotic for vaginal health.7 

A graph demonstrating how Seed's VS-01 outperforms other vaginal probiotics

These tablets are designed to evolve with you and be easy to use. During your first month, you will insert six tablets at a specific interval into your vagina (similar to the process of inserting a tampon). This initial “Reset” establishes an optimal vaginal microbiome in just 21 days. After your first month, you continue to “Sustain” by inserting two tablets each month to maintain the stability of your vaginal microbiome and regulate pH levels

We created this protocol to maximize efficacy while minimizing impact on your daily life.

Other Vaginal Probiotics

Once effective probiotic strains are identified and delivered to the vaginal microbiome, they need to be able to survive in that unique environment. That’s where nutrient sources that improve bacterial stability and efficacy can come in. Most vaginal probiotics do not include these complimentary ingredients. Instead, they use standard stabilizing agents that lack innovation and ingenuity.

VS-01™

VS-01™ is formulated with a rich complex of nutrients and an innovative prebiotic to create the ideal environment and energy source for its probiotic strains to not only survive, but thrive. These include compounds that feed, protect, and provide growth advantages to our precious L. crispatus strains for improved efficacy of the entire formula.

Other Vaginal Probiotics

Despite the vaginal mucous membrane being far more permeable than skin, vaginal health products are not subject to rigorous safety testing.10 This means that many existing products are made without consideration for important biomarkers of vaginal health. Most only target vaginal symptoms without considering the impact on the vaginal microbiome—and oftentimes, they can actually further disrupt the VMB.

VS-01™

VS-01™ has been extensively third-party evaluated for safety, contaminants, impurities, and all classes of allergens. It’s formulated with gentle, non-irritating ingredients and tested for vaginal biocompatibility to ensure there is no disruption to the delicate vaginal mucosal barrier. 

We also test for a comprehensive panel of over 50 endocrine-disrupting substances (think: phthalates, PFAS, parabens, and estrogens). 

Choosing how you care for your vaginal microbiome is uniquely personal and vulnerable, and understanding the science of vaginal probiotics is a vital part of the process. 

At Seed, asking curious, thoughtful questions is central to our mission to use microbes to transform human and environmental health—and we’re always here to help provide answers. If you have more questions about how VS-01™ is formulated, how it fits into your routine, or how it compares to other vaginal probiotics, you can email our SciCare team at scicare@seed.com.

  1. Chen, X., Lu, Y., Chen, T., & Li, R. (2021). The female vaginal microbiome in health and bacterial vaginosis. Frontiers in Cellular and Infection Microbiology, 11. https://doi.org/10.3389/fcimb.2021.631972
  2. Saadaoui, M., Singh, P., Ortashi, O., & Khodor, S. A. (2023). Role of the vaginal microbiome in miscarriage: Exploring the relationship. Frontiers in Cellular and Infection Microbiology, 13. https://doi.org/10.3389/fcimb.2023.1232825
  3. Gajer, P., Brotman, R. M., Bai, G., Sakamoto, J., Schütte, U. M. E., Zhong, X., Koenig, S. S. K., Fu, L., Ma, Z., Zhou, X., Abdo, Z., Forney, L. J., & Ravel, J. (2012). Temporal dynamics of the human vaginal microbiota. Science Translational Medicine, 4(132). https://doi.org/10.1126/scitranslmed.3003605
  4. Lin, Y., Chen, W., Cheng, C., & Shen, C. (2021). Vaginal pH value for clinical diagnosis and treatment of common vaginitis. Diagnostics, 11(11), 1996. https://doi.org/10.3390/diagnostics11111996
  5. Vodstrcil, L. A., Twin, J., Garland, S. M., Fairley, C. K., Hocking, J. S., Law, M. G., Plummer, E. L., Fethers, K. A., Chow, E. P. F., Tabrizi, S. N., & Bradshaw, C. S. (2017). The influence of sexual activity on the vaginal microbiota and Gardnerella vaginalis clade diversity in young women. PloS One, 12(2), e0171856. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0171856
  6. Mayer, B. T., Srinivasan, S., Fiedler, T. L., Marrazzo, J. M., Fredricks, D. N., & Schiffer, J. T. (2015). Rapid and profound shifts in the vaginal microbiota following antibiotic treatment for bacterial vaginosis. The Journal of Infectious Diseases, 212(5), 793–802. https://doi.org/10.1093/infdis/jiv079
  7. Brotman, R. M., Klebanoff, M. A., Nansel, T. R., Andrews, W. W., Schwebke, J. R., Zhang, J., Yu, K. F., Zenilman, J. M., & Scharfstein, D. O. (2008). A longitudinal study of vaginal douching and bacterial vaginosis–A marginal structural modeling analysis. American Journal of Epidemiology, 168(2), 188–196. https://doi.org/10.1093/aje/kwn103
  8. France, M., Alizadeh, M., Brown, S. E., Ma, B., & Ravel, J. (2022). Towards a deeper understanding of the vaginal microbiota. Nature Microbiology, 7(3), 367–378. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41564-022-01083-2
  9. Hertz, F. B., Holm, J. B., Pallejá, A., Björnsdóttir, M. K., Mikkelsen, L. S., Brandsborg, E., & Frimodt‐Møller, N. (2022). Vaginal microbiome following orally administered probiotic. APMIS. Acta Pathologica, Microbiologica Et Immunologica, 130(10), 605–611. https://doi.org/10.1111/apm.13261
  10. Nicole W. (2014). A question for women’s health: Chemicals in feminine hygiene products and personal lubricants. Environmental Health Perspectives, 122(3), A70–A75. https://doi.org/10.1289/ehp.122-A70