Seed is one of the most popular probiotic supplements, and the brand’s website definitely inspires confidence. It’s a beautifully designed brand that seems to evoke a sense of trust and expertise.
But are their probiotics actually more effective than the average Amazon probiotic supplement which is much cheaper? And is there any medical research backing Seed? These are the questions we’ll seek to answer in this article.
Why Their Capsule Works Better
While we cannot locate any medical studies proving that Seed probiotics are effective for any specific health outcome, there is an interesting clinical trial proving that their capsule technology delivers high doses of probiotics to the gut, without those probiotics being killed by stomach acid.
The trial, which was published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences in 2021, proves that Seed Health’s capsule design, called “ViaCap,” is an effective delivery mechanism.
The capsule has both an inner and outer component, and is made of hydroxypropyl methylcellulose, which is a non-toxic plant-derived ingredient. This ingredient protects the probiotics from the damaging effects of stomach acid.
The medical trial details that nearly 50% of probiotic cultures successfully reached the mid-and-small intestine, which is higher than the average percentage of probiotics formulated without this technology.
We believe that a direct comparison in the trial of Seed’s capsule versus an off-the-shelf product would have been more useful than the way they designed the study, but this is legitimate medical research and does suggest that Seed has a superior capsule formulation compared to most of their competitors.
As we discussed at length in our probiotics reviews article, there is significant medical research showing that many probiotics die either in transit or in stomach acid. We consider this development from Seed a good sign about the quality of their brand, and believe that other probiotic brands may benefit from licensing their capsule technology.
Seed for Adults Dosage
Seed sells two different probiotics. One is for adults (18+ in age) and is called DS-01. It contains a total of 53.6 Active-fluorescent units (AFUs), which is a different way of measuring active probiotics than colony forming units (CFUs) which is the most standard descriptor. The two are essentially equivalent.
This total probiotic dosage is an effective amount, and definitely high enough to have biological effects, but as described by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), “higher CFU counts do not necessarily improve the product’s health effects.”
This means that there’s no proof that this product is necessarily more effective than the same formulation at a lower overall dose. Many consumers think that a probiotic with 30 billion CFU should be three times as effective as a probiotic with 10 billion CFU, but that is not the case even though it makes logical sense.
The optimal dosage of a probiotic will vary greatly based on individual factors like diet and any health conditions. A patient diagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) using probiotics therapeutically will have greatly different probiotic dosage needs than a healthy adult taking a probiotic for general health maintenance.
That being said, we have no issues overall with Seed DS-01’s dosage.
Seed for Adults Ingredient Review
Seed contains an impressive array of different probiotic strains. One good sign of the legitimacy of the brand is that they list the specific probiotic strain (e.g. Bifidobacterium longum SD-BB536-JP), rather than just the species (e.g. Bifidobacterium longum).
Many low-quality supplement brands without scientists on their development team only list the species, and likely don’t even know what the difference is between the two.
Different probiotic strains within the same species can have different biological effects, and medical research is typically conducted listing the probiotic strain. Thus this is important information for consumers to be aware of, and we commend Seed for being one of the few probiotic companies we’ve reviewed recently to list this information accurately.
The DS-01 ingredient Bifidobacterium longum SD-BB536-JP is proven in medical research to be effective for stabilizing the gut microbiome as a whole, providing immunological benefit, and helping the body fight off infectious disease. This is a strong choice for a daily probiotic.
Another effective ingredient in this formulation is Lacticaseibacillus rhamnosus SD-LR6-IT, which has been proven in a clinical trial to restore and optimize gastric barrier function in patients who use proton pump inhibitors (PPI) for acid reflux.
This research is important, because it suggests that this probiotic strain can significantly reduce bacterial overgrowth in the stomach which can be a cause of several uncomfortable conditions like stomach ulcers.
Bifidobacterium infantis SD-M63-JP may improve mental health in patients with disrupted gut function. A medical trial published in the Beneficial Microbes journal in 2019 found that this ingredient reduced anxiety and pain scores compared to a group receiving a placebo pill, and that self-reported scores of mental well-being were also improved by this ingredient. All of the patients in this trial had IBS, so this suggests that this probiotic strain may cause beneficial changes to microbiome function which have downstream positive effects on mental health.
One of the ingredients in this formulation proves how powerful probiotics can be in reducing whole-body inflammation, because many inflammatory diseases seem to stem from gut dysfunction.
A strain called Ligilactobacillus salivarius SD-LS1-IT is part of DS-01’s “Dermatological Health Probiotic Blend,” and is proven to reduce eczema when taken orally (not even applied to the skin).
A clinical trial found that adults with eczema taking this probiotic strain had significant reductions in levels of harmful bacteria on their facial skin, as well as reductions in redness and irritation that are caused by eczema.
There are more active ingredients in this formulation which are proven to be effective, but for the sake of brevity we won’t analyze every single one because this article would be 5,000 words long.
The takeaway is that Seed DS-01 is very well formulated, more so than any other probiotic we’ve reviewed on Illuminate Health. It’s also free of harmful additives like sugar or artificial coloring.
We would recommend this supplement for daily health maintenance, and believe it would benefit many patients with gut conditions as well, but those patients should speak with their doctor prior to taking any probiotic supplement.
Seed for Adolescents Ingredient Review
Seed’s probiotic supplement for children and teenagers is called PDS-08. It’s a powder supplement rather than a capsule supplement.
The AFU is 20 billion, which is around 33% of the probiotic dosage in the supplement for adults. This appears to be an appropriate dose for children and adolescents based on medical research. A medical review on pediatric probiotic use found 5 to 10 billion CFU to be an effective minimum dose.
Bifidobacterium breve SD-BR3-IT appears to be an effective probiotic strain for children. A clinical trial published in the well-respected Clinical Nutrition journal found that the strain improved insulin sensitivity in obese children and adolescents.
This is an important finding, since many children in the developed world are overweight or obese. Insulin dysregulation is associated with the onset of diabetes.
Seed’s Respiratory Health Blend in this probiotic seems well-formulated, since both of the probiotic strains used are proven in a medical trial to reduce incidence of asthma. Pediatric patients taking these two probiotics in combination experienced 33% fewer exacerbations of asthma compared to a group taking a placebo pill.
PDS-08 also contains a prebiotic blend of inulin and fructooligosaccharides. Prebiotics are compounds which help feed healthy bacteria in the gut, and contribute to optimal microbiome health. They’re increasingly considered as important as probiotics for optimal gut functioning.
These two exact prebiotics were shown in a medical study with children as participants to improve the ratio of good to bad bacteria in the gut, improve bowel function, decrease intestinal permeability (which can theoretically reduce the risk of developing inflammatory diseases), and reduce rate of gastrointestinal and respiratory infections.
Clearly PDS-08 is just as well-formulated as Seed’s probiotic for adults. It contains no harmful filler ingredients and many active ingredients which are proven in medical research to improve health in children and adolescents.
We would recommend this supplement to parents seeking a probiotic supplement for their children, though we would also recommend that parents speak to their pediatrician before ordering a probiotic for their children, especially if the child is a young age.
Real User Review
One of the most popular YouTube reviews of Seed is published by a channel called “Katie Type A.” The video creator explains her experience taking Seed probiotics, and how they may be especially helpful on a keto diet:
We often mention in our reviews that it’s important for consumers to evaluate the team behind a health supplement, and ask whether this team has the experience and education necessary to formulate a high-quality and safe supplement.
In most cases, like with the BioFit supplement, our answer is no.
However, Seed's team is impressive. The company employs a range of scientists of various disciplines. There are many doctors and PhDs on their team.
This is a sign of a quality brand, and explains why the supplement is so well formulated.