Seed is one of the most popular probiotic supplements, and is one of the best-branded supplements we've reviewed on Illuminate Health in terms of packaging and website design. The company claims their supplement is made with "scientifically studied probiotic strains and a polyphenol-based prebiotic to support systemic health."
But is Seed really better-formulated than cheaper probiotics? Does it contain research-backed ingredients? Does it contain any questionable additive ingredients? What ingredients are in the adolescent probiotic supplement, and do children really need supplements? And how do real users rate and describe the effect of Seed?
In this article we'll answer all of these questions and more as we analyze the ingredients in Seed for Adults and Seed for Kids + Teens based on medical studies to give our take on whether the supplements are likely to be effective or if they're a waste of money.
We'll feature unsponsored customer reviews, and discuss whether their capsule technology is superior to the competition.
Is Seed's Capsule Tech Superior?
The capsule technology used by Seed was studied in a clinical trial published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences.
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 clinical trial found that nearly 50% of probiotic cultures encapsulated by Seed's capsule tech 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, many probiotics die either in transit or in stomach acid.
Seed also appears to be funding two clinical trials on the effectiveness of their probiotic for adults, although the results don't appear to be published at the time of updating this article.
But is Seed's supplement for adults effectively formulated? We'll discuss that in the next section.
Seed for Adults Ingredient Analysis
The ingredients in Seed's probiotic for adults, called DS-01, are shown above. The active ingredients are included in blends.
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).
Bifidobacterium longum SD-BB536-JP is a probiotic strain included in the Digestive health blend that was shown in a meta-study published in the Journal of Functional Foods to help stabilize the gut microbiome, support the immune system, and help the body fight off infectious disease.
Lacticaseibacillus rhamnosus SD-LR6-IT was shown in a 2012 clinical trial to restore and optimize gastric barrier function in patients who use proton pump inhibitors (PPI) for acid reflux.
The above-linked study 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 clinical trial published in the Beneficial Microbes journal reported that this probiotic strain reduced anxiety and pain in patients with IBS.
Ligilactobacillus salivarius SD-LS1-IT is included in DS-01’s Dermatological Health Probiotic Blend, and was shown in a 2011 clinical trial to cause significant reductions in levels of harmful bacteria on facial skin, as well as reductions in redness and irritation that are caused by eczema.
The inactive ingredients in this supplement, shown below, are likely safe and non-toxic:
The total probiotic dose in DS-01 is around 50 billion active-fluorescent units (AFU), and we consider anything above around 10 billion AFU to be an effective maintenance dose, as we discussed in our Align probiotic review article.
Overall, we consider DS-01 likely to improve gut health and to support optimal overall health. This is the best probiotic supplement we've reviewed to date on Illuminate Health, and we recommend it from a formulation perspective.
But how do real users rate and describe the effects of DS-01? We'll feature some unsponsored customer reviews in the next section, before analyzing the ingredients in Seed's supplement for adolescents.
Real Users Review Seed
One of the most popular YouTube reviews of Seed is published by a YouTube creator named called Katie Moore, who discusses her experience taking Seed probiotics, and how they may be especially helpful on a keto diet:
A YouTube creator named "Health-vilicious" shared her experience using Seed in an unsponsored video:
Seed for Children Ingredient Analysis
Seed’s probiotic supplement for children and teenagers is called PDS-08, and its ingredients are shown above.
The total dose is 20 billion AFU, 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 2007 medical review on pediatric probiotic use found 5 to 10 billion CFU to be an effective minimum dose (CFU and AFU can be somewhat equivalent).
Bifidobacterium breve SD-BR3-IT is a probiotic strain that was shown to improve insulin sensitivity in obese children and adolescents in a clinical trial published in the Clinical Nutrition journal.
Bifidobacterium breve B632 and Ligilactobacillus salivarius LS01 are the probiotic strains in Seed's Respiratory Health Blend, and supplementation with these two strains reduced asthma episodes by 33% in children in a 2022 clinical trial.
Inulin and fructooligosaccharides are prebiotics in PDS-08. This is a term for compounds that feed the healthy gut bacteria in the gut, and are increasingly considered by the medical community as equally important to probiotics in supporting optimal gut health.
A 2007 medical review found these two prebiotics 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.
Like DS-01, this supplement has no ingredients that are likely toxic or harmful.
Overall, we consider PDS-08 likely to improve gut health and support optimal health in children and adolescents, although we recommend that parents speak to their pediatrician before giving probiotics to their child.
This is the best pediatric probiotic supplement that we've reviewed to date on Illuminate Health.
Will Seed Cause Side Effects?
As discussed in the first section of this article, Seed DS-01 is currently being studied in two clinical trials, but the results of those trials don't appear to be public yet.
It's challenging to evaluate the risk of side effects without clinical trial data, but we can make an educated guess based on the ingredients in Seed.
We do not consider Seed DS-01 likely to cause side effects in otherwise healthy adults, because it's free of harmful inactive ingredients and uses probiotic strains with research backing.
That being said, the fact that Seed's capsule technology is so effective may slightly increase the risk of side effects compared to another probiotic. More absorption means more potential for both positive and negative biological effects.
In regard to the children's probiotic, we would recommend that parents speak to their pediatrician about the risk of side effects.
On an FAQ section of Seed's website, the brand states that DS-01 may cause gastrointestinal discomfort, abdominal tightness, mild nausea or changes in stool during the first few days of use in some individuals.
Our Clean Probiotic Picks
Express 3-in-1 Probiotic by Bulletproof is our top probiotic supplement pick. It contains both prebiotics, probiotics and postbiotics to support optimal gut health, and costs under $35 at the time of updating this article.
Supergut Fiber Mix is our top prebiotic supplement pick. It's made of a blend of fiber powders including green banana powder resistant starch and resistant potato starch.
A medical review published in the Advances in Nutrition journal analyzed data from various clinical trials and concluded that resistant starch intake was associated with improved gut health, weight loss in overweight and obese individuals, and improved insulin resistance.
"...many studies demonstrated that VSL#3 has a beneficial effect on obesity and diabetes, allergic diseases, nervous systemic diseases, AS, bone diseases, and female reproductive systemic diseases."
All three of the supplements recommended in this section are entirely free of additive ingredients that we consider to be questionable or unhealthy.
We are not suggesting that any of these products are more effective than Seed, simply sharing our category recommendations that may be more budget-friendly.
Pros and Cons of Seed
Here are the pros and cons of Seed in our opinion:
- Highly potent
- Effectively dosed
- Uses strains with research backing
- Safe inactive ingredients
- Currently engaged in clinical trials
- Superior capsule technology
- Great branding and packaging
- Relatively high probiotic dose may cause mild side effects in some individuals