You shouldn’t take probiotics without doing this…

Seed and Feed

In functional medicine, gut health is a cornerstone of overall wellness. A balanced and diverse gut microbiome can influence everything from digestion to immune function and even mental health. To achieve this balance, it’s essential to both “seed” and “feed” your gut bacteria. This means introducing beneficial bacteria into your gut and providing the nutrients they need to thrive. Let’s explore why both steps are crucial for optimal gut health.

Seeding: Planting Probiotics

“Seeding” your gut involves introducing beneficial bacteria, also known as probiotics, into your digestive system. Probiotics are live microorganisms that can offer numerous health benefits when consumed in adequate amounts. They help to restore and maintain a healthy balance of gut flora, which is essential for digestion, nutrient absorption, and immune function.

You can also seed your gut with probiotics through fermented foods such as water kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha and other fermented foods. Additionally, probiotic supplements can provide a concentrated source of these beneficial bacteria. Just be sure you verify there are no histamine intolerances or other conditions that these could worsten, such as SIBO. We can help you rule all of these out or focus on root causes through our GI360 and Neuro Transmitter tests.

Feeding: Nourishing Your Gut Bacteria

Once you’ve seeded your gut with probiotics, it’s essential to “feed” these beneficial bacteria to help them grow and colonize. Feeding your gut bacteria involves providing them with the nutrients they need to thrive, primarily through prebiotics like soluble fiber and polyphenols.

Soluble Fiber

Soluble fiber dissolves in water to form a gel-like substance in your digestive tract, serving as a prebiotic. It nourishes beneficial bacteria, including strains like Akkermansia muciniphila, helping them to proliferate and enhance your gut health. See my previous post in foods that are rich in soluble fiber.


Polyphenols are naturally occurring compounds found in plants, known for their antioxidant properties. They also act as prebiotics by shaping the gut environment to favor the growth of beneficial bacteria. See my previous post here for a list of high-polyphenol foods that are colorful and gut nourishing.

For a convenient polyphenol boost, also consider supplements like the Pendulum Polyphenol Booster available here at Modern Medicine. These capsules are an easy way to ensure you’re getting enough polyphenols to support your gut health.

Other Beneficial Foods

A diet rich in a variety of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts, and seeds provides a wide array of nutrients that support a healthy gut. These foods contain different types of fibers and bioactive compounds that work together to nourish your microbiome.

The Synergy of Seeding and Feeding

The process of seeding and feeding your gut bacteria creates a synergistic effect that promotes a healthy, balanced microbiome. Probiotics help to introduce beneficial bacteria, while prebiotics, including soluble fiber and polyphenols, provide the nourishment these bacteria need to thrive. This combination supports better digestion, enhances immune function, and can even improve mood and cognitive function.

Incorporating both probiotics and prebiotics into your daily routine is a holistic approach to maintaining gut health. By seeding your gut with beneficial bacteria and feeding them the right nutrients, you create an optimal environment for these microorganisms to flourish, supporting your overall health and well-being.

Investing in your gut health through this two-step process is a simple yet powerful way to enhance your functional medicine approach and promote long-term wellness.

Jade Green TNC CHHC

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