Unilever has partnered with the gut microbiome experts at US-based Holobiome to identify food and drink ingredients that could have a positive impact on mental wellbeing by targeting the gut-brain axis.
Many scientists now consider the gut microbiome an essential organ with 70% of the immune system existing in the gut, and 90% of the body’s mood elevating serotonin produced there.
Using its discovery platform to map the microbiome and its influences, Holobiome has identified key bacteria that appear to communicate to the brain via neurotransmitter signalling in the gut.
Unilever and Holobiome’s research partnership aims to identify specific food ingredients that interact with these key bacteria. The long-term ambition is to enhance these ingredients in certain foods and refreshment products across Unilever’s portfolio to naturally boost levels of certain calming neurotransmitters in the gut, in turn improving mental wellbeing.
This research is expected to continue over the next year with findings expected by the end of 2022.