Unilever and Holobiome join forces to identify ingredients targeting gut-brain axis

By Kavitha Sivasubramaniam

- Last updated on GMT

Unilever in pact to find ingredients targeting gut-brain axis

Related tags: Unilever, Holobiome, gut-brain axis

Unilever has teamed up with gut microbiome organisation Holobiome to discover ingredients in food and drink that target the gut-brain axis and improve mental wellbeing.

The joint research intends to identify food ingredients that work with bacteria that Holobiome say communicate via neurotransmitter signalling, exerting a calming influence in the process.

Unilever will then look to enhance these across food products and refreshments in its portfolio, with the long-term aim of naturally increasing levels of calming neurotransmitters in the gut, and thereby boosting mental wellbeing.

Stress and anxiety

Carla Hilhorst, Executive Vice President R&D Foods & Refreshment at Unilever, said: “More than 70% of consumers are concerned that stress and anxiety are having an impact on their health.

“In turn, consumers are increasingly seeking food and drink products that can have a positive impact on their overall health and mental wellbeing.

“Through our partnership with Holobiome, we look forward to understanding more about the way ingredients interact with the gut microbiome.

“This research offers exciting opportunities for our future food and drink formulations enabling us to deliver boldly healthier products.”

Ingredients with a prebiotic potential will be identified in the screening process, as these will be food for the gut’s beneficial microbes.

Dietary fibres and some polyphenols currently used in Unilever’s products are classified as prebiotics.

‘You are what you eat’

Philip Strandwitz, Holobiome CEO and co-founder, said: “Everyone knows the saying ‘You are what you eat’. The microbiome is an important part of that relationship, and it appears to impact nearly every aspect of our biology.

“As such, it’s important to understand how the food we eat influences our microbial passengers and the important functions they perform.

“If we can map this out at an individual ingredient level, there’s an opportunity to make more informed dietary choices and improve health via multiple marketplaces.

“Our platform – powered by our Human Microbiome Atlas, which contains nearly all known members of the gut microbiome – allows us to make this map for specific functions related to the gut-brain-axis. We’re excited to work with Unilever and help explore the future of food.”

The study is likely to be carried out throughout 2022, with results due by the end of the year.

Related news

Show more

Related products

show more

Health, Wellness and Innovation made easy

Health, Wellness and Innovation made easy

Univar Solutions | 16-May-2022 | Product Brochure

Tata Fossence®, a short chain FOS, is a potent prebiotic and dietary fibre derived from fermented cane sugar that selectively enhances the beneficial microbiota...




BIONAP is positioned to lead the next generation of natural and organic ingredients with the aim to improve health and quality of life over the world.

Clinically supported probiotics and postbiotics.

Clinically supported probiotics and postbiotics.

ADM | 26-Apr-2022 | Product Presentation

Today’s consumers know the importance of metabolic health and the role that the gut microbiome plays within it. After extensive research, ADM has selected...

Trending solutions for immunity beverages

Trending solutions for immunity beverages

Prinova Europe Limited | 12-Apr-2022 | Technical / White Paper

One of the effects of COVID-19 has been to increase consumer interest in beverages with functional benefits, particularly for immune health.

Related suppliers

Follow us


View more