Gut-brain axis: Novozymes exhibit psychobiotic to target stress

By Olivia Brown

- Last updated on GMT

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Getty Images

Related tags psychobiotics gut-brain axis Gut health microbiome Probiotic

Novozymes OneHealth, supplier of probiotics, enzymes, and bioactive ingredients, exhibited its ‘ProbioBrain’ psychobiotic containing the targeted Bifidobacterium Longum 1714 strain, at Vitafoods last week.

The cognitive health focused strain was identified from healthy microbiomes and has been clinically proven​ to alter the stress response, reduce perceived stress levels, and alter brain activity patterns in humans through the gut-brain axis.

The company’s move into psychobiotics follows the apparent boom in the global brain health market, which is estimated to reach $10 billion by 2025 (Cohoerent Market Insights, Grand Research Review), driven by a shift in consumer attitudes towards proactive care. 

“This has become the number one health concern globally for consumers, overtaking the importance of immune health following the post-covid era,” Veronique Rufin-Soumine, global marketing and customer engagement manager at Novozymes told attendees at Vitafoods, drawing upon data obtained in the 2022 Health and Nutrition survey by Euromonitor International.

Specifically, it has been found that consumers now associate probiotics with brain health (FMCG Gurus Poll 2021), highlighting a key area of opportunity for innovation.

Growing market

Rufin-Soumine said the company’s consumer research backing the venture found that consumer’s key association with the concept of ‘brain health’ was mental wellness.

It was found that specific issues related to mental wellness that consumers were aiming to target were stress, anxiety, sleep and low energy, low mood, and depression. Research conducted in 2019 noted that a significant 67% of people between 18-54 feel stressed, from the 500 participants questioned within the survey (Novozymes OneHealth market research global 2019).

Kimmo Makinen, product innovation director at Novozymes Onehealth, added how this data guided the company’s research to identify strains capable of alleviating such conditions through the gut-brain axis, entering into global brain health supplement market estimated to have an 8.3% CAGR (Coherent market insights, grand view research).

One in a trillion

Makinen explained the research to identify the strain was conducted in line with the company’s aim to develop psychobiotic solutions to improve consumer mental health.

He added that the Bifidobacterium Longum 1714​ strain used within ‘Probiobrain’ was selected through the company’s ‘one in a trillion’ approach.

He explained: “In general terms, the one in a trillion starts by harvesting microbes from a healthy gut, selecting appropriate strains, conducting in-vitro studies to probe into the mechanism of action to find the microbe that is predicted to deliver the health benefit. Then mapping the genomes of those strains, doing appropriate clinical models, and then finally selecting the most constant strains that we selected in clinical studies.

“The result of this approach is having strains that are matched with specific health benefits that we are interested in, strains that are validated in human clinical trials, have a proven mechanism of action relevant to the health benefit, and that are supported by our ongoing investment into R&D and research. That’s what we mean by one in a trillion solution.” 

He highlighted that the noted benefits of the ‘Probiobrain’ probiotic are supported by placebo-controlled trials​, whereby the cortisol responses to stress were found to reduce in participants who took the strain, allowing participant’s responses to everyday stress to be regulated.

He emphasised: “All of our research has been published in high quality scientific journals and has conducted by renowned experts in neuroscientist, including Dr Paul Enck at Tübingen University in Germany.”

Further ingredients showcased by the firm included ‘BioFresh clean’, an enzyme formulation to improve oral cavity and microbiome health, as well as the postbiotic solution Pylopass DSM 17648, containing the strain Limosilactobacillus reuteri,​ to alleviate gastrointestinal discomfort.

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