SAN DIEGO – Seeking to validate findings from the first round of a collaborative pilot study, Sun Genomics and NZMP intend to continue examining the link between gut health and happiness.

Expanding upon their partnership, which they formed in order to identify various health benefits tied to probiotics, the companies announced the next portion of their consumer research, known as “Project Happy,” is scheduled to launch on Sept. 1 and last for six weeks.

The upcoming joint clinical trial is a follow-up to their first pilot study. In the first round, 52 customers who used Sun Genomics’ Floré, which is a customized precision probiotic, consumed NZMP’s LactoB HN001 strain. The study involved examining whether “any significant improvements in mental wellness and happiness” occurred.

The study found that participants felt happier after taking the probiotics. Per the companies, customers for 60 days consumed a probiotic formulation and rated their psychological well-being with the help of the Oxford Happiness Questionnaire. Through that process, the companies saw the mean happiness score increase among participants.

The next round will involve 120 participants.

“We are proud to work on developing the next generation of probiotics, all while discovering new functionalities and health benefits,” said Neal Gidvani, chief operating officer of Sun Genomics. “By uncovering powerful responses to novel probiotic strains, such as a boost in happiness levels, we are adding significant value to our current approach. Ultimately, this allows us to grow our consumer offering and help more people than ever before.”

Added Chris Ireland, US probiotics business manager of NZMP’s active lifestyle division: “After analyzing the results of our first pilot study, we knew that it would be beneficial to expand our relationship with Sun Genomics and build upon that success. Since nothing of this scale has ever been done before, we are looking forward to sharing our findings with researchers and consumers alike.”

NZMP, a business-to-business ingredients brand owned by global dairy company Fonterra, also shared some findings from a recent survey it conducted with CARAVAN. Among 1,000 US adults, 37% of the respondents reported having stress and mood issues. Among that group, 18% said they take probiotics to help with those problems, while 65% said they would consider taking them.

Sun Genomics and NZMP first began collaborating in 2018.