Sun Genomics, creator of Floré and NZMP, ingredient-solutions brand by global dairy company Fonterra, announced an expansion of their existing partnership aimed at better understanding the various health benefits of probiotics.

With an ongoing goal to conduct in-depth consumer research, Sun Genomics and NZMP are launching the second phase of a joint clinical trial known as “Project Happy.”

Beginning Sept. 1, the six-week trial is designed to further validate findings from the brands’ first consumer pilot study, which tested NZMP’s LactoB HN001 strain with 52 Floré customers to determine if there were any significant improvements in mental wellness and happiness. After 60 days of consuming a probiotic formulation and rating their psychological well-being on the Oxford Happiness Questionnaire, participants’ mean happiness score increased. The difference between the data was statistically significant, showing that participants felt happier after taking the probiotics.

Aiming to gather additional data on the link between gut health and happiness, Sun Genomics and NZMP are launching a larger follow-up study with 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.”

With existing research linking gastrointestinal health to improved mood, the intent of this study is to further prove the hypothesis that gut health can have a tangible impact on a person’s overall happiness. Additionally, it aims to confirm that the benefits of probiotics can be seen outside of clinical settings and withstand the rigors of normal lifestyles.

“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,” said Chris Ireland, U.S. probiotics business manager of the Active Lifestyle division at NZMP. “Since nothing of this scale has ever been done before, we are looking forward to sharing our findings with researchers and consumers alike.”