J&J probiotic research partnership explores links among the microbiome, nervous system, sleep, and skin health

By Deanna Utroske contact

- Last updated on GMT

J&J probiotic research partnership explores links among the microbiome, nervous system, sleep, and skin health

Related tags: Gut flora

Holobiome Corporation and J&J are collaborating on the new project; and in a recent exchange with Cosmetics Design, Stefanie Dhanda, senior director of consumer scientific innovation at the health and beauty company’s Innovation Center, affirms, “there is promise that a healthy gut can confer healthier skin and appearance.”

Johnson & Johnson has undertaken several new research endeavors with external experts lately. On the whole, these “collaborations [are intended] to drive the development of novel solutions to impact healthcare,”​ according to company spokesperson.

The partnership with Holobiome Corporation (a company that is developing microbiome-based treatments for mental health concerns), however, is expected to have relevant cross-over with personal care.

The project overall

“The major goal of this project is to investigate the effect that certain microbial species identified by Holobiome have on cognitive function, i.e. anxiety and depression.  We are specifically focusing on the effect that these bacteria have on enhancing the efficacy and quality of sleep,” ​Stefanie Dhanda, senior director of consumer scientific innovation at J&J’s Innovation Center, tells Cosmetics Design.

Explaining the thinking behind the research initiative further, she says, “The Gut Brain Axis (GBA) is the bi-directional communication between the gut and the brain used as a communication mechanism in which signals are transmitted through nerves, with hormones or inflammatory markers.  These signals are often influenced by gut microflora, either by changes in the entire community structure of bacteria that exist in the gut or through some influence on the gut physiology.  The GBA has been linked to many areas of both health and disease.”

The beauty outlook

For the two companies, this research isn’t about beauty per se; but, it will almost certainly have implications in the business. 

“Current research evidence supports a connection between the gut and skin in which ingesting certain probiotic strains show a positive impact on skin conditions such as acne and eczema,” ​says Dhanda.

“These connections must be further explored; but there is a sense that communications between the gut and the skin will help to reduce inflammation, regulate hormones, and increase barrier protection. Future studies should be conducted to further investigate this relationship but there is promise that a healthy gut can confer healthier skin and appearance,” ​she tells Cosmetics Design.

The space between

Specifically, says Dhanda, “this technology will focus on enhancing the quality of sleep. There are many benefits attributed to better sleep such as fewer wrinkles, reduced stress on the skin and reduced inflammation.  Aesthetically, better sleep also reduces redness, swollen eyes and dark circles.  Indirect benefits from this technology may contribute to overall health especially how we look and feel,” ​she tells Cosmetics Design. 

And of course, even outside the scope of the Holobiome project, J&J is “exploring the benefits of the microbiome in health and wellness across multiple areas to harness these beneficial effects.”

“One major focus area,” ​as Dhanda affirms, “is the skin microbiome, where we have invested in partnerships and fundamental research to advance the science and translation of the microbiome for skincare.”



Deanna Utroske, CosmeticsDesign.com Editor, covers beauty business news in the Americas region and publishes the weekly Indie Beauty Profile column, showcasing the inspiring work of entrepreneurs and innovative brands. 




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