Solutions to nourish mind and brain

From sleep and mood, to mental focus, clarity and agility, Biotis® Brain health offers supporting solutions.

Meet our newest solution

Introducing Biotis® DHA Flex Powders

DHA is an omega-3 that provides multifaceted benefits including supporting brain, eye and cardiovascular health, plus recovery from exercise. Biotis® DHA Flex Powders offer food, drink and supplement producers an algae-derived DHA solution in vegan or vegetarian powder formats. Crafted with precision, the Biotis® DHA Flex Powder range includes Biotis® DHA FlexP 15, which delivers a consistent 15% DHA load for vegan formulations, and a vegetarian variant, Biotis® DHA FlexP 20, that uses dairy proteins in the powder matrix and provides a 20% DHA load.

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Biotis® DHA FlexP 15
Biotis® DHA FlexP 20

Healthy mind, healthy body

The social taboos that once surrounded mental health are fast disappearing, as consumers recognise the importance of mental wellbeing and its link with overall health.

In an increasingly uncertain world, people are more and more aware that an inability to relax and unwind is something that can impact their health, beyond simply influencing mood and energy levels. 57% of consumers say that they suffer from feelings of stress1, and as they become more educated about the holistic nature of wellbeing, are actively seeking safe, natural ways to support their mental health, addressing issues such as stress, anxiety and sleep disruption.

Biotis® Brain health is developing a spectrum of solutions for different aspects of mental and cognitive health. Solutions to help people’s moods and sleep patterns, to think more clearly and focus better, to age healthily and to become more resilient to the pressures of life.

1 FMCG Gurus Top Trend 5 – Re-evaluating Health Explored 2020.

Introducing Biotis®

Biotis® Brain health develops ingredients and solutions for sleep and mood, to mental focus, clarity and agility.
To support sleep, we developed Biotis® SleepWell, a holistic solution for adults who want to improve their sleep quality in a natural way. Based on a formulation of prebiotics* and protein, to help with falling asleep, sleeping through the night and waking up fresh.

*The scientific definition of a prebiotic is “A substrate that is selectively utilized by host microorganisms conferring a health benefit.” Gibson, GR., et al. Expert consensus document: The International Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics (ISAPP) consensus statement on the definition and scope of prebiotics. Nat Rev Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2017 Aug;14(8): 491–502. Whether the claim prebiotic can be used on consumer products depends on local legislation.

Sleep, wellbeing and
quality of life

Consumers are more health conscious and recognise that all elements of their wellbeing are interconnected. They increasingly understand that nutrition, sleep and exercise are inextricably linked.

We humans spend up to one third of our life sleeping. On average, that amounts to a considerable 26 years. More surprisingly perhaps, we spend seven years trying to get to sleep.

Sleep is a basic human need, like eating and drinking, and is a hugely important factor in living a long, healthy and productive life.

Sleeping well is essential to our well-being and quality of life. It allows our body to recover naturally from stress, and to repair itself ready for the day ahead1. A good night’s sleep helps you to stay alert, active and feeling at your best.

However, figures show that many of us don’t sleep well. In fact, over 35% of the global population has sleep problems2.

1RAND, 2017; 2National Library of Medicine, NIH, Feb 2021.

The health and economic costs of poor sleep

Sleep deprivation is a serious issue. Because not enough sleep or poor-quality sleep can lead to all manner of health issues in both the short and longer term1. Next-day negative effects can include lack of energy, clumsiness, impaired attention span and memory recall1.

Further down the line, sleep deprivation has been associated with many serious health problems, such as stress, anxiety, depression, obesity, diabetes, weakened immune system and lower life expectancy2.

The knock-on effects are profound too. Fatigue adversely affects our moods and our relationships, it can mean we don’t perform as we should at school or at work, and it can lead to costly mistakes and accidents1-2.

Across five prominent OECD countries, inadequate sleep is estimated to cost a combined US$680 billion a year, due to lost productivity, medical expenses, sick leave and environmental damage. This equates to an average of 2% of GDP3.

1 Krause, 2017; 2 NSF,, 2020, NHS, 2018.

The demand for sleep aids and remedies is soaring

As sleep becomes one of the hot topics of the age, consumers are becoming more and more aware of how important it is to their health.

One in four (25%) say that they typically get less than five hours sleep in the average night. This is much lower than the recommended eight hours per day. Overall, nine in ten consumers have taken steps to try and improve their sleep patterns1.

1 FMCG Gurus Insights & Opportunities – Global Stress and Sleep Management 2020.

So unsurprisingly, consumers are searching for effective solutions — ways to help them enjoy uninterrupted, beneficial sleep, night after night. The past few years have witnessed a rapid growth in the sleep aid category.

It’s estimated the market for sleep aids and remedies is growing 30% year on year2 and this figure is expected to rise steadily in the near future.

2, January 2019.

How the gut helps us to sleep well

Experts believe that the gut microbiome can affect our quality of sleep by disturbing our sleep-wake cycle, our circadian rhythm, and the hormones that regulate wakefulness and sleep1.

A recent study has shown that greater diversity of bacteria in the gut could improve sleep quality at night and alleviate sleepiness during the day2.

As world-leading experts in gut health, we’re developing solutions on the findings of solid scientific research.

1 Zhang et al., 2017, Benedict et al., 2016, Smith et al., 2019, Poroyko et al., 2016, Thompson et al., 2017; 2 Kate E Sprecher et al., 2019

Gut-brain axis

The evidence indicates that micro-organisms and circadian genes interact with each other via the gut-brain axis, and this could influence the sleep-wake cycle. A prebiotic3* such as Biotis® GOS could play a role in the support of the gut microbiome, keeping it healthy, and in turn promoting better sleep4,5.


3 ISAPP (International Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics), Gibson et al., 2017: *Substrates that are selectively utilized by host microorganisms conferring a health benefit; 4 Poroyko et al., 2016, 5 Thompson et al., 2017.

Friendly bacteria

Research shows that GOS may help with the growth of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria6 in the gut. Studies suggest that these friendly gut bacteria may reduce stress7,8 and anxiety symptoms9,10, which are thought to hamper a good night’s sleep.

6 Walton et al., 2012; 7 Thompson et al., 2020, 8 Schmidt et al., 2015; 9 Johnstone et al., 2019, 10 Silk, et al., 2009.


Amino-acids from protein can encourage neurotransmitters, such as serotonin and melatonin, which are associated with the sleep-wake cycle. What’s more, they can act as building blocks to support processes that help us to recover well during the night so we feel fresh in the morning11.

11 Valtonen et al., 2005.


Not having enough of the right micronutrients in your system can result in poor sleep quality12-13. The formula we are developing helps to supplement essential micronutrients which in turn may encourage restful sleep14-17.

12 Institute-of-Medicine, 1998a, 13 Gao et al., 2018, 14 Ji, Grandner, & Liu, 2017; 15 Sabir et al., 2018, 16 Gao et al., 2018, 17 Held et al., 2002, 18 Nielsen et al., 2010.

Consumer Insight

At FrieslandCampina Ingredients, we’re leading worldwide research into natural, non-addictive sleep solutions. We have established a dedicated team to create a compelling product range that will appeal to consumers and dovetail with their lifestyles.

We consider sleep as part of the ‘golden triangle’ of human health. It’s the balance of nutritious food, regular exercise and sleeping well that is the key to living a long and healthy life. With decades of experience in developing high-performance nutritional products for adults, infants and elite athletes, we’re now turning our attention to products that can help all of us to sleep better.

Research by the Biotis® team identified that people are looking for natural solutions that fit with their lifestyles and evening routine. Our studies found a clear preference for a night-time shot1.

1 Online questionnaire by FCI, Biotis™ team, 2018 (on request, not publicly available).

Biotis® SleepWell — a holistic approach to sleep

We’ve created and piloted a unique, natural solution; one that provides a threefold benefit to people who want to improve their sleep.

Biotis® SleepWell’s unique, natural formula offers the triple benefit of helping people to fall asleep naturally, to sleep through the night and to wake up feeling refreshed. This threefold action of proteins, micronutrients and Biotis® GOS prebiotic1* means that they are buying a superior, holistic sleep product. It is safe, effective and non-addictive.

A recent study has shown that Biotis® SleepWell helps support the stimulation of intestinal Bifidobacteria levels and helps support normal sleep quality in adults with moderate sleep disturbances.2

View applications

1 ISAPP (International Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics), Gibson et al., 2017: *Substrates that are selectively utilized by host microorganisms conferring a health benefit. 2 Schaafsma et al. 2021

Stress and modern-day life

The frantic, full-on nature of 21st-century life can create stress, anxiety, and disrupted sleep patterns for many of us. The imperative to cram as many activities into the day as possible means people may struggle to slow down and relax.

Stress is one of our body’s natural processes, helping us to push ourselves and maintain our performance during the day. It has helped to keep us sharp and alert for centuries.

But just as with many things in life, too much stress is bad for our health. It can trigger anxiety and lead to many other health complications.

Increased awareness
of mental health

Fortunately, the stigma that once surrounded mental health is fading fast. People recognise that health is a holistic proposition. That body and mind (and indeed gut) are all interrelated — one affects the other. Consumers are becoming ever more aware of their overall health and well-being.

Mental health is an issue for all ages, but younger people are particularly vulnerable. Social media, peer pressure, uncertainty about the future create a cocktail of factors that can trigger stress and anxiety.

Solutions for stress & anxiety

‘Functional’ food and drink has become a huge market across the world. In the past year, 50% of global consumers have upped their consumption of food or drink that come with specific health claims1. And almost 60% of consumers worldwide say they are interested in health products to reduce their stress levels2.

People want nutritious functional food that is natural and non-addictive. That is readily available in handy formats that fit seamlessly with their everyday lives.

At the same time, there’s more scientific evidence of the role of the gut microbiome not just in improving digestion and absorption of nutrients, but in systemic health and well-being.

So, could the gut-brain axis be a key to alleviating stress and anxiety?

1 Innova Lifestyle and Wellness Survey 2020
2 FMCG Gurus Jun 2020

Introducing Biotis® GOS

GOS (or Galacto-Oligosaccharides) are unique, natural dairy-derived ingredients that 1-7:

• May aid in building mental resilience
• Can support maintaining mental balance
• Can help to reduce feelings of stress and anxiety

The gut microbiota send signals to the brain by several means, and thereby can for example, impact mental well-being. Studies suggest that ‘friendly’ bacteria like Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria, may reduce stress and anxiety symptoms, which could help people sleep better and create a virtuous circle of well-being. Biotis® GOS has been shown to stimulate Bifidobacteria as present in the gut-microbiota1-2.

References:1Johnstone N et al, 2019; 2Schmidt K et al, 2015; 3Burokas A et al, 2017; 4Walton et al, 2018; 5Shadid R et al, 2007; 6Codagnone MG et al, 2019 7Schaafsma et al, 2020. Final language determined by customer pending regulatory and legal review. Not validated with consumers. These potential health benefits should not be considered health claims. They should be considered as potential leads that might be developed into health claims complying with the local legal requirements. This information is intended for Business to Business customers only, not for consumers.

The gut-brain axis

The gut microbiota plays an important role in the bi-directional communication between the gut and the brain via the so-called gut-brain axis. The central nervous system impacts gastro-intestinal function and the gut microbiota, but the gut microbiota can also affect the central nervous system through several direct and indirect pathways.

Pathways that underly the communication of the gut microbiota with the brain include:

Immune: Interaction of the gut microbiota with immune cells stimulates the production of cytokines that circulate to the brain.

Neural: Interaction of the gut microbiota with enteroendocrine cells creates neuroactive molecules that interact with the vagus nerve, signalling the brain.

Endocrine: The gut microbiota produces metabolites like neurotransmitters and SCFAs which can circulate to the brain.

By targeting the gut microbiota, you could exert a positive impact on the gut brain-axis and, thus, on mental well-being, reducing stress and anxiety.

Cryan et al 2012

The effect of Biotis® GOS

A clinical research study1 has been published, which showed that:
Taking Biotis® GOS positively affected the gut microbiota, especially with regard to increasing the levels of beneficial Bifidobacterium.

Participants who took Biotis® GOS became less anxious, especially those who previously had high levels of anxiety.

There was also a change in overt behavioural response towards emotional stimuli among the study group2.

1 Johnstone et al 2021; 2 The study group comprised 64 females aged 17–24, taking a four-week course of Biotis® GOS or a placebo (maltodextrin).

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