Fitbiomics co-founder on probiotics for sleep, new Veillonella data, and more platforms

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Probiotics FitBiomics microbiome Sports nutrition Gut health Sleep women's health

After strong early success for Nella for digestion, sleep, and energy, and the impending widescale roll-out of Veillonella for fatigue and endurance, Fitbiomics is building new product and benefit platforms for its unique probiotics.

Speaking with NutraIngredients-USA at SupplySide West 2023, Carolina Barsa, Fitbiomics Chief Innovation & Growth Officer, said that the company is building out platforms around other paradigms and other areas, such as strength, recovery, gut-brain axis (mood), and women’s health.

Regular readers of NutraIngredients-USA will know that Fitbiomics has been exploring the potential of athlete-derived probiotics for several years since spinning out from Harvard’s Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering.

The company’s first product, Nella, was launched in 2021​ and is formulated with 3 proprietary strains isolated from elite athletes: Lactiplantibacillus platarum​ FB00015, Lacticaseibacillus rhamnosus​ FB00047, and Lactobacillus acidophilus​ FB00012.

Data from an open label study of Fitbiomics’ Nella product revealed that consumers were reporting big benefits for sleep, energy, recovery, and stress factors, in addition to the digestive health benefits, said Barsa.

“We followed this up with a clinical trial, which we completed and published on World Microbiome Day,” she said. “What we found was that there was a 69% improvement in sleep quality, which is substantial. We also saw improvements in digestion and energy, a 37% improvement in bowel movements and a 31% improvement in energy. These are obviously really exciting for us.”

The women’s health angle

Barsa also noted that women have a 40% increased incidence of experiencing insomnia than men, and studies have shown that women do need more sleep than men. Coupled with the high prevalence of digestive issues for women, and this makes the Nella opportunity very interesting from a women’s health perspective.

“We’re getting amazing feedback from people who have had IBS symptoms and sleep disturbances, and they’re really seeing these benefits come to light with the usage of Nella.”


The company has also been continuing to work towards full commercialization of its next-generation probiotic Veillonella​, a strain that hit the headlines in 2019 with the publication of paper in Nature Medicine​.

“We’re all about building a platform based on studying the microbiome of the healthiest people in the world, be it elite athletes which we did in the discovery about Veillonella,” ​ said Barsa.

“Veillonella ​is essentially a microbe that converts lactic acid into short chain fatty acid, so taking a byproduct of fatigue and converting it into something that provides energy for your body’s cells. We’re looking to bring that to market next year.”

“We have a small-scale clinical study that will be published in the coming months, and then we’ve just completed another decentralized clinical study with 200 participants. We’ve completed the analysis of that data: very, very promising.”

Watch the video for the full interview.

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