Akkermansia muciniphila is a bacterium residing in the gut of most people. It has an extraordinary ability to influence the amount of belly fat and if if a person will gain or lose weight. Could Akkermansia really help us lose weight?
How bacteria control weight
Let’s imagine that you’re trying to lose weight but without success. You have tried several promising diets, but alas! nothing seems to work, you still can’t lose weight. Feeling frustrated, you are ready to give up.
But then you’re offered something weird—a specific strain of bacteria called A. muciniphila. They even call it the “weight loss bacteria!” Well, you have nothing to lose anyway, so you accept the offer and start consuming the bacteria daily.
And now things start to move! Akkermansia enters the digestive tract causing the gut environment to change. Signals of this rapid change are sent to the brain via the vagus nerve and through communication with other bacteria throughout the body. This triggers a remarkable chain reaction: the body gradually rids itself of excess weight, lowers inflammation, and strengthens the immune system. After a few months, your have reached your ideal weight and feel more fit than ever. And all of this just because of a microscopic bacterium.
“Is this really be possible?” you might ask. According to science, such a scenario might become a reality.
- Bacteria controlling body weight do exist!
In a paper dated May 13, 2013, researchers at the University of Louvain, Belgium concluded that the probiotic bacteria Akkermansia muciniphila has the ability to promote weight loss in humans.
How Akkermansia controls obesity
In healthy individuals, this particular species, Akkermansia muciniphila, make up 3-5% among hundreds of other gut bacteria. Almost all humans have it—from infants to elderly ones. However, in obese people, the level of A. muciniphila drops sharply.
This raises the intriguing question: How would an obese body react if we were to add the A. muciniphila to his or her diet? Could one single bacteria strain promote significant weight loss? The answer seems to be yes.
A. muciniphila is a bacterium with unique properties. It helps repair a disturbed metabolism which is associated with obesity. It also lowers inflammation.
Can we expect to see probiotic supplements designed for weight loss, to treat inflammation and diabetes? Possible. Are there any akkermansia muciniphila supplements available now? Not that I know about. Sorry!
However, you can do something almost equally effective to promote the growth of your existing gut colony of Akkermansia. What?
Support your colony of A. muciniphila
The researchers in Belgium concluded that adding prebiotic fiber, such as oligofructose to the diet, can help recover a failing gut colony of Akkermansia muciniphila. It is as simple as that!
- Feed the colony of gut bacteria
How can this be done?
An easy way is by consuming prebiotics, or dietary fiber. Fiber feed bacteria and promote the growth of Akkermansia.
Psyllium seed husk is nearly 100% dietary fiber and gut bacteria love it! Psyllium husk is commonly used to relieve constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, but also weight loss. It is a simple, cost-effective way to promote the growth of Akkermansia muciniphila.
Prebiotic fiber in raw foods
Many foods naturally contain dietary fiber. Choose organic products as these will not be contaminated or be genetically modified. Those things can disturb gut bacteria.
Consuming around 30 grams of fiber per day is recommended for most people. However, many don’t consume even half of that.
Foods containing fiber:
- Raw Chicory root (64%)
- Dandelion greens (24%)
- Wheat bran (5%)
- Asparagus (5%)
- Garlic (17%)
- Banana (1%)
- Onion (8%)
- Leek (12%)
- Also found in oatmeal, red wine, honey, maple syrup, legumes and other foods.
The above-mentioned researchers stated: “These results provide a rationale for the development of a treatment that uses this human mucus colonizer for the prevention or treatment of obesity and its associated metabolic disorders.”
It turns out that A. muciniphila is rather talkative. It talks to other bacteria residing in the body stimulating a number of body processes.
- Make sure A. muciniphila keeps talking!
Feed the gut colony of Akkermansia muciniphila and they will in exchange promote metabolism, lower inflammation, control weight.
Some have no Akkermansia
A few people might not be colonized by Akkermansia, or they have very low levels. The reason for this is unknown, as is the effect this have on the body. If Akkermansia is absent in the gut, then it will probably not appear because of consuming fiber. However, if there are just a little Akkermansia present, they can be stimulated. Studies show how gut bacteria quickly respond to stimulus as diet changes.
What may stimulate the growth of A. muciniphila?
- Add a high-quality probiotic supplement.
- Lower intake of sugar, carbs, processed food
- Increase consumption of healthy fats, fresh vegetables.
- Mango seems to promote the growth of gut bacteria.
- Cranberry extract may alleviate intestinal inflammation and increase Akkermansia population.
- Consuming fermented vegetables, yoghurt, kefir, or natto.
- Fish oil (or krill oil) increases the abundance of Akkermansia muciniphila in test animals, which indicates a connection.