Akkermansia Muciniphila Review
Akkermansia Muciniphila is a strain of gut bacteria that has recently demonstrated promising results in weight loss studies. Here’s our guide to everything you need to know about Akkermansia muciniphila and weight loss.
What is Akkermansia Muciniphila?
Akkermansia Muciniphila is a strain of gut bacteria that is believed to have anti-inflammatory effects in humans. These anti-inflammatory effects appear to lead to greater weight loss results.
Dozens of major studies have been performed on the gut bacteria so far. Early results are promising. Dozens of more studies are actively underway to determine the surprising mechanisms behind this remarkable new gut bug.
In one study involving 49 overweight and obese adults, it was observed that adults with higher levels of Akkermansia muciniphila had better clinical measures after going on a diet. Over the course of that study, these adults experienced a greater decrease in visceral fat than those who had lower Akkermansia muciniphila levels.
Other studies have indicated that Akkermansia muciniphila could also be used to treat diabetes or reduce diabetes symptoms.
The bacteria is naturally present in our human digestive tract at concentrations of 3 to 5%. However, these concentrations have been shown to drop with obesity.
How Does Akkermansia Muciniphila Work?
Akkermansia muciniphila is thought to work because it has strong anti-inflammatory effects.
When this bacteria is present in your gut, these anti-inflammatory effects basically “soothe” the digestive tract, which leads to health benefits across numerous areas of your body.
For example, some studies have shown inverse relationships between Akkermansia muciniphila colonization and inflammatory conditions like appendicitis or irritable bowel syndrome. In one study, lower levels of Akkermansia muciniphila were observed to lead to a higher risk of appendicitis.
Other studies have linked Akkermansia muciniphila to a reduced risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes.
The Akkermansia muciniphila bacteria is thought to reduce obesity by increasing the thickness of your gut wall. Specifically, the bacteria adds mucin to the gut wall, increasing its thickness and preventing inflammatory compounds from being absorbed by the body.
Akkermansia Muciniphila and Weight Loss
Researchers are perhaps most excited to determine the effect that Akkermansia muciniphila has on weight loss.
In one study, researchers overfed mice so that they contained three times as much fat as a leaner group of mice.
The obese group of mice were then fed the Akkermansia muciniphila bacteria. The obese mice were able to reduce their fat burden by half despite not changing their diet in any way – the only difference was the presence of Akkermansia muciniphila.
In a separate study involving obese mice, researchers fed mice diets that varied in fat composition but were otherwise identical. One group received lard while the other received fish oil.
The results of that study were published in August 2015. Researchers discovered that the group receiving the fish oil diet had increased levels of Akkermansia muciniphila and bacterium of genus Lactobacillus. Meanwhile, the group of mice taking the lard diet had lower levels of Akkermansia muciniphila and Lactobacillus.
Researchers took these results a step further by implanting the digestive bacteria into another group of mice that had been fed antibiotics to wipe out their existing digestive bacteria. All of these mice had been fed a lard-based diet.
Despite the fact that all mice had received the same lard-based diet, the mice who received bacteria from the fish oil-fed donors showed increased levels of Akkermansia muciniphila and reduced levels of inflammation, while the opposite was observed for the group of mice that received transplants from the lard-fed mice.
Researchers ultimately concluded that study by stating that an increase in Akkermansia muciniphila corresponded to a reduction in inflammation, indicating a link between dietary fats, gut flora composition, and inflammation levels.
So Akkermansia muciniphila appears to work in mice. But what about in humans?
Well, in June 2015, researchers published a study on 49 overweight and obese adults and found that those who had higher levels of the Akkermansia muciniphila bug had better clinical measures after going on a diet – including reduced visceral fat.
Akkermansia Muciniphila and Brown Fat
A separate study was published in Cell in December 2015. That study indicated a link between Akkermansia muciniphila, brown fat, and weight loss.
White fat is the pillowy type of fat underneath your skin that stores calories and excess calories. Brown fat, on the other hand, is a healthier kind of fat that generates heat, burns extra calories, and kickstarts weight loss.
Researchers are actively trying to determine how white fat turns to brown fat. In the study published in Cell, researchers found that Akkermansia muciniphila levels change when mice are exposed to cold, and that this can lead to the formation of brown fat. Here
Researchers put a group of mice in a special climate chamber for a month. That climate chamber eventually grew colder and colder. Meanwhile, a separate group of mice were kept at room temperature as a control group.
As the mice got colder, they lost weight. However, this effect was only observed for a few days. After a few days of adjustment, their bodies had adapted. Mice became better adapted at harvesting calories from their food because their intestines and villi in the gut became longer.
In other words, the cold temperatures had created a “supercharged gut, one that got more calories from the same amount of food.”
The composition of gut bacteria in the cold group of mice also changed. Other benefits observed in the cold group of mice included more brown and beige fat, reduced weight, and better insulin sensitivity. These mice even grew longer intestines.
To take these results even further, researchers then transplanted gut bacteria from the cold weather mice into the room temperature mice. The room temperature mice were observed to enjoy the same benefits.
“What was amazing is that the transplanted mice with the cold microbiota that had never been exposed to cold before were completely protected against hypothermia,” senior study author Mirko Trajkovski says. “Microbes alone were sufficient to induce this.”
Researchers eventually pinpointed the bacterial strain that was associated with these health benefits. They found that the benefits were linked to Akkermansia muciniphila.
Akkermansia Muciniphila and Diabetes
Meanwhile, a separate study published in June 2015 indicated a link between Akkermansia muciniphila, insulin sensitivity, and healthier metabolic status in overweight/obese adults, which could potentially pave the way to use Akkermansia muciniphila as a treatment for diabetes.
As mentioned above, the body boosts insulin sensitivity as a survival mechanism in cold climates. Akkermansia muciniphila levels are seen rising in cold climates. This is why researchers excited about the implications of the bacteria on diabetes research.
What Does this Mean for Weight Loss and You?
The ultimate implication of all of these Akkermansia muciniphila studies is that you could start to see Akkermansia muciniphila diet pills or “brown fat in a bottle” sold as nutritional supplements.
Basically, you’re taking gut bacteria and putting it into your own digestive tract to expedite the weight loss process and reduce inflammation.
Nevertheless, researchers have cautioned that more research is needed – especially in human trials – before a link can definitively be determined between Akkermansia muciniphila and weight loss.