From the latest issue of Townsend Letter:
One type of bacteria in the gut that has been shown to impact metabolic balance and cardiovascular health is Akkermansia muciniphila.This gram-negative bacteria feeds on mucin, as well as certain sugars including N-acetylglucosamine, N-acetyl-galac-to-samine, and glucose.17
Although A. muciniphila represents only a small fraction (3 to 5 percent) of the bacteria in the gut, the impact it may have on metabolism is significant. Reduced levels of A. muciniphila have been observed in patients with impaired glucose metabolism and obesity,18,19 while higher levels of the genus Akkermansia have been found in athletes and individuals with a low body mass index (BMI).20
In mice, supplementation with A. muciniphila reduced weight gain and fat mass, and improved glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity.21 In one mouse study, excess weight due to high fat diet (HFD) feeding was reduced by more than half when supplemented with this bacterium. A. muciniphila may have this impact on metabolism by the reduction of chronic low-grade inflammation, as these changes were observed in conjunction with decreased lipopolysaccharide (LPS) signalling and increased anti-inflammatory factors such as α-tocopherol and β-sitosterol.
Administration of A. muciniphila also has been shown to increase the intestinal levels of endocannabinoids, the endogenous cannabinoids produced by the body, which play a role in controlling inflammation, the gut barrier, and gut peptide secretion.22A. muciniphila also was shown to reduce the development of atherosclerosis, improving gut tight junction integrity, and attenuating LPS-induced inflammation.23