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What is Akkermansia Muciniphila and Should You Be Taking It?

Gut health and probiotics are a hot topic. But the newest probiotic that you need to know about is Akkermansia muciniphils. This probiotic is touted to benefit everything from your gut to your blood sugar. So let’s take a closer look at what it is and if you should be taking it.

Disclaimer:  This post contains affiliate links.  As an affiliate, I earn a commission on qualifying purchases.

A woman forming a heart with her hand on her stomach

What are probiotics?

While it may sound strange to some, we have billions of bacterial cells of thousands of different species living inside of our digestive tract. 

The good thing is, most of the time these gut bugs are doing us a favor and provide us with many benefits to our health. They also receive nutrients from the food we eat, so this is a beneficial relationship for both parties.

These beneficial gut bacteria are called probiotics. Each person’s individual gut microbiome, or composition of gut bacteria, is as unique as a fingerprint. 

Imbalances, or dysbiosis, in the gut microbiome can lead to digestive issues along with many other health problems. This is one reason why people have opted to take probiotic supplements. 

The various probiotic species play different roles in our bodies and have specific health benefits depending on the strain. So what is the deal with Akkermansia muciniphila?

About Akkermansia muciniphila

Akkermansia muciniphila is a type of commensal bacteria that is found in the digestive tract of humans and many other animals. We can find this strain of bacteria within breast milk, so we typically gain this bacteria just after we are born.

This strain of bacteria is special because it lives inside the mucus lining the gastrointestinal tract and uses that mucus for nutrients instead of only relying on the food we eat. Most other bacteria completely rely on our food sources to be fed, but Akkermansia can sustain on the mucus our gut produces alone.

Research has shown that Akkermansia has been associated with better health in humans. In fact, healthy people can have Akkermansia be as much as 4% of their total gut microbiome composition. And just the opposite, Akkermansia levels are actually reduced in people with obesity, diabetes, and other health conditions.

The reasons for this can be best understood when you take a look at the potential health benefits of Akkermansia.

Potential health benefits

A microscopic view of the probiotics

Enhanced gut health 

One of the biggest benefits of Akkermansia’s ability to sustain itself on our gut mucus is that this action stimulates more mucus production. More mucus strengthens the gut barrier, which ultimately strengthens the immune system. And a stronger gut barrier also means a lower likelihood of gut infection and irritable bowel disease. 

Akkermansia also feeds on prebiotics. This means that if you have a compromised gut barrier with a thin mucus layer, consuming prebiotic-rich foods can help restore Akkermansia levels and improve the gut barrier and reduce inflammation.

When Akkermansia metabolizes mucus, it produces short chain fatty acids (SCFAs) which provide us with many benefits. One of these SCFAs is called acetate, which is then metabolized by other bacterial strains to produce butyrate, which provides energy to the cells lining the gut. 

Decreased risk of weight gain and obesity

Another huge benefit of Akkermansia’s acetate production is that this SCFA can help reduce your appetite, thus helping to decrease the likelihood of overconsuming food and the resultant weight gain.

Also, since one hallmark of obesity is a compromised gut barrier, Akkermansia’s ability to strengthen the gut lining can help stave off the progression of obesity. 

Further, since being overweight typically leads to negative metabolic outcomes such as high levels of insulin resistance, this also means that Akkermansia may be able to help prevent the development of diabetes.

Decreased risk of diabetes 

Overall, higher Akkermansia levels are directly related to better metabolic status, including a smaller waist-to-hip ratio and insulin sensitivity which decreases the risk of developing diabetes.

The acetate produced by Akkermansia may be the reason for this, as higher levels of acetate are also associated with better insulin sensitivity. Type 2 diabetes is marked by insulin resistance, or the diminished ability to uptake blood sugar into cells for energy. Improving insulin sensitivity means less insulin resistance, which leads to better blood sugar control.

And here’s some more good news for people with diabetes who take metformin… There is evidence that this diabetes medication functions by modulating gut bacteria activity and can actually lead to higher Akkermansia levels. One reason for this is that taking metformin can result in increased numbers of goblet cells – the cells that create the mucus that Akkermansia thrives in. 

Who would benefit from taking this probiotic?

Probiotic pills stacked together

With all of the potential benefits, Akkermansia may be a beneficial probiotic to supplement for general health. 

Those with compromised gut barriers would benefit from Akkermansia because of all of its promising impact on gut health. 

People who are overweight can take Akkermansia to improve their gut health and to increase acetate production to help with appetite control. 

And people with diabetes may experience better blood glucose control and insulin sensitivity due to increased Akkermansia levels.

How to increase Akkermansia levels with your diet

Because diet and the microbiome are so delicately intertwined, you can also opt to improve your Akkermansia levels by simply modifying your diet.

Since Akkermansia can also feed on prebiotics, ensuring that you are consuming a variety of prebiotic foods in your diet may help enhance Akkermansia levels in your digestive tract. Some prebiotic-rich foods to feed your good gut bugs include garlic, onions, oatmeal, berries, legumes, bananas, asparagus, and more.

There is also some evidence that certain polyphenols from plant foods can help to increase the abundance of Akkermansia within your microbiome. Polyphenols derived from cranberries and concord grapes have been shown to increase the abundance of this bacterium while also leading to improved inflammation, body weight, and insulin resistance.

A couple things to reduce (or avoid) in your diet that serve to decrease Akkermansia abundance include alcohol and an eating pattern that is high in fat

Where to buy Akkermansia

If you want to ensure you are taking in adequate Akkermansia daily, then taking a probiotic supplement with this strain is the best way to do it. And Pendulum Akkermansia is the only brand available that includes a novel, patented strain not unavailable anywhere else. The enteric coacted capsule is also acid-resistant, so it won’t break down in your stomach and will get to the small and large intestines so it can get to where it needs to be to do its job. This is the probiotic I recommend and take myself. You can click here to learn more and to purchase for delivery right to your door.

The bottom line

A woman with animated gut on her stomach

Akkermansia muciniphila is a type of commensal bacteria that lives within the human digestive tract.

This probiotic has been tied to a handful of health benefits, including improved digestive health, weight management, and blood sugar control.

People who are overweight or have diabetes have lower levels of this beneficial bacteria, and may benefit the most from supplementation, such as using  Pendulum Akkermansia.

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