Look: No one’s gonna blame you if you haven’t heard of akkermansia muciniphila. Truth is, most of us can hardly pronounce it, let alone define it. But pronunciation and definition aside, this gut-dwelling bacterium is about to revolutionize everything you know about natural weight loss, gut health, and wellbeing.
In this article, we’ll explore what exactly A. muciniphila is, what this unique gut bacterium does, how it affects your gut microbiota, and—most importantly—what all of this means for you. Let’s start with the basics.
What is Akkermansia Muciniphila?
Groundbreaking research on the human microbiome—or our cellular “ecosystem”—has begun to explore the roles of the trillions of microorganisms located in our gut; and one bacterium in particular has garnered a lot of attention within the scientific community: Akkermansia muciniphila (or A. muciniphila, for those who like shaving microseconds off their typing speed).
Meet your new best friend: That unfortunate looking thing up there is akkermansia muciniphila, a gut-dwelling microorganism that calls our intestinal lining home. Here’s a quick look at how it thrives in this unique environment:
- Most of us are introduced to akkermansia muciniphila at a young age through breast milk, though different individuals have varying levels of colonization.
- After initial ingestion, a. muciniphila finds it’s way to our intestine and begins to colonize the mucosa, or the thin mucus membrane that lines our intestine.
- The new akkermansia muciniphila colony feeds on the mucin produced by the mucosa and appears to protect the intestine against pathogens through a biological process called “competitive exclusion.”
As a result of it’s mucin-based diet, akkermansia muciniphila doesn’t depend on the host for nutrition.
So even if there were no (or few) nutrients in your gut—a dangerous reality for many people—this unique bacterium could theoretically continue to thrive on the body’s mucin reserves. Because of this cellular “superpower,” akkermansia dominates the mucosa, representing at least 1-3% of the entire microbiota.”
Anti-Inflammation & Weight Loss: The Benefits of A. Muciniphila
But here’s the real question: If you’re allowing a. muciniphila to live in your gut and feast on your mucin reserves, what is it doing for you in return?
The truth is, researchers are still uncovering the answer to this question. But what they have discovered is pretty exciting. So far, research suggests this powerful gut bacterium has two primary benefits: Fighting inflammation and increasing metabolism.
Let’s talk about why both benefits are a big deal for your gut (and whole body) health.
Akkermansia Muciniphila and Anti-Inflammation
Over the last decade, research into the gut microbiota has increased tenfold; and one of the most exciting discoveries from that research is the relationship between akkermansia muciniphila and inflammation.
Specifically, research suggests an inverse relationship. In other words: The higher you’re a. muciniphila count, the lower the chances you’ll suffer from inflammatory conditions.
Without a full understanding of inflammation, that might not seem like such a big deal. But as Dr. David M. Marquis, DC, DACBN discusses in this brilliant Mercola piece, “a wide array of health problems … are all rooted in inflammation, which must be properly addressed if you wish to be healed.”
To truly understand the breadth of this breakthrough discovery, here’s a small sample of conditions that have been linked to inflammation:
- Obesity and diabetes,
- Celiac disease,
- Irritable bowel syndrome,
- Eczema and psoriasis,
- Heart attacks, and even
- Mental conditions such as Alzheimer’s and autism.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. As Philip Hunter states in The Inflammation Theory of Disease, “An increasing body of evidence shows that chronic inflammation causes and advances many common diseases.”
(New to the idea of gut health and its link to disease? You are going to want to check this out.)
But, again, this begs the question: What does that mean for all of you? That’s where things get exciting. But first, a review. Here’s what we know so far:
- Inflammation has been linked to a growing list of health conditions, and
- Akkermansia muciniphila has been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects.
Although further research is still needed, it isn’t a stretch to theorize the anti-inflammatory effects of a. muciniphila treating or even entirely eliminating inflammation-related health conditions.
Increased levels of this anti-inflammatory gut bacterium alone may not be the answer for every case of inflammation, but emerging research suggests it may, at the very least, offer some respite to those who suffer from chronic inflammatory conditions.
Unfortunately, Akkermansia doesn’t come in pill form just yet, the only way to really raise the levels of Akkermansia in the gut is to supplement with prebiotics that allows for the growth of Akkermansia specifically. There aren’t many out there. But, if you are ready to get this show on the road and take the steps to get your gut health in check, please set up a 1-on-1 clarity call with us ASAP!!
Akkermansia Muciniphila and Increased Metabolism
As discussed above, obesity is often closely correlated to inflammation. Because of this, early research suggests the anti-inflammatory effects of A. muciniphila may be able to combat obesity:
In a 2015 study, a group of mice were overfed until their bodies had three times the fat of their leaner, healthier cousins. Then—and this is where it gets interesting—those same obese mice were given akkermansia muciniphila.
The result? Through the introduction of a. muciniphila alone—without any change to diet or lifestyle—the fat burdens of the obese mice were reduced by 50%.
The results of this study were so conclusive that BMJ Journals’ Gut states, “Higher A. muciniphila abundance is associated with a healthier metabolic status in overweight/obese humans.” In other words: The more akkermansia muciniphila is present in your gut, the easier it is for your body to lose weight.
But how does this actually work? Well, scientists haven’t quite agreed on a single answer yet. But a prevailing theory proposes the following:
- The more akkermansia muciniphila present in the gut, the thicker the gut wall.
- The thicker the gut wall, the fewer excess foods and fats can be absorbed and stored in the body.
- With nowhere else to go, these unabsorbed foods and fats are passed from the body through regular bowel movements.
The inverse is also true: Those with lower levels of a. muciniphila have a thinner gut wall. This thinner gut wall makes it easier for excess foods and fats to be absorbed and stored, often leading to consistent weight gain.
Increasing Akkermansia Muciniphila Colonization in Your Gut
Alright, let’s review: We’ve discussed what akkermansia muciniphila is, what it does, and how it affects inflammation and metabolism. And although further research into A. muciniphila’s role in the human gut microbiota is still needed, signs currently point toward some pretty exciting possibilities.
But what if you’re one of the millions of individuals with sub-optimal levels of akkermansia muciniphila? Is there anything you can do to increase colonization of this anti-inflammatory, metabolism-boosting gut bacterium?
The short answer’s yes: Through diet and supplementation, you can supercharge your A. muciniphila levels and begin experiencing the benefits above.
It is seriously a bummer that this little powerhouse does not come in pill form! But, you can boost your pre-existing Akkermansia stores through utilizing prebiotics in your diet and supplementation! There are not many prebiotics that targets Akkermansia growth out there yet.
But, if you are ready to get this show on the road and take the steps to get your gut health in check, please set up a 1-on-1 clarity call with me ASAP!!
Until then, love your guts, love others, and do good.