As the world of the gut microbiome and probiotics expands, we are learning more about how different probiotic strains have unique effects on the body. Akkermansia muciniphila, also known as A.mucinophila or Akkermansia, is a strain that targets decreasing specific markers of metabolic syndrome in clinical studies.
Akkermansia muciniphila is a type of bacteria that naturally resides in the large intestine in the human gut. It is mucous-loving, living in the mucin layer of the gut. Unlike many bacterial strains that feed off of food fiber, this strain lives off of the mucin coating in the gut, helping to allow more to form and grow. It plays a significant role in maintaining the health of the gut lining, as well as supporting immune function. However, recent research has also found that this probiotic strain is a key strain that has positive impacts on metabolic syndrome.1
Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of conditions that includes high blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist, and abnormal cholesterol levels. It greatly increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. By targeting this condition, Akkermansia may potentially improve overall health outcomes.
Research has shown that:
- Body Mass Index (BMI) correlates with levels of Akkermansia. This means that individuals with low levels of Akkermansia in their gut microbiome, are more likely to have a higher BMI.
- Healthy levels of Akkermansia support the gut barrier to promote a healthy gut lining.
- Low Akkermansia muciniphila has been associated with obesity, inflammation, diabetes, anxiety, depression, metabolic dysfunction, gut-barrier disruption, osteoporosis, and bowel disease.
- Akkermansia plays a role in regulating hypertension and managing blood pressure, although more research is needed to determine the exact ways in which it does this.2
- With a similar diet, individuals with higher levels of Akkermansia respond better in terms of outcome measures such as fasting blood glucose, triglyceride levels, and body fat distribution.
Testing Your Gut Akkermansia
A simple stool test can be performed to see how much Akkermansia is in your gut microbiome and whether you may benefit from supplementation. While Akkermansia is typically low in cases of Metabolic Syndrome, occasionally, it may be high in some cases of Multiple Sclerosis (MS), and supplementation may be contraindicated. Also, in some cases of gut infection, certain genetics, or lack of dietary fiber intake, supplementation may actually cause damage to the gut epithelium.4
Akkermansia is Pendulum®’s Akkermansia product contains 100 million AFU (Active Fluorescent Units), a measure that is more accurate for quantifying viable (living) organisms than the typical measure of CFUs (colony forming units) for probiotic strains. This amount has been shown to be effective in improving markers of metabolic syndrome. It is important to note that probiotic supplements should be used in conjunction with a healthy diet and exercise routine.
In addition to Akkermansia muciniphila, there are other probiotic strains that interact positively with it to control Metabolic Syndrome, such as Clostridium butyricum, Clostridium bijerinckii, Anaerobutyricum hallii and Bifidobacterium infantis. Studies have shown that the abundance of Akkermansia and the positive effects are affected by the presence of other bacterial strains in the gut.5 Each of these strains has its own unique benefits for gut health and overall well-being.
A benefit of Akkermansia Mucinophilia is that it promotes GLP-1 to support blood sugar management and weight control. One of the challenges is to manufacture a probiotic product containing live Akkermansia Mucinophilia. This strain is anerobic, which means that oxygen can’t get to it or it will not survive. This makes it difficult to grow, process, and provide as a supplement.
Pendulum® is currently the only company that provides Akkermansia Mucinophilia in several formulas designed for varying needs such as moderate glucose control as well as diabetic support. You can get the product here. While most probiotics are effective in live culture, dead, pasteurized Akkermansia may also exert positive effects, although more studies are needed.
Increasing Akkermansia Through Dietary Choices
Until more information is available on supplementation with Akkermansia, it is good to know that certain diets high in polyphenols and prebiotics can support Akkermansia within the gut. Some researchers feel that this is currently a more reasonable option.6,7 Examples of high polyphenol foods include blueberries, pomegranate, olives, spinach, dark chocolate, and green tea.8 High prebiotic foods include things like apples, leeks, asparagus, bananas, flaxseeds, oats, yams, onions, and garlic. Also, grapes and cranberries are high in a class of polyphenols called proanthocyanins, which are also good prebiotic foods. Fish oils may also help support gut levels of akkermansia.
As the world of probiotics keeps refining to support specific individual needs, it’s important to keep learning and make informed decisions about improving your health. Remember to always consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new supplement regimen. With the help of probiotics and healthy lifestyle choices, you can take control of your health and manage metabolic syndrome for a better, happier life.
In summary, taking specific probiotic strains such as Akkermansia muciniphila may be beneficial in decreasing markers of metabolic syndrome. It is important to choose a high-quality supplement and follow recommended dosages for optimal results. Along with supplementation, maintaining a healthy lifestyle through diet and exercise is crucial for managing metabolic syndrome and promoting overall health.
To learn more about testing, consultation, or coaching services, get your free Discovery Call:
1. Zhang T, Li Q, Cheng L, Buch H, Zhang F. Akkermansia muciniphila is a promising probiotic. Microb Biotechnol. 2019;12(6):1109-1125. doi:10.1111/1751-7915.13410
2. Lakshmanan AP, Murugesan S, Al Khodor S, Terranegra A. The potential impact of a probiotic: Akkermansia muciniphila in the regulation of blood pressure—the current facts and evidence. J Transl Med. 2022;20(1). doi:10.1186/s12967-022-03631-0
3. Aron RAC, Abid A, Vesa CM, et al. Recognizing the benefits of pre-/probiotics in metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes mellitus considering the influence of akkermansia muciniphila as a key gut bacterium. Microorganisms. 2021;9(3). doi:10.3390/microorganisms9030618
4. Luo Y, Lan C, Li H, et al. Rational consideration of Akkermansia muciniphila targeting intestinal health: advantages and challenges. NPJ Biofilms Microbiomes. 2022;8(1). doi:10.1038/s41522-022-00338-4
5. Zhou Q, Pang G, Zhang Z, et al. Association between gut akkermansia and metabolic syndrome is dose-dependent and affected by microbial interactions: A cross-sectional study. Diabetes, Metabolic Syndrome and Obesity. 2021;14. doi:10.2147/DMSO.S311388
6. Anhê FF, Pilon G, Roy D, Desjardins Y, Levy E, Marette A. Triggering Akkermansia with dietary polyphenols: A new weapon to combat the metabolic syndrome? Gut Microbes. 2016;7(2). doi:10.1080/19490976.2016.1142036
7. Jian H, Liu Y, Wang X, Dong X, Zou X. Akkermansia muciniphila as a Next-Generation Probiotic in Modulating Human Metabolic Homeostasis and Disease Progression: A Role Mediated by Gut–Liver–Brain Axes? Int J Mol Sci. 2023;24(4). doi:10.3390/ijms24043900
8. Jeong HW, Kim JK, Kim AY, et al. Green Tea Encourages Growth of Akkermansia muciniphila. J Med Food. 2020;23(8). doi:10.1089/jmf.2019.4662
I am a Master’s prepared RN, National Board-Certified Health & Wellness Coach, Board-Certified Functional Wellness Coach, and Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner. I help people fix their chronic inflammation & pain with in-home lab testing, client assessments, personalized natural healing protocols, and online coaching to help them move from pain to peace so that they feel better, move better, and live better.