The link between good gut health and good overall health has been demonstrated by numerous scientific studies.
Many people now incorporate a daily probiotic supplement into their routines in the hopes that it will improve their gut microbiome.
Now new research has identified a particular strain of bacteria found in supplements that could help individuals who are at risk of diabetes and heart disease.
Published in the journal of Nature Medicine the double blind, placebo-controlled pilot study featured 40 overweight/obese insulin-resistant volunteers – 32 of which completed the study.
They were given pasteurised oral supplements of the bacteria Akkermansia muciniphila supplement for a three-month period.
Overall the researchers from the Louvain Drug Research Institute of the University of Louvain, and the Cliniques universitaires Saint-Luc, found that, when compared to the placebo, Akkermansia muciniphila helped to do the following:
- Improve insulin sensitivity
- Decrease insulinemia (the presence of an abnormally high concentration of insulin in the blood)
- Slightly decrease body weight
- Reduce hip circumference
- Decrease fat mass
- Reduce the levels of the relevant blood markers for liver dysfunction
- Reduce inflammation
Concluding the study surmised, ‘this proof-of-concept study (clinical trial no. NCT02637115) shows that the intervention was safe and well tolerated and that supplementation with A. muciniphila improves several metabolic parameters'.
Commenting on the study findings, the study authors said, “This study provides a promising start for the development of future clinical interventions with appropriate design to confirm and extend our findings, which show the safety and impact of oral supplementation with A. muciniphilain overweight or obese insulin-resistant individuals.”
The researchers are now planning a larger-scale study, potentially within the next two years, with the ultimate aim to market pasteurised Akkermansia muciniphila as a food supplement – the classification for probiotics.
In a study published last year in the Journal of Clinical biochemistry and Nutrition researchers argued that Akkermansia muciniphila was a ‘next-generation beneficial microbe’.
It also recognised that in humans with high body weight, body mass index (BMI), blood cholesterol level, and fasting blood glucose level, ‘the abundance of Akkermansia in the gut is lower than that in the gut of healthy humans’.