Akkermansia muciniphila is a Gram-negative, non-motile, non-spore-forming anaerobic bacterium belonging to the phylum Verrucomicrobia. It was first isolated from the feces of a healthy individual in 2004. Akkermansia muciniphila relies for its growth in the presence of mucus as a source of carbon, nitrogen, and energy. It makes up 1% to 3% of the total gut microbiome and is found in more than 90% of healthy adults but declines in the elderly.
The ability of Akkermansia muciniphila to degrade and use mucus as a unique source of carbon and nitrogen makes it particularly important for the human gastrointestinal system, giving the opportunity for other bacteria to survive and grow using the metabolites resulting from mucus degradation.
Akkermansia muciniphila has been found to play an important role in host health by modulating the immune system, improving intestinal barrier function, and improving metabolism in the case of obesity and diabetes. In addition, a correlation was found between a higher concentration of Akkermansia muciniphila and a lower incidence of obesity. Its concentration has been found to decrease in various types of diseases such as cancer, type 2 diabetes, inflammatory diseases, and liver diseases. Many studies aimed at treating metabolic diseases have focused on monitoring A. muciniphila levels to assess treatment success.
It has been found both in experimental animal models and in clinical trials in humans that Akkermansia muciniphila is in reduced concentrations in the intestine in the following pathological conditions:
- Type 2 diabetes
- Binge eating disorder
- Inflammatory bowel diseases
- Ulcerative colitis
- Alcoholic liver disease
- Non-small cell lung cancer
- Autistic spectrum disorders
- Allergic asthma
It has also been found in very high concentrations in certain gastrointestinal (colon, stomach) cancers, in Clostridia infections, and in atopic dermatitis with concomitant food allergies.
Due to its beneficial effects on the human body, recent studies have promoted its use as a probiotic. To date, there are three valid published studies that have reported the safety and beneficial role of A. muciniphila as a probiotic in obese humans, and clinical trials are ongoing to evaluate the effects of A. muciniphila use in obese patients with type 2 diabetes and in hyperglycemic patients. Akkermansia muciniphila is considered a new-generation probiotic.
What foods increase the levels of Akkermansia muciniphila?
In general, fiber and polyphenols. Polyphenols are poorly absorbed from the small intestine and up to 90% of phenols reach the large intestine. Suitable polyphenols are included in green tea, wine and grape juice, cranberry extract as well as pomegranate. Increased consumption of fruits, beans, whole grains, and plant foods containing inulin and oligofructose can improve levels of Akkermansia muciniphila.
The quantitative determination of Akkermansia muciniphila together with the rest of the findings of EnteroScan® enables us to determine the appropriate nutritional program of Microbiome Nutrition and Microbiome Therapy which aims to improve the composition and functions of the intestinal microbiome. Through the process of balancing the intestinal microbiome, we can achieve optimal levels of physical and mental health in the human body.