Bacterial Alterations in Alzheimer’s Disease: A Case of the Missing Akkermansia?

Yesterday, I read a study[i] done on 55 people which showed substantial and distinct alterations of the gut bacteria in people with Alzheimer’s disease versus healthy controls.  More than that: the blood of those affected showed higher levels of bacterial toxins, meaning that their gut lining is inflamed and leaky, these toxins are able to get into the blood stream, cross the blood-brain barrier and cause an inflammatory response in the brain.

In those with Alzheimer’s, Bifidobacterium, Blautia, Dialister, Subdoligranum, and Citrobacter were all more abundant while, Prevotella, Roseburia, Parasutterella, Oxalobacter, and Akkermansia were less abundant when compared to those without the disease.  These gut profiles remained consistent at the 2 and then 4 month check-ups.

 I am not familiar with all these species of bacteria, but have certainly read about several of them.  Akkermansia that one I’ve been reading about a lot lately, in relation to glucose metabolism.  Abnormal glucose metabolism is associated with many negative health effects including obesity, cancer…and Alzheimer’s. In fact, it’s believed that increasing Akkermansia is one of the ways metformin works to improve blood glucose levels and that, conversely, Akkermansia mediates the action of metformin. I’ve written about this medicine before here. [ii]

A 2016 paper on Alzheimer’s and glucose states, “The impaired glucose metabolism in the brain of subject with AD is a widely recognised early feature of the disease…The link between diabetes and neurodegeneration is widely recognized and offer a target for novel therapeutic strategies.”[iii]

By the way, Akkermansia is also very beneficial to the integrity of the intestinal barrier.

I found an article about research going on at California State University into Akkermansia which confirmed that while it’s not yet available commercially, it may be “next hot” probiotic.  In animal studies, not only does it keep mice from gaining weight or suffering health issues from a high fat diet, but, says one of the researchers, “In one recent study, people who had cancer and responded more favorably to biologic treatments, which recruit your immune system to fight the cancer, had a higher abundance of Akkermansia than people who did not respond as well.”[iv]

I’ll be watching this one and will keep you updated, as always.

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[i] https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/903302#vp_1

[ii] Naito, Y, Uchiyama, K, Takagi, T.  A next-generation beneficial microbe:  Akkermansia muciniphila.  Journal of Clinical Biochemistry and Nutrition.  2018;63(1):33-35.

[iii] Calsolaro, V, Edison, P. Alterations in Glucose Metabolism in Alzheimer’s Disease.  Recent Patents on Endocrine, Metabolic & Immune Drug Discovery. 2016;10(1):31-39.

[iv] https://www.newswise.com/articles/is-akkermansia-the-next-hot-probiotic%3F


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