After my last blog post about microbiome changes in Alzheimer’s, including a depletion of the bacteria, Akkermansia, I became curious. It is not as yet included in any commercial probiotic so I got to wondering if there were any known ways of boosting levels.
I found an article[i] from just last year, a commentary actually, published in Frontiers in Immunology, that states that certain dietary components will increase Akkermansia. In animal studies, both grape polyphenols (for example, a product like this Grape Seed Capsules) and cranberry extract (a product like this Organic Cranberry Extract) both dramatically boosted Akkermansia, while also reducing body weight and insulin levels. Capsaicin, the chemical that makes hot peppers hot, also did the same. The article states, “Several studies have shown an increase in Akkermansia in diet-induced obesity studies and correlates with the reduction of weight gain, adiposity, and improved glucose tolerance. Administration of live A. muciniphila reversed the symptoms of obesity and metabolic syndrome in HFD [high fat diet] mice by reducing adiposity, inflammatory markers, insulin resistance, and improved gut barrier.” (Capsaicin can be bought encapsulated, in a product like this Cayenne Capsules)
Anyway, further snooping around led me to another great discovery. Helminths also appear to increase levels of the bacteria. Researchers looked at the gut microbiota of volunteers in Sri Lanka, and compared the microbiota of those with and without helminths. Akkermansia was one of the species that was increased in the group who had helminths.[ii]
Then, in one of those coincidences that you know I love…Yesterday morning, I came across an article on Medical News Today about how exercise affects the gut bacteria.[iii] It describes a small study done on 17 woman who were overweight but in good health. For 6 weeks, they were put on a bicycle endurance training program 3X per week. Their gut microbiota was analyzed before and after. Imagine my surprise when I read this: “Overall, at the end of the program, the researchers found a decrease in so-called proteobacteria — that is, gut bacteria that have the potential of causing inflammation — and an increase in beneficial bacteria called Akkermansia, which have links with a better metabolism.”
So, while we all wait for our Akkamansia probiotic to hit the shelves in stores, there are still things we can do now (my favorite thing to write about, as you know)!
[i] Anonye, BO. Commentary: Dietary polyphenols promote growth of the gut bacterium Akkermansia muciniphila and Attenuate High-Fat Diet-Induced Metabolic Syndrome. Frontiers in Immunology. 2017;8(850). doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2017.00850
[ii] Jenkins, TP, et. al. Infections by human gastrointestinal helminths are associated with changes in faecal microbiota diversity and composition. PlosOne. 2017. doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0184719