Akkermansia muciniphila comprises 1-3% of the bacteria in the gut and is considered a keystone strain. It’s the only strain of the Akkermansia known to play a role in the human gut. And, it’s much more likely to be present in healthy guts (and deficient in unhealthy guts).
Read on to learn why…
Akkermansia muciniphila Benefits
As the name “muciniphila” suggests, it’s a bacteria that “likes” mucus.
It naturally eats up old mucus, producing valuable byproducts our body uses, and sets the stage for the gut to add new, fresh mucus. Studies reveal that even though it uses mucin as a fuel for itself, Akkermansia levels are associated with increased mucus thickness and barrier integrity (1).
This homeostasis of a healthy gut mucosa is a keystone part of overall GI function – mainly since good bacteria use mucus as their home.
A. muciniphila functions like a housekeeper and landscaper – keeping the house clean and bushes trimmed so that it’s a healthy environment for itself along with its trillions of friends living in the gut.
It also has “chef-like” roles in making metabolites that our body uses in beautiful synergy – that help feed other bacteria, and simultaneously fuel the build-up and maintenance of the mucus layer.
It also helps to let the “bad guys” know this isn’t a neighborhood for them either. A well-maintained home and lawn are less likely to attract unwanted bugs, weeds, and critters.
Due to limited diet diversity, and dropping microbiome diversity – A. muciniphila is often deficient in those with inflammation and immune imbalances.
Two metabolites include short-chain fatty acids such as propionate and acetate, that support the health of other beneficial bacteria – leading to increases in butyrate.
Animal study shows that specialized cells responsible for mucus production are increased with A. muciniphila supplementation (2).
As such, Akkermansia may help to maintain gut barrier function, immune balance, inflammation, metabolism, brain health, and more (3; 4; 5).
Due to its benefits for blood sugar regulation, and specifically GLP-1 production, it may help work alongside other probiotics to reduce blood sugar spikes by 33% in type 2 diabetics in response to a high-sugar meal (6).
Akkermansia Muciniphila Testing
How do you know if you’re deficient in Akkermansia?
You can test A. muciniphila with a gut microbiome sequencing test like BiomeFx. I use BiomeFx because it uses whole genome sequencing to identify the relative presence/non-presence of strains. Gut sequencing tests that use older technology are prone to inaccuracies.
Causes of A. muciniphila deficiency may include inflammatory diets, high alcohol consumption, low diet diversity, antibiotic treatment, and disordered blood sugar.
Because the thickness of the mucosal layer of the gut is protective against leaky gut – high endotoxins, high food allergies, sensitivities, and inflammation can be secondary signs of a need for Akkermansia support.
Healing of the gut mucosal is a critical stage of any gut healing protocol – and A. muciniphila can be used proactively outside of testing to support mucus production and gut barrier function.
You can now supplement with the strain and its modulating benefits directly using Pendulum Akkermansia, and you can support it indirectly by adding targeted prebiotics.
Prebiotics in the diet such as the fructooligosaccharides found in MegaPre, and in anti-inflammatory polyphenols found in berries, grapes, and cranberry, like those found in Cran-Max, are known to preferentially support and maintain A. muciniphila levels.
Supplementation with such prebiotics has been shown to increase Akkermansia levels by 200-8000% over 5-16 week studies (in addition to helping other keystone bacteria like Bifidobacteria) (7; 8; 9; 10; 11; 12).
Maintaining and optimizing A. muciniphila levels in the gut is a science-backed strategy that has a direct and global impact on the health of the gastrointestinal tract.