Everyone wants to lose weight for summer – it’s a thing! But did you know that there is a strain of bacteria which quite literally, can help you lose weight? Have you ever heard of Akkermansia muciniphilia? Didn’t think so. After reading this you’ll know all about it and why it’s the trendiest topic in the scientific weight loss community. Akkermansia is a probiotic bacterium which lives inside most of us. It has the happy ability to control how much belly fat we have. If you’ve tried to lose weight without success and feel a bit frustrated, you might want to eat your way into encouraging more of this strain of gut bacteria to help you lose unwanted weight.
Akkermansia is said to improve metabolic rate, lower inflammation and strengthen immunity. A paper from back in 2013 by researchers at the University of Louvain, Belgium, concluded that this strain of bacteria has the ability to actively promote weight loss in humans. In healthy humans this bacterium makes up 3-5% of your gut bacteria, yet for some reason, in obese people this percentage is considerably lower. Akkermansia not only repairs a dysfunctional metabolic rate, it seems to have a positive impact on inflammation and diabetes as well. It just goes to prove once again the amazing part our gut flora play in keeping us healthy in every single way.
How to increase Akkermansia levels
Before you get excited and want to rush out and buy a boat-load of Akkermansia you need to know that there is no actual supplement you can take which will give you this strain, as it is still in the process of being studied and tested which takes years. However, you can encourage growth of your own colony of this bacterium (even if you only have a teensy bit) good news indeed. Belgian researchers discovered that oligofructose (not fructose!) will improve the percentage of Akkermansia. You will find oligofructose in our online store under the name of MaxiFOS. Another way to promote this bacterial species is by taking Psyllium Husks as this particular strain absolutely adores fibre and prebiotics. (So much for the naysayers who slate fibre intake – such a necessary item in our diet).
Prebiotic foods, dietary fibre, psyllium husks and oligofructose as found in MaxiFOS (which is a prebiotic) are the ideal food sources for Akkermansia which will promote its growth, as well as many other very beneficial strains of bacteria. This strain relieves constipation, IBS, diarrhoea, control diabetes and encourage weight loss. What’s not to like? They are all also very cost effective and easy to take, as they are either tasty (as in foods) or tasteless (as in psyllium husks) or downright delicious as in the case of MaxiFOS.
You need a variety of foods daily for oligofructose to have an effect on the flora. While 32g per day of dietary fibre is recommended, diabetics are encouraged to have up to 50g a day for good health. Most people don’t even get 9g! Remember, you aren’t only eating for one here – you have colonies of hungry bacteria to feed – lots more mouths than you previously thought. Certain foods are rich in dietary fibre which encourage a healthy microbiome:
- Dandelion greens
- Garlic, Onions and Leeks
Akkermansia is quite a chatty little fellow, it ‘talks’ a lot to the other bacteria, to stimulate a number of physiological processes, so by ‘feeding’ it correctly, you keep it talking. Imagine an organism living in you which can:
- Control weight
- Improve glucose control
- Lower inflammation
- Increase metabolism and
- Deal with harmful microorganisms
In very rare cases there are people with absolutely no Akkermansia – but don’t panic, it’s likely that you have some. Even the smallest amount can be stimulated to grow according to researchers, and apparently they respond really quickly. Ways you can encourage Akkermansia to reproduce include:
- Lowering your intake of carbohydrates
- Eliminating sugar and sugary foods
- Eliminating processed foods from your diet (Akkermansia hate them)
- Increasing consumption of healthy fats
- Increasing consumption of fresh vegetables (both cooked and raw)
- Consuming fermented vegetables (sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir) – but without any sugar
- Taking a daily high-quality probiotic
- Cranberry extract alleviates intestinal inflammation and has been shown to increase the population of Akkermansia.
- Fish oil is also a healthy way to increase abundant Akkermansia according to studies
There is even better news. Did you know you can start to change your gut microbiome in just one day? The average lifespan of the average bacterium is very short – just 20 minutes! So every time you eat, you could be encouraging and increasing your Akkermansia – one meal at a time! Imagine – in one day you can begin to change your entire microbiome! Of course sleep, stress, environment, exercise and other lifestyle modifications all determine the state of your microbiome too, but the greatest factor of all is your diet.
How to Fast Track Your Diet to Increase Akkermansia
What goes into your mouth can encourage that gorgeous colony of Akkermansia – so here’s how to do that:
- Choose the right food – numero uno!! Whole, fresh, natural – nothing processed, nothing out of a bottle or bag or tin if you can help it. This includes sugar. Food as it appears in nature (your secret Akkermansia weapon)
- Exclude all sugar and carbohydrates from grains. Get your carbs from non-starchy vegetables, especially leafy greens, radishes, Jerusalem artichokes, leeks, asparagus, garlic and turmeric. The body ‘sees’ grains as sugar
- Eat fat and protein at every meal.
- Include fermented foods in your diet, they’re rich in probiotics
- Ditch the dairy for a while, except for real farm butter (dairy is defined as anything out of a cow or goat) not including eggs, as they are not out of a cow/goat
- Toss out the nasty ‘foods’ like soy, corn, peanuts, seed oils, artificial sweeteners, gluten and grains.
- Avoid alcohol and coffee – at least for a while – Akkermansia is fussy that way. Add your coffee back in later, but ensure it’s organic or you defeat the object
- Akkermansia loves fatty seafood like salmon, sardines, mackerel and clams
- Take a good, high-quality probiotic not only for Akkermansia growth but for the health of your urogenital tract, respiratory tract and entire ecosystem.
- Consider taking Glutamine – an excellent way to rebuild and maintain digestive health and support digestion – a good friend to Akkermansia
- Support your stomach acid if you have too little – either HCL, lemon water or a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in water before each meal to see if your symptoms improve (do NOT ever try to ‘go alkaline’)
- Exercise, but take care not to overdo it.
- Get enough sleep. Sleep has the power to change gut flora. Just two nights of sleep deprivation can lead to a dramatic drop-off in healthy bacteria – including Akkermansia.
- Relax and de-stress! Your gut is known as your ‘second brain’ and can take on the stress of everyday life very quickly – throwing your microbiome out of balance, which may make you feel depressed, anxious or tired, create memory problems or brain fog.
- Getting your microbiome back into balance will almost certainly help you lose weight – no more pounding the tar daily in an effort to shed a few kilos. (And by the way, exercise tones the body, it doesn’t lead to weight loss.)
Fibre is a vital key to promoting weight loss, but it has to be the right fibre, not brans or cereals. Fibre is critical to good health because it is food for your intestinal flora. When you deprive yourself of fibre on a regular basis (think of people who live constantly on refined food) your gut microbes behave erratically. They can ‘turn’ on you and start to eat the mucus lining of your intestine as it’s also a carbohydrate source. If they are starved of fibre, they have no choice. Fibre is a carbohydrate which the beneficial flora eat – it does not count as a carbohydrate in our diets and is not digested. It’s food for your healthy bacteria and Akkermansia.
Akkermansia Growth Programme
If you want to use supplements to help you increase Ak, the ones you’ll need (and find in the online store) include: