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Gut bacteria A. muciniphila boosts metabolism and distribution of body fat

The gut microbe Akkermansia muciniphila may hold the key to better metabolic health and healthier fat distribution in the body, suggests a small study.

Picture credit: SPL

A. muciniphila has been linked to healthier glucose metabolism and leanness in mice, but it has not been clear whether this also applies to humans.

For the new study, researchers in France assessed levels of A. muciniphila and other gut bacteria, as well as fasting blood glucose and blood fats, and indicators of body fat distribution such as waist: hip ratio, in 49 obese or overweight adults.

The assessments were made before and after a six-week low-calorie diet with extra protein and fibre. Calorie restriction is known to alter the composition of gut bacteria.

At the start of the dietary intervention, participants with abundant A. muciniphila had a greater diversity of microbes in their gut and a healthier metabolic profile than those with low levels of the microbe.

After calorie restriction, those who had more A. muciniphila also showed stronger improvement in their metabolic profile and body fat distribution.

The researchers suggest that by-products of A. muciniphila may act as energy sources for other beneficial bacteria and have a direct effect on metabolism. They conclude that further research is warranted into its use as a treatment for insulin resistance.

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