WEDNESDAY, June 24, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- The gut microbe Akkermansia muciniphila is associated with healthier metabolic status, according to research published online June 22 in Gut.
Karine Clément, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Institute of Cardiometabolism and Nutrition at Pitie-Salpetriere Hospital in Paris, and colleagues looked at the amount of A. muciniphila and other bacteria living in the guts of 49 obese or overweight people. The majority of participants -- 41 -- were women. The researchers measured levels of fasting glucose and triglycerides as well as body fat distribution. Researchers measured these factors before and after participants started a six-week, low-calorie diet that included extra protein and fiber.
At the start of the diet, people with a lot of A. muciniphila in their gut had lower plasma glucose, waist-to-hip ratios, and subcutaneous adipocyte diameter. After six weeks of calorie restriction, those who started with the most A. muciniphila had the biggest improvement in their blood glucose levels, insulin sensitivity markers, and body fat distribution, compared with those with the lower levels of the bacteria.
The researchers noted that they measured bacteria levels from stool samples, so it isn't clear if these levels are the same in the gut as they are in the feces. They also said it's not clear if changes in bacteria levels would last after calorie restriction. "This bacteria is a potential target for new therapies in the field of metabolic disease," Clément told HealthDay. "However, first the molecules produced by this bacteria have to be identified to explain this improvement."