For health professionals, impartially curated by OptiBac

BBC News has reported this morning a story about Akkermansia muciniphila, a bacteria found to dramatically alter the health of obese mice. This species (see Probiotics Learning Lab for more glossary terms) of bacteria seemingly has the potential to reverse obesity and Type-2 diabetes. The research, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, demonstrated that a broth containing this A. muciniphila bacteria, modified the health of obese rodents. The bacteria is thought to alter the gut wall lining and to affect the way in which food is absorbed.

The study was conducted in Belgium at the Catholic university of Louvain, where researchers found that although this species of bacteria, A. muciniphila, is thought to normally make up 3-5% of gut bacteria, obese subjects have lower levels of this bacteria. The bacteria was administered to mice who were 2 to 3 times fatter than their lean counterparts. Although the fatter mice remained bigger than the lean mice, they proceeded to lose about half of their extra body weight, having seen no other changes to their diet. The larger mice, after being given this species of bacteria, were also found to have lower levels of insulin resistance; a key symptom of Type-2 diabetes.

weight loss belly
Could gut bacteria be one of the key factors in deciding someone's weight? Research continues to grow in the field.

Professor Patrice Cani said that this was a 'first step' towards one day using bacteria in the prevention and/or treatment of obesity and Type-2 diabetes, and told the BBC that some form of bacteria-based therapy would be used 'in the near future'.

Large studies have in the past confirmed that lean and obese people have very different types, and numbers, of bacteria in the gut. Most of the studies looking at specific strains of bacteria have been conducted in animal models, and we would look forward to seeing human clinical trials in the area of weight loss, obesity, and gut bacteria. However, meanwhile this research remains a very interesting insight into the importance of gut bacteria!

Find out more about the research into gut bacteria and weight over in the Probiotics Learning Lab.



  • Does Optibac contain A. muciniphila? If not where can it be purchased?

  • Probiotic Professionals

    Dear Ken. Unfortunately, we don't use Akkermansia muciniphila and we're not aware of any other widely available supplements that contain this particular species. Thanks for your question!

  • Does your company have any chance to be capable of packaging and delivering this bacterium in a probiotic in the near future? Is it going to be an issue of patent, or does this bacteria strain fall under the clauses of not being able to patent "Nature"? Or are all obstacles related to mass-production and hardiness of the organism?

    Please do not use my contact information in any way other than to reply to my question. Thank you.

  • Probiotic Professionals

    Hello Wolf, thank you for your enquiry.

    I can tell you that in terms of obstacles, the main barriers for us would be in terms of questioning the number of published human clinical trials on the particular strain in question - as we only take on well-researched strains.
    I hope that helps.

    Thank you!

  • I just read the previous questions on Akkermansia muciniphila and I am wondering if the research has progressed since 2013 and if you are aware of any clinical human trials (in the UK).


  • Probiotic Professionals

    Hi Anna,

    Thank you for your question.

    We are aware of a few more studies that have used this species and strain of bacteria including a human clinical trial (see our later blog 'Do Probiotics Help Curb inflammation and Obesity?', though we are not aware of any UK human clinical trials currently recruiting subjects.
    We are still assessing the available evidence and will keep a close eye on this bacteria!

    Best wishes,

    Nutritional Therapist

Write a comment