Can Obesity, Type 2 Diabetes Statistics Decline With Good Gut Bacteria Treatment?

By Hilda Scott , May 13, 2013 07:03 PM EDT

According to a recent published study, there is a species of good gut bacteria that can control metabolic disorders. Results of the study suggest that microbes in the gut help to control obesity and diabetes in mice.

Bacteria called Akkermansia muciniphila makes up 3 to 5 percent of bacteria in the guts of healthy mammals. These bacteria that digest mucus are not as prevalent in the intestines of obese mice and humans.

Patrice Cani led a team of researchers at the Catholic University of Leuven in Belgium to investigate the link between good gut bacteria and the metabolism. The researchers found that mice that were fed a high fat diet had 100 times less A. muciniphila in their guts than mice that consumed normal diets.

Levels of the bacterium were restored when the researchers fed the mice live A. muciniphila, along with foods that encourage the growth of gut bacteria known as prebiotic foods, like bananas. "We found one specific common factor between all the different parameters that we have been investigating over the past ten years," Catholic University of Leuven in Brussels professor Patrice Cani said.

The researchers found that when the normal levels of the good gut bacteria were restored, the levels of endocannabinoids in the intestines were increased. This event triggered molecules to help control blood-glucose levels and maintain the gut's defenses against harmful bacteria.

Based on the results from the study of mice, Cani "strongly believes" that A. muciniphila could be used someday as treatment for disorders of the metablism such as obesity and type 2 diabetes in humans.  "There is so much evidence in the literature that links this bacterium to human conditions," Cani said.

"These results also provide a rationale for the development of a treatment that uses this human mucus colonizer for the prevention or treatment of obesity and its associated metabolic disorders," Cani said.  Results from the study were published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 

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