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What is Akkermansia muciniphila?

Akkermansia, Akkermansia muciniphila, Beneficial Bacteria, Gut microbiome, Pendulum Akkermansia, Polyphenol-rich foods, Prebiotic fiber, Probiotic, Type 2 Diabetes

All your questions answered about this gut-microbiome-friendly probiotic

What is Akkermansia Muciniphila? -- All Your Questions Answeredby Dan Trecroci

“We are at the beginning of a Gut-Microbiome Renaissance.”

That is how Kristin Neusel, MS, RD, LD, CDCES, described the current state of health and wellness during her “Microbiome Nutrition 101” webinar.

Pendulum Therapeuticsa San Francisco-based biotech company—is at the heart of the “Gut-Microbiome Renaissance” with its medical probiotic Pendulum Glucose Control

Within each “gut-friendly” Pendulum Glucose Control capsule are 5 targeted, beneficial probiotic strains—and one prebiotic (food to fuel the 5 probiotics). One of those 5 targeted probiotic strains is causing great excitement in the health-and-wellness community.

That strain is Akkermansia muciniphila.

In addition to being available in Pendulum Glucose Control, Akkermansia muciniphila (“Akkermansia”) is also now available to purchase in Pendulum Akkermansia.

In this article, you will learn:

  • What Akkermansia is
  • How Akkermansia supports your health
  • How you can increase Akkermansia levels in your gut
  • Why Akkermansia is hard to find
  • Why Akkermansia costs more than other probiotics
  • The safety of Akkermansia
  • Where you can find and buy Akkermansia
 
What is Akkermansia?

Hippocrates very famously stated that “all disease begins in the gut.”

2,400 years later— and through the gut microbiome—we are finally discovering what Hippocrates meant.

The gut microbiome did not even show up on anybody’s radar until the 1990s, and only recently has there been any effort to enlighten the masses on the gut microbiome’s role in good health.

In 2004—the same year that Smartphones came out—it was discovered that lower Akkermansia muciniphila levels were connected to metabolic syndrome.

Today—similar to how Smartphones have changed how we communicate—Akkermansia has changed how we approach gut health.

  • Akkermansia is a unique and novel probiotic strain that is naturally found in your gastrointestinal tract 
  • Akkermansia directly interacts with the gut lining and helps regulate the mucus lining of the gut
  • Akkermansia helps maintain your gut lining ¹

 

Akkermansia belongs to the phylum (a classification of bacteria) Verrucomicrobia. It is the only type of this phylum found in human stool samples. ²

In healthy people, Akkermansia accounts for up to 4% of your intestinal bacteria. In less-healthy people, Akkermansia is less abundant. ³

The most direct way to increase Akkermansia levels in your gut is by taking either Pendulum Akkermansia or Pendulum Glucose Control.

How does Akkermansia support your health?

Your gut microbiome is an ecosystem that is home to trillions of bacteria—some good and some bad.
 
Healthy adult gut microbiomes are both relatively stable and diverse. While a well-balanced gut microbiome supports a healthy body, the opposite is true for a poorly balanced gut microbiome. ⁴

So what does any of this have to do with Akkermansia?

  • The lining of your intestines is made up of epithelial cells (i.e. the cells that cover the surfaces of bodily organs)
  • These epithelial cells are covered in a slimy mucus layer that is rich in a protein called “mucin” 
  • Akkermansia … loves this mucin! Akkermansia loves mucin so much, it uses it for energy

 

“Akkermansia is like Pac-Man,” says Neusel. “Think about Akkermansia spending all day just munching on your mucin layer. It’s kinda gross, but we want this to happen”

  • The more mucin that Akkermansia eats, the more it encourages epithelial cells to make additional mucin
  • This additional “mucin making” is what strengthens your intestinal wall, which is critical for your health

 


When it first became available, Akkermansia muciniphila immediately caught the attention of the health-and-wellness community for two reasons:

  1. It was a probiotic strain that is really good for gut health
  2. It was a probiotic strain that was only available in Pendulum Glucose Control

 

Was it possible for there to be an “Akkermansia stand-alone pill?”

Fast forward to today, and there is now Pendulum Akkermansia.

  • Pendulum Akkermansia optimizes the balance of your gut-mucus layer, and helps maintain a healthy ecosystem of beneficial bacteria in the gut microbiome. ⁵
  • Oral administration of Pendulum Akkermansia replaces lost Akkermansia muciniphila levels in the gut
  • Each Pendulum Akkermansia capsule contains chicory inulin (prebiotic) and that acts as food for 6 mg of the Akkermansia muciniphila probiotic 
  • Pendulum Akkermansia can be taken once daily as part of a meal, and can be stored at room temperature
  • Unlike Pendulum Glucose Control, Pendulum Akkermansia is not intended for use in the management of Type 2 diabetes
How can you increase Akkermansia levels in your gut? 

“It is important to note that nutrition and microbiome health go hand in hand, “says Neusel. “Just doing one or the other likely won't see as much success.”

There are two main ways to increase Akkermansia levels in the gut:

  • Taking prebiotics (or eating foods with prebiotics) that encourage more Akkermansia to grow
  • Taking a probiotic that contains Akkermansia 

 

Why is Akkermansia so hard to find?

Akkermansia is hard to find because it is an anaerobic strain that needs to be grown in an oxygen-free environment (like your gut). 

This makes Akkermansia unique, as most probiotics on shelves can tolerate oxygen.

There weren’t any existing processes that could be used to grow Akkermansia at scale. So, Pendulum hired specialized microbiologists to create an oxygen-free manufacturing process from scratch that successfully grows large amounts of Akkermansia.

It is because of Pendulum’s cutting-edge science that the next-generation beneficial bacteria known as Akkermansia muciniphila is now available to the public.

Akkermansia is only available in Pendulum Akkermansia and Pendulum Glucose Control, and the enteric-coated capsule ensures the beneficial strains reach your gut.

Are there foods that contain Akkermansia?

There are no foods that contain Akkermansia, other than Pendulum Akkermansia.

To reiterate: At present, the most direct way to increase your Akkermansia levels is by taking either Pendulum Glucose Control or Pendulum Akkermansia.

Are there foods that help boost existing Akkermansia in your gut lining?
  • There is limited evidence that dietary interventions can actually increase Akkermansia levels in humans
  • Pendulum is the only place where you can buy Pendulum Akkermansia or Pendulum Glucose Control

 

An important thing to remember is that Akkermansia feeds on fiber. While there are many types of fiber-containing foods, research shows that the ones that best support Akkermansia growth are:

(1) Polyphenol-rich foods and

(2) Prebiotic fibers—that is, fiber that actively feeds the bacteria in our gut

Certain antioxidants found in foods (known as polyphenols) may also encourage the growth of Akkermansia. A few polyphenol-rich foods are:

  • Grapes
  • Cranberries
  • Green tea
  • Cloves
  • Peppermint
  • Star Anise
  • Dark chocolate
  • Black currants
  • Plums
  • Sweet cherries
  • Apples
  • Beans
  • Nuts
  • Red wine

 

Prebiotic fibers can be found in:

    • Inulin (from chicory root)
    • Garlic
    • Asparagus
    • Bananas
    • Barley
    • Oats
    • Apples
    How much Akkermansia is in Pendulum Glucose Control or Pendulum Akkermansia?
    Each daily dose of Pendulum Glucose Control contains 1 billion live Colony Forming Units (CFUs) of Akkermansia, which is one of the five probiotic strains within a Pendulum Glucose Control capsule. 
    How Often Should You Take Pendulum Akkermansia?
    Pendulum Glucose Control is taken twice daily with food. Pendulum Akkermansia is taken once daily with food.
    Can taking too much Akkermansia be dangerous?
    Orville Kolterman, MD, Chief Medical Officer at Pendulum Therapeutics, points out a study stating that Akkermansia levels are increased in patients with multiple sclerosis. Kolterman adds that human studies have not been conducted administering greater than 1 billion Akkermansia colony forming units (CFUs) per day. ⁶ 
    Are there side effects to Akkermansia? 
    There can be temporary GI side effects when you begin taking PGC or Akkermansia. This is very common for any probiotic that you take as you are altering the composition of your microbiome. 
    Is Pendulum Akkermansia used for the management of Type 2 diabetes?
    Pendulum Akkermansia is not used for the management of Type 2 diabetes.
     
    People looking to help control their diabetes should instead consider Pendulum Glucose Control, which has been shown to help lower A1C levels and post-meal blood-glucose spikes in individuals with Type 2 diabetes taking metformin. 
     
    If gut health and Akkermansia levels are your goal—Pendulum Akkermansia is a better product for you.
     
    Is Akkermansia FDA approved? 
    No.  Neither foods nor medical foods are required to obtain premarket approval by the FDA. Pendulum’s probiotics are Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS), which means that it is generally considered safe by qualified scientific experts under the conditions of its intended use.

    Where Can You Buy Akkermansia? 
    Click here to become a Pendulum Akkermansia member and get your first bottle. 
     
    Before you consider any of these gut-microbiome dietary solutions, talk to your healthcare provider. 
    The FDA has not approved or evaluated these statements. Pendulum products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any diseases. Results may vary.


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    3. Ann Neurol. 2021 Jun; 89(6) 1195-1211