A group of studies found that having lower levels of Akkermansia is associated with the development of certain metabolic and inflammatory diseases, such as:
- Atopy (the predisposition to develop allergic diseases such as allergies, asthma, and eczema)
- Inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD), including Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis
- Type 2 diabetes (11)(4)
Specifically, Akkermansia was found to improve blood sugar, gut inflammation, and insulin sensitivity. If insulin sensitivity is low, the body can become resistant to insulin, leading to certain diseases, including diabetes. This means that Akkermansia may be beneficial for addressing obesity and diabetes. (11)(4)(1)
Early studies also show that it may be helpful in cancer treatment, alongside traditional cancer therapy, though more research is needed. (11)
How to boost Akkermansia levels
There are several ways to ensure a healthy level of Akkermansia in the gut, from fasting to supplementation. If you’re a patient, make sure to check with your healthcare provider to see which method is right for you.
Several studies show a significant increase in Akkermansia levels in the gut after a period of intermittent fasting. (10)(9) Both alternate-day fasting (where you fast every other day) and time-restricted eating (where you eat within a certain time window) showed successful results in increasing Akkermansia levels. This had a positive overall effect on gut microbiota levels (the community of microorganisms living in the gut). The gut microbiota contributes to metabolic health by improving insulin sensitivity and increasing metabolism (the production of energy from food sources in the body), which prevents weight gain. (9)
One study measuring the effects of calorie restriction on metabolic health and obesity found that people with higher levels of Akkermansia at the beginning of the study had better results in weight loss by the end. This was measured after six weeks of maintaining a calorie restricted diet enriched with fibers and protein, followed by six weeks of a weight stabilization diet. They also showed an improvement in blood sugar levels. (5)
These studies suggest that fasting may not only help increase Akkermansia levels in the gut but that higher levels may also enhance the benefits of fasting.