Obesity and diabetes rates in the U.S. have increased steadily over the last two decades. Now, the country has reached an alarming high of people dealing with metabolic disorders—as many as 29 million Americans are diabetics, and a staggering 36.5% are obese, according to the CDC1. However, a team of Belgian researchers may have just found a potential cure in the form of a simple protein.
A group of researchers from the Louvain Drug Research Institute of the Catholic University of Louvain in Belgium have been studying a specific strain of gut bacteria—called Akkermansia muciniphila—for more than a decade. They believed the bacteria would prove a useful tool in the war on diabetes and obesity, and their research has proven this hypothesis true.
Since December 20152, the researchers have been testing the bacteria on humans to determine 1) whether or not the bacteria is safe for human applications, and 2) whether it could help to reduce fat mass.
According to the researchers, “We discovered that pasteurization of A. muciniphila enhanced its capacity to reduce fat mass development, insulin resistance and dyslipidemia in mice.”
The reason the pasteurization of the bacteria proved so effective all came down to a protein called Amuc_1100*. The researchers produced a form of isolated Amuc_1100* protein and tested it on mice. They found it as effective for preventing diabetes and obesity as the Akkermansia bacteria.
The good news is that the study has proven two things:
- Both Akkermansia and Amuc_1100* show remarkable potential for treating obesity and diabetes.
- Amuc_1100* on its own is just as effective as the pasteurized gut bacteria.
The reason that the second finding is so significant is due to the fact that Amuc_1100* is a potent immune-booster. The protein strengthens the immune response of your intestines and blocks toxins from entering the bloodstream. Not only could the discover of this amazing protein lead to a reduction in obesity and diabetes rates, but it may have applications to treat the intestinal inflammation caused by liver disease, alcoholism, stress, and even cancer.
1. Prevalence of Obesity Among Adults and Youth: United States, 2011–2014 Cynthia L. Ogden, Ph.D.; Margaret D. Carroll, M.S.P.H.; Cheryl D. Fryar, M.S.P.H.; and Katherine M. Flegal, Ph.D.
2. A purified membrane protein from Akkermansia muciniphila or the pasteurized bacterium improves metabolism in obese and diabetic mice, Hubert Plovier et al., Nature Medicine, doi: 10.1038/nm.4236, published online 28 November 2016, abstract.