There has been a lot of news surrounding the health benefits of probiotics in recent years. A new study, however, is showing how one strain may lead to significant reductions in the risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD).
A research team looked at how an intestinal bacterium called Akkermansia muciniphila could affect heart health, and they were very impressed by the results.
The study, which was published in the journal Nature Medicine, looked at how supplementing with the bacteria for three weeks affected the health of overweight people with prediabetes. During the trial, participants exhibited lower inflammatory markers in the liver, reduced cholesterol, enhanced insulin sensitivity, and it even led to some weight loss. All of these can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. On the other hand, a control group given a placebo saw no improvements and continued to experience degradation.
The researchers are now exploring more details and hope that Akkermansia supplements are made widely available by 2021.
This is good news for those looking to treat or prevent heart disease and transition from a pre-diabetic state to full-blown diabetes.
Of course, even if this bacterium did produce these results over larger trials, it would still just be another tool for protecting your heart. There is no magic pill or singular treatment to prevent manage heart disease. It’s a multi-pronged approach that comes down to daily decisions and a variety of treatment methods. So, although this discovery may lead to some potential in obese and overweight individuals, it should not replace proven tactics to improving heart health like diet, activity, weight loss, quitting smoking, and limiting alcohol intake.
What this study does show, however, is that we’re still in the early stages of understanding how diverse the effects of your microbiome are. The more information researchers uncover different bacterial strains and their functions, the clearer the picture may become for future treatments and health outcome predictions.