The next-generation probiotic: Faecalibacterium prausnitzii & Akkermansia muciniphila

March 23, 2024 8 min read

Are you ready for the next-generation probiotic? Faecalibacterium prausnitzii & Akkermansia muciniphila

If you are well-versed in the importance of a balanced gut microbiome, you are likely more than aware of the benefits of probiotics and prebiotics for your intestinal ecosystem.

Specifically, probiotics can be traced right back to almost 10,000 years ago[i], although the first “official” discovered probiotic strain was Lactobacillus bulgaricus, in 1905. Elie Metchnikoff proposed that this strain, found in commonly consumed yogurt, was the reason for the longevity of the Bulgarian population. However, it wasn’t until years later that proper research into probiotics began[ii].

Today, there are seven core genera of microorganisms that are commonly used in probiotic products, including the popular Bifidobacteriaand Lactobacilli[iii].  But there’s something new on the horizon, next-generation probiotics.  At Layer Origin Nutrition, we’re thrilled and excited to announce a brand-new product to our range that combines the next-generation probiotic, Akkermansia muciniphila,with our popular PureHMO® prebiotic.

What are next-generation probiotics?

Probiotics are beneficial live micro-organisms that modulate the human gut to yield health benefits. Next-generation probiotics (NGPs) offer a more sophisticated approach and can be considered an upgrade in gut microbiome science.

Generally, the probiotic supplements and foods you can buy almost anywhere were isolated from the gut or fermented foods, but advancements in scientific methods mean that microbes that may have previously been challenging to isolate can now be cultured and grown.

These have the potential to offer greater health benefits and may even be used as active biological agents in clinical settings to treat specific illnesses in a targeted manner[iv].

The official definition for next-generation probiotics is:

“live microorganisms identified on the basis of comparative microbiota analyses that, when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit on the host.”[v]

Some examples of next-generation probiotic strains include:

  • Faecalibacterium prausnitzii
  • Akkermansia muciniphila

 

What’s the difference between ‘traditional’ probiotics and next-generation probiotics?

Abouelela and Helmy (2024) outlined some of the characteristics that define next-generation probiotics from the more traditional species and strains. They can be seen in the table below[vi]:

Characteristic

Next-Generation Probiotic

Traditional Probiotics

Origin

Developed from next-generation microorganisms that have been isolated using novel tools and techniques

Developed from a select range of microbial species, including Bifidobacteriaand Lactobacillus

Development

Based on a comparative analysis of microbiota compositions between healthy and non-healthy subjects

Through screening microbes that are found in high abundance in healthy individuals compared to non-healthy individuals

Safety

Not yet proven because they are new

Long history of safety in humans

Applications

Their main use is for the treatment of disease

Mainly used as a food supplement or ingredient

Strain specificity

Health-promoting benefits are associated with specific strains

Species-specific

 

What is Akkermansia muciniphila?

Akkermansia muciniphila is a specific bacterial strain that is associated with health benefits and is found in abundance in the gut of healthy individuals, representing around 3 to 5% of their microbiota[vii]. Unlike other probiotics, like Bifidobacteria,which are renowned for fermenting prebiotic fiber, A. muciniphilahas a nifty way of keeping itself nourished.

A. muciniphilais a mucin degrader, which means it uses the mucins, special proteins, that make up the mucous layer lining the gut as an energy source[viii]. The presence of Akkermansiain the gut is associated with a lower incidence of metabolic diseases, such as obesity, diabetes, and inflammation.

What makes Akkermansia muciniphilaa special next-generation probiotic?

A.muciniphilahas been gaining traction and attention in recent years because of its benefits on host metabolic health and gut homeostasis[ix]. Here we’ll explore some of the specific health benefits associated with Akkermansia.

Improved gut barrier integrity

One of the major benefits of A. muciniphilais its ability to strengthen the integrity of the gut barrier through its stimulation of mucin production. A strong gut barrier is essential to prevent toxins, food particles, and pathogens from entering the bloodstream, resulting in an immune response and inflammation. Perhaps most notably, a dysfunctional gut lining is associated with the progression of chronic illnesses, such as inflammatory bowel disease[x].

Research by Liu et al., (2020) investigated the effects of A.muciniphilaon bone fracture healing in mice because of the probiotic's ability to lower systemic inflammation. The results showed that mice receiving A. muciniphilatreatment had improved gut barrier integrity and lower levels of inflammation. Through the power of improving the permeability of the gut, A.muciniphilapromoted better fracture healing[xi].

Tight junction proteins

As well as strengthening the gut barrier by stimulating the production of mucin, A. muciniphila can also control gut permeability by enhancing the function of tight junction proteins.

Tight junction proteins play an important role in the gut barrier function. If they are disrupted, it can result in leaky gut syndrome which is associated with the development and progression of several chronic illnesses[xii].

Promotes a healthy metabolism

Akkermansia muciniphilais showing promise as a next-generation for the prevention of metabolic disease. Mouse studies have shown that the abundance of A.muciniphilais reduced when a high-fat diet is consumed[xiii].

A study published in the scientific journal Gut investigated the association between A. muciniphila,fecal microbiome gene richness, diet, and other host characteristics after calorie restriction. The study involved 49 overweight or obese adults and involved a 6-week calorie restriction period and a 6-week weight stabilization diet.

The results found that participants with a greater Akkermansiaabundance had the healthiest metabolic status, greater insulin sensitivity, and a greater abundance of health-promoting bacteria[xiv].

Chelakkot et al., (2018) found that A. muciniphila-derived extracellular vesicles (AmEVs) can enhance the function of tight junction proteins, lower weight gain, and improve glucose tolerance in diabetic mice fed a high-fat diet. In human epithelial cell lines, AmEVs also reduced gut permeability. Therefore, the study demonstrates that AmEVs can control gut leakiness and modulate the integrity of the gut barrier to improve metabolic functions[xv].

Overall, A. muciniphilais associated with some potent health benefits and its abundance in the gut microbiomes of healthy individuals further cements its use for health and wellbeing purposes. But just how can you take advantage of this strain’s superpowers? We can help you take care of that, of course, with our Akkermansiaproduct.

What is Layer Origin Nutrition’s Akkermansia product?

If you’re looking to seed and feed your gut microbiota, then look no further than our Akkermansiaproduct, specially formulated to survive the harsh conditions of the gut. The unique formulation helps to deliver the health benefits associated with A. muciniphilabut also contains prebiotics to improve the survivability of the bacteria and promote its growth once inside your gut.

Purchasing from a trusted brand like Layer Origin Nutrition, you can be assured that our capsulated Akkermansiaproduct is completely free from additives and flow aids, such as silica and magnesium stearate, commonly found in other brands.

Flow aids, also known as anti-caking agents, are fine, low-density powders that keep ingredients flowing through the manufacturing process and stop powdered products from clumping together during storage.

What are the ingredients?

On top of delivering 100 million CFU of Akkermansia muciniphila, each serving also contains 250mg of 2’-FL and 750mg of resistant starch, unlocking a synergy of benefits. This special formula has been optimized for survivability and colonization in the gut.

The importance of resistant starch

As its name suggests, this type of fiber is resistant to digestion and cannot be broken down by amylase, the enzyme that digests carbohydrates. So, resistant starch can travel virtually untouched to the colon where it is fermented by your microbiota[xvi].

By enveloping the Akkermansiawithin the capsule, the resistant starch guards the bacteria from being digested or destroyed along the digestive tract. Therefore, improving the survivability of the probiotic and allowing your body to reap its health benefits.

HMOs for survivability

The addition of 2’-Fucosyllactose, the ingredient in our PureHMO® Prebiotic Powder, provides immediate sustenance for the Akkermansia,once it disembarks in the gut. Various research papers have shown that A. muciniphilacan use human milk oligosaccharides (HMOs) to promote their growth. For example, Kostopoulos et al., (2020) found that in the early stages of life, A. muciniphilacould grow on human breast milk and could degrade HMOs[xvii].

Liu et al., (2024) recently investigated the effect of 2’-FL on the colonization of A. muciniphila,both in vitro and in vivo as well as its effect on colitis. The results showed that 2’-FL could support the growth of A. muciniphila by acting as a carbon source. The HMO also promoted the adhesion of Akkermansiato colon cells and could alleviate colitis in mice[xviii].

How to take Akkermansia

Taking Akkermansiacouldn’t be simpler. Start by taking one capsule per day from day 1 to day 5. Then, take 2 capsules daily.

Taking 2 capsules per day will deliver the following goodness to your gut:

  • A. muciniphila– 100 million colony-forming units (CFU)
  • 2’-Fucosyllactose (2’-FL) – 250 mg
  • Resistant starch – 750 mg

Summary

With Akkermansia muciniphila cherry-picked to be a next-generation probiotic, you can get ahead of the trend and support both your gut and metabolic health with Akkermansiafrom Layer Origin Nutrition.

Specially formulated with two prebiotics, resistant starch and 2’-FL, Akkermansiahas been optimized for both survival and colonization. Have you ordered yours yet?

Written byLeanne Edermaniger, M.Sc. Leanne is a professional science writer who specializes in human health and enjoys writing about all things related to the gut microbiome.   

 Sources

[i] Ozen M, Dinleyici EC. The history of probiotics: the untold story. Benef Microbes. 2015;6(2):159-65. doi: 10.3920/BM2014.0103. PMID: 25576593.

[ii] Puebla-Barragan S, Reid G. Forty-five-year evolution of probiotic therapy. Microb Cell. 2019 Apr 1;6(4):184-196. doi: 10.15698/mic2019.04.673. PMID: 30956971; PMCID: PMC6444557.

[iii] Office of dietary supplements - probiotics [Internet]. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; [cited 2024 Mar 19]. Available from: https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Probiotics-HealthProfessional/

[iv] Zhang H, Duan Y, Cai F, Cao D, Wang L, Qiao Z, Hong Q, Li N, Zheng Y, Su M, Liu Z, Zhu B. Next-Generation Probiotics: Microflora Intervention to Human Diseases. Biomed Res Int. 2022 Nov 16;2022:5633403. doi: 10.1155/2022/5633403. PMID: 36440358; PMCID: PMC9683952.

[v] Kaźmierczak-Siedlecka K, Skonieczna-Żydecka K, Hupp T, Duchnowska R, Marek-Trzonkowska N, Połom K. Next-generation probiotics - do they open new therapeutic strategies for cancer patients? Gut Microbes. 2022 Jan-Dec;14(1):2035659. doi: 10.1080/19490976.2022.2035659. PMID: 35167406; PMCID: PMC8855854.

[vi] Abouelela ME, Helmy YA. Next-generation probiotics as novel therapeutics for improving human health: Current trends and future perspectives. Microorganisms. 2024 Feb 20;12(3):430. doi:10.3390/microorganisms12030430

[vii] Di Vincenzo, F., Del Gaudio, A., Petito, V. et al. Gut microbiota, intestinal permeability, and systemic inflammation: a narrative review. Intern Emerg Med (2023). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11739-023-03374-w

[viii] Naito Y, Uchiyama K, Takagi T. A next-generation beneficial microbe: Akkermansia muciniphila. J Clin Biochem Nutr. 2018 Jul;63(1):33-35. doi: 10.3164/jcbn.18-57. Epub 2018 Jun 20. PMID: 30087541; PMCID: PMC6064808.

[ix] Jian H, Liu Y, Wang X, Dong X, Zou X. Akkermansia muciniphila as a Next-Generation Probiotic in Modulating Human Metabolic Homeostasis and Disease Progression: A Role Mediated by Gut-Liver-Brain Axes? Int J Mol Sci. 2023 Feb 15;24(4):3900. doi: 10.3390/ijms24043900. PMID: 36835309; PMCID: PMC9959343.

[x] Liu Y, Liu Q, Zhang C, Zhao J, Zhang H, Chen W, et al. Strain-specific effects of akkermansia muciniphila on the regulation of intestinal barrier. Food Science and Human Wellness. 2023 Sept;12(5):1526–37. doi:10.1016/j.fshw.2023.02.022

[xi] Liu J-H, Yue T, Luo Z-W, Cao J, Yan Z-Q, Jin L, et al. Akkermansia muciniphila promotes type H vessels formation and bone fracture healing by reducing gut permeability and inflammation. Disease Models & Mechanisms. 2020 Jan 1; doi:10.1242/dmm.043620

[xii] Moonwiriyakit A, Pathomthongtaweechai N, Steinhagen PR, Chantawichitwong P, Satianrapapong W, Pongkorpsakol P. Tight junctions: from molecules to gastrointestinal diseases. Tissue Barriers. 2023 Apr 3;11(2):2077620. doi: 10.1080/21688370.2022.2077620. Epub 2022 May 27. PMID: 35621376; PMCID: PMC10161963.

[xiii]Yan J, Sheng L, Li H. Akkermansia muciniphila: is it the Holy Grail for ameliorating metabolic diseases? Gut Microbes. 2021 Jan-Dec;13(1):1984104. doi: 10.1080/19490976.2021.1984104. PMID: 34674606; PMCID: PMC8726741.

[xiv] Dao MC, Everard A, Aron-Wisnewsky J, et al. Akkermansia muciniphila and improved metabolic health during a dietary intervention in obesity: relationship with gut microbiome richness and ecology. Gut 2016;65:426-436.

[xv] Chelakkot, C., Choi, Y., Kim, DK. et al. Akkermansia muciniphila-derived extracellular vesicles influence gut permeability through the regulation of tight junctions. Exp Mol Med 50, e450 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1038/emm.2017.282

[xvi] Birt DF, Boylston T, Hendrich S, Jane JL, Hollis J, Li L, McClelland J, Moore S, Phillips GJ, Rowling M, Schalinske K, Scott MP, Whitley EM. Resistant starch: promise for improving human health. Adv Nutr. 2013 Nov 6;4(6):587-601. doi: 10.3945/an.113.004325. PMID: 24228189; PMCID: PMC3823506.

[xvii] Kostopoulos, I., Elzinga, J., Ottman, N. et al. Akkermansia muciniphila uses human milk oligosaccharides to thrive in the early life conditions in vitro. Sci Rep 10, 14330 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-71113-8

[xviii] Liu X, Zhang B, Zhang Y, Li W, Yin J, Shi A, Wang J, Wang S. 2'-Fucosyllactose Promotes Colonization of Akkermansia muciniphila and Prevents Colitis In Vitro and in Mice. J Agric Food Chem. 2024 Mar 6;72(9):4765-4776. doi: 10.1021/acs.jafc.3c08305. Epub 2024 Feb 23. PMID: 38393978.


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