artichoke plant to fuel akkermansia growth

Akkermansia Foods

Gut health is a cornerstone of overall wellness, influencing everything from digestion to immune health. One of the lesser-known but critically important players in gut health is a bacteria called akkermansia. In this article, we will explore what Akkermansia is, why its levels are significant, how you can nourish it through food, and other tips for maintaining a healthy gut environment.

What is Akkermansia?

Akkermansia is a beneficial bacteria that lives in the human gut. It plays a crucial role in maintaining the gut's mucosal layer, which serves as a barrier protecting the intestinal lining. High levels of Akkermansia are associated with a healthy mucosal layer, which can help prevent conditions like leaky gut. Learn more about top to bottom digestion

Conversely, low levels of this bacteria can compromise the mucosal barrier, potentially leading to digestive issues, widespread inflammation, and other chronic diseases. For example, studies suggest that low levels of Akkermansia are associated with a greater risk of inflammatory bowel disease, obesity, and diabetes (1). 

Several experimental studies have used this bacteria as a potential probiotic for therapeutic tools. For instance, studies examining Akkermansia have found benefits such as (2, 3):

  • Reduced total cholesterol
  • Fat loss
  • Improved blood sugar levels
  • Less insulin resistance

We use a comprehensive stool test called GI Map to examine the levels of Akkermansia in many of our members. This stool test provides valuable insights into the composition of gut bacteria, allowing us to tailor dietary and lifestyle recommendations to support optimal gut health.

Akkermansia Foods

While no foods contain Akkermansia itself, you can promote its growth through your diet. First of all, Akkermansia thrives on dietary fiber, especially fiber-rich prebiotics. Unlike probiotics, prebiotics are non-digestible food components that promote the growth and activity of beneficial bacteria, like Akkermansia, in the gut.

Here are a few prebiotic-rich foods that can fuel Akkermansia:
  • Artichokes
  • Bananas
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Asparagus
  • Oats
  • Apples
  • Flaxseed
  • Avocado
You can also increase Akkermansia levels by eating foods rich in polyphenols. These are naturally occurring compounds found in plants that have antioxidant properties and can promote health by protecting cells and supporting beneficial gut bacteria. 

Some polyphenol-rich foods include:
  • Berries
  • Green tea
  • Plums
  • Pomegranates 
  • Beans
  • Hazelnuts
  • Pecans

It's important to make your meals as colorful as possible because each color of plant-based foods offers a unique array of polyphenols.

Creating a Healthy Gut Environment

In addition to eating foods that nourish Akkermansia, it’s crucial to create an overall healthy gut environment. 

First of all, aim to reduce added sugar in your diet which can disrupt the balance of gut bacteria and weaken the gut lining. The top sources of added sugar in the American diet are sugar-sweetened beverages (soda, energy drinks, sweetened coffee and tea), desserts, and breakfast cereal. 

Chronic stress can also negatively impact gut health and cause bacterial imbalances (known as dysbiosis). Daily practices like mindfulness, deep breathing, journaling, and yoga are beneficial in lowering stress hormone levels. 

Finally, increase your time spent in nature. Exposure to natural environments can encourage physical activity, which aids in healthy digestion and enhances the diversity of the gut microbiome. Fresh air and sunlight also contribute to improved mood and reduced stress, both of which positively impact gut health. Additionally, outdoor activities can expose you to a variety of microbes that can diversify and strengthen your gut microbiome.

Supplement Feature: Low FODMAP Prebiotic

For those looking to boost their healthy gut bacteria, like Akkermansia, consider our low-FODMAP prebiotic. This supplement is a citrus and pomegranate extract-based prebiotic formula, rich in flavonoid polyphenols to nourish beneficial gut bacteria and support a healthy gut environment. This type of prebiotic is designed to minimize digestive discomfort while providing polyphenols and other compounds that help increase Akkermansia levels. It's especially helpful for individuals with sensitive stomachs or conditions like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
Low FODMAP prebiotic

Low FODMAP Prebiotic

Feed your good gut bugs without the bloat.

Key Takeaways

Nourishing Akkermansia with a diet rich in fiber and polyphenols is a powerful way to enhance your gut health. By including the right foods, limiting harmful ones, and considering targeted supplements, you can achieve a balanced gut microbiome and the resulting health benefits.

Remember, gut health is a journey, and making consistent, small changes can lead to significant improvements over time. Learn more about gut health testing through our functional medicine membership program.

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