UCL research leads to world first
Intestinal bacteria reduce risk of cardiovascular diseases.
The Université Catholique de Louvain (UCL) and the Dutch Wageningen University discovered that the living intestinal bacteria Akkermansia muciniphila curbs obesity and type-2 diabetes in mice in 2007. Later research has shown that the pasteurised form of the bacteria protects against various risk factors for cardiovascular diseases, such as insulin resistance, hypercholesterolemia or the storage of fat in adipose tissue, even better than the live form, again in mice.
Based on these encouraging results, the UCL worked with the Cliniques universitaires Saint-Luc to administer the pasteurised bacteria as a dietary supplement for three months to a group of volunteers who were overweight, had insulin resistance and were at increased risk of cardiovascular diseases. No-one was allowed to change anything about their eating habits or physical activity.
The conclusions are clear. The clinical trials recorded the same results for humans as for mice. Consuming the pasteurised bacteria had no adverse effect on the health of the volunteers, and their body weight, cholesterol level and inflammation markers in the liver diminished - without any side-effects occurring.
This paves the way for a large-scale study and the commercialisation of the bacteria in the form of a dietary supplement from 2021.