Could We Prevent Obesity... AND Type 2 Diabetes?
According to reports from the CDC, nearly 10 percent of the U.S. population is diabetic. The CDC also reports that over one-third of American adults are overweight – which increases the risks for many dangerous health complications including type 2 diabetes.
These two conditions have reached epidemic proportions over the last few years, and the medical community has not been hopeful for a change in this trajectory.
That is, until recently, when researchers at the Catholic University of Louvain in Belgium make a breakthrough that could change everything.
The Prevention Protein
Scientists Patrice Cani and Willem de Vos have been leading a team of researchers for the past 10 years at the University of Louvain's Louvain Drug Research Institute. Their study has focused on Akkermansia muciniphila, a bacterium that make up between one and five percent of a human's guy microbiota.
Cani, de Vos, and their team first directed their attention to Akkermansia during a study on mice, when they noticed that obese rodents had much lower levels of the bacterium in their guts. Researchers administered treatment to the obese mice by increasing their Akkermansia levels and found that the treatment reversed the mice's metabolic conditions.
The Latest Discovery
Before the Louvain researchers could test Akkermansia on human subjects, they had to develop a way to safely administer it to humans – without destroying its active properties. They opted to pasteurize the bacterium and discovered something incredible: pasteurization actually doubled the efficacy, even preventing obesity or diabetes from developing in healthy mice.
They've since begun human trials on Akkermansia. Though they've yet to conclusively prove that the bacterium has the same effect on humans as it did on mice, they are elated that their administration methods have proven to be safe for humans.
As the team explains in their report, “These findings provide support for the use of different preparations of A. muciniphila as therapeutic options to target human obesity and associated disorders.”