Reference Number: 214
The gut and its bacterial colonizers are now well characterized as key players in whole-body metabolism, opening new avenues of research and generating great expectation for new treatments against obesity and its cardiometabolic complications. As diet is the main environmental factor affecting the gut microbiota, it has been suggested that fruits and vegetables, whose consumption is strongly associated with a healthy lifestyle, may carry phytochemicals that could help maintain intestinal homeostasis and metabolic health. We recently demonstrated that oral administration of a cranberry extract rich in polyphenols prevented diet-induced obesity and several detrimental features of the metabolic syndrome in association with a remarkable increase in the abundance of the mucin-degrading bacterium Akkermansia in the gut microbiota of mice. This addendum provides an extended discussion in light of recent discoveries suggesting a mechanistic link between polyphenols and Akkermansia, also contemplating how this unique microorganism may be exploited to fight the metabolic syndrome.
SIGNIFICANCE OF THIS STUDY
Previous work showed the potential of cranberry juice to increase the population of Akkermansia bacteria in the gut. These bacteria have been linked to positive health effects in helping prevent obesity. This paper suggests the best way to encourage a healthy population of these bacteria in the gut microbiome is through a diet rich in polyphenols from fruit and vegetables, rather than taking them as a probiotic because of potential risks identified in some people.