Research: Bacteria may help reduce obesity

Research wordResearch word

Bacteria supplementation appears to help with weight loss and metabolic syndrome


People have long looked for magical weight loss cure. Anything that could help you gain that advantage against the losing battle to lose weight which most of us have struggled with our whole life. Although it is not coming to market or a physician near you soon, a new research study shows promising news that there might be a light at the end of the tunnel.

In a new study from July of 2019, researchers looked at a novel approach h to weight loss. They looked at supplementing patient with a bacterium that is found in your colon. The bacterium, Akkermansia muciniphila, appears to breaks down proteins in your colon, but the true mechanism of action is still not well understood how works. The gut flora or microbiota has long been suspected as a player in the cause of obesity, but there was limited proof.

Obesity: Belly

This study is the first to investigate the use of this family of bacteria in humans and although the study is small, it showed great promise. The researchers enrolled 40 obese subjects with metabolic syndrome in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled pilot study. The subjects were allowed to drink the concoction that included the bacteria and they were followed for 3 months. The measured points in the study were safety, tolerability, and metabolic parameters such as insulin resistance, circulating lipids, visceral adiposity, and body mass.

The study shows promise because it not only appears that the supplementation was effective but also it also appears to be safe​[1]​. It was tolerated well by the subjects with little to no side-effects. The promise of the study was the results which showed that the subjects that completed the study not only lost nearly 5 pounds of body weight, but they also lost body fat and has reduced insulin sensitivity.

I know many of you may be worried that prior studies of this type might end in death link the Clostridium difficile studies of the past. The good news is that the pasteurized or killed bacteria appear to be just as effective. This means there could be minimal to no risk if the bacteria was dead prior to usage.

The bottom line: Although just the start, this study shows promise for the treatment of obesity. We are years away from using bacteria for weight loss, but this study seems to show that it will be safe and effective at reducing obesity, metabolic syndrome, and diabetes. More research is needed.


  1. [1]
    C. Depommier et al., “Supplementation with Akkermansia muciniphila in overweight and obese human volunteers: a proof-of-concept exploratory study,” Nat Med, pp. 1096–1103, Jul. 2019 [Online]. Available:
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About the Author

I am a family physician who has served in the US Army. In 2016, I found myself overweight, out of shape, and unhealthy, so I made a change to improve my health. This blog is the chronology of my path to better health and what I have learned along the way.

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