How one gut bug can bring all your numbers down

Insulin resistance. You’ve probably heard of it. But if you don’t have diabetes or prediabetes, you may not think it’s something you need to worry about. Here’s why you’re wrong…

Aging causes insulin resistance. And none of us are immune to aging (no matter how hard those Silicon Valley billionaires try). So, insulin resistance is something we all need to prevent.

In case you need a refresher, insulin resistance occurs when your body’s cells stop responding to insulin, the hormone that regulates blood sugar. Insulin resistance is the first stop on the dangerous road to diabetes. But it also sets you up for obesity, inflammation, weak immunity and frailty.

Basically, insulin resistance can make all your worst aging nightmares come true. So, how do you stop insulin resistance from stealing your healthy, youth and vigor?

Well, a new study shows the best way to battle insulin resistance is a certain strain of healthy bacteria —  Akkermansia muciniphila.

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The dangerous domino effect that leads to insulin resistance

A study published in the journal Science Translational Medicine made some alarming discoveries about aging and insulin resistance in mice and monkeys…

Researchers found that as mice and monkeys get older, their intestinal wall becomes more permeable. The same thing happens to humans, by the way. It’s called leaky gut.

This permeability allows harmful stuff like bad bacteria to seep through into other parts of the body, leading to inflammation.

It also causes a decrease in butyrate, a fatty acid the gut creates when it digests certain foods. Butyrate contributes to gut health, so having less is bad.

The decline in butyrate leads to a decrease in the bacteria Akkermansia muciniphila in the gut too. All this combined triggers insulin resistance.

But here’s the good news…

Giving elderly mice and monkeys more Akkermansia muciniphila reversed this unfortunate sequence of events — even the insulin resistance.

Previous research on this beneficial strain of bacteria shows that it probably has a similar effect on humans too. One study conducted on 49 people found that people with more Akkermansia muciniphila in their guts have smaller waistlines, lower blood sugar, better insulin sensitivity, and lower cholesterol levels.

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Filling your gut with Akkermansia muciniphila

So, how do you get your hands on some Akkermansia muciniphila?

The bad news is you won’t find it in your yogurt or a probiotic supplement.

It is, however, found naturally in your gut. And there are foods you can eat to increase your supply. Research shows, for example, that eating a high-fiber diet increases the amount of Akkermansia muciniphila in your gut. So, eat plenty of high-fiber foods, like:

  • Grapes
  • Raspberries
  • Pear
  • Apple
  • Banana
  • Orange
  • Strawberries
  • Green peas
  • Broccoli
  • Turnip greens
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Potato
  • Sweet corn
  • Cauliflower
  • Carrot
  • Whole wheat
  • Quinoa
  • Oats
  • Brown rice
  • Barley
  • Bran
  • Lentils
  • Black beans
  • Split peas
  • Chia seeds
  • Almonds
  • Pistachios
  • Sunflower kernels

You should also know that high-fat diets decrease the amount of Akkermansia muciniphila in your gut. So, keep your fat intake balanced to keep this healthy strain of bacteria around and insulin resistance away.

Editor’s note: Are you feeling unusually tired? You may think this is normal aging, but the problem could be your master hormone. When it’s not working, your risk of age-related diseases skyrockets. To reset what many call “the trigger for all disease” and live better, longer, click here to discover The Insulin Factor: How to Repair Your Body’s Master Controller and Conquer Chronic Disease!

Sources:

  1. A gut bacterium as a fountain of youth? Well, let’s start with reversing insulin resistance — Orlando Sentinel
  2. Commensal bacteria contribute to insulin resistance in aging by activating innate B1a cells — Science Translational Medicine
  3. Gut Bug Slims Waistlines, Improves Blood Sugar — Endocrine Web
  4. Insulin Resistance & Prediabetes — National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
  5. Chart of high-fiber foods — Mayo Clinic

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Jenny Smiechowski

By Jenny Smiechowski

Jenny Smiechowski is a Chicago-based freelance writer who specializes in health, nutrition and the environment. Her work has appeared in online and print publications like Chicagoland Gardening magazine, Organic Lifestyle Magazine, BetterLife Magazine, TheFix.com, Hybridcars.com and Seedstock.com.