Triggering Akkermansia with dietary polyphenols: A new weapon to combat the metabolic syndrome?
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.