We all have heard of the benefits of probiotics especially when it comes to digestive health. However, now research is emerging that healthy bacteria in our digestive tracts do far more than regulate our digestion. Two recent studies found a link between healthy bacteria and better responses to anti-cancer therapies. Mice with a healthy population of gut bacteria had a better response to chemotherapy compare to animals that had did not have healthy gut bacteria. Even though the studies need to be replicated in humans, the authors suggested that gut bacteria play a key role in regulating the inflammatory response not only in the digestive tract but also through out the body. The results also highlight the potential dangers of antibiotic use (especially long periods) since they can damage healthy gut bacteria, lower their levels and potentially allow harmful strains to take over. Researcher were actually surprised at this connection but a more thorough understanding of the latest evidence on probiotics and gut bacteria clearly indicate that inflammation and immune system response is started at the level of digestive lining and is influenced by probiotics.
Did you know that there are 10x more bacteria in your gut than cells in your body? There is little surprise that these bugs have a pivotal role to play in the maintenance of good health. Probiotics are already well studied in improving diseases such as IBS, crohns, colitis, allergies, skin rashes, autism, ADHD and colon cancer. Now there is evidence suggesting that before a person starts (or during) cancer treatment they should make an effort to maintain a healthy bacterial population. While this can be achieved quite simply with the proper probiotics supplementation some people may require more comprehensive treatment to restore their whole digestive tract. This is especially true in cases of antibiotic use (even in the past), digestive disorders (i.e. IBS, IBD) and food allergies (which most people have).
I love the conclusion of this article, “We can harness our microbes to help us fight cancer,”... “Conversely, when we disrupt our microbes, it might make fighting cancer harder.”
This evidence underscores the emphasis on good digestive health not only for nutrient absorption but also as a key cancer fighting factor. Its is so easy to overlook the simple things when fighting cancer but often the simple things can be the most powerful. Don't overlook your gut bacteria as key cancer fighting allies.
To read the full article, follow the link
Gut Flora Boost Cancer Therapies
1) N. Iida et al., “Commensal bacteria control cancer response to therapy by modulating the tumor microenvironment,” Science, 342:967-70, 2013.
2) S. Viaud et al., “The intestinal microbiota modulates the anticancer immune effects of cyclophosphamide,” Science, 342:971-76, 2013.
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