In several of my previous newsletters, I’ve told you about the benefits of taking probiotics to aid in digestion. Now, I’d like to tell you about another benefit of taking probiotics – helping to prevent cancer. Here’s how.
Probiotics Suppress Bacteria and Inflammation
You may recall my telling you previously that after age 30 your production of digestive enzymes decrease and declines more and more with each passing year. By the age of 50-60, you have about two times less digestive capacity than you used to. As a result of not digesting your food properly, and overgrowth of bacteria and other organisms, these conditions can occur:
- Bad breath
- Food intolerances
- Type 2 diabetes
When food is not digested completely, it literally lays around in your stomach and/or small intestine, longer than it should. Bad strains of bacteria multiply and inflammation can set into the entire digestive tract. Inflammation creates a condition of unhealthy tissue that is ripe for transforming into cancer. One strain of “bad” bacteria can also result in type 2 diabetes says research out of New York’s Langone Medical Center [H.pylori linked to Blood Sugar Control in Adult Type II diabetes]. Their study revealed that H.pylori affect the 2 hormones that regulate glucose control, decreasing them. This can put you at twice the risk to develop Type 2 diabetes.
Taking probiotics, then, not only helps you digest your food completely, but it also helps inhibit cancer by preventing the inflammation that can accompany poor digestion. How do probiotics accomplish this amazing feat?
- Probiotics contain live cultures of “good bacteria” that help digest food like tiny pacman molecules.
- Probiotics suppress the growth of “bad” bacteria that starts the process of cell breakdown that can progress into becoming cancerous.
Antioxidants also help to suppress the development of cancer but if antioxidant levels are inadequate these cells can further mutate into cancer. Probiotics help knock out cancer supporting conditions before they’re created by getting rid of the bad bacteria that feeds them and allows them to grow. In this way, probiotics boost the immune system by decreasing the “bad” bacteria load in the gut – the heart of your immune system – allowing it to work at its optimal capacity to suppress disease.
Research presented in Spain a few years back in 2009 [The application of probiotic fermented milks in cancer and intestinal inflammation, by Alejandra de Moreno de LeBlanca1 and Gabriela Perdigón], proved the usefulness of probiotics in suppressing cancer growth. The study showed that fermented milk which contained the probiotic, Lactobacillus helveticus, slowed down the growth of breast tumors. It inhibited the inflammation process in both hormone-dependent breast cancer and lab induced colon cancer.
How Much Probiotics Do You Need?
For your immune system to function optimally, your gut needs to be colonized with about 85% “good” bacteria to be able to keep down the remaining %15. Most of my patients, and readers, are familiar with “live culture” probiotics from a well-known actress touting a certain brand of yogurt in television and magazine ads. While yogurt is a good source of probiotics, it is not the only food that contains beneficial probiotics. In fact, there are many delicious foods which you may already be eating and enjoy. They include:
1. Fermented foods: These are “sour” foods like Korean kimchi, German sauerkraut (the refrigerated kind at the health food store), pickled foods, tempeh, miso, kefir, goat’s milk, fermented cheeses, whey protein, natto, soy sauce, Tofuyo, a fermented tofu cheese, and Umeboshi plums (Japanese pickled plums) both found at Japanese food stores, aged apple cider.
2. Live culture supplements: These are available at health food stores, pharmacies, and bigger grocery store chains. Supplements should contain at least 3 billion live bacteria per serving.
Kefir Protein Smoothie – A Probiotic-Antioxidant Friendly Recipe
1 10-12 ounce bottle of plain Kefir (found in the refrigerated dairy section of your grocery)
½ cup raspberries, blackberries, or chokeberries (high antioxidant value)
1 scoop whey protein
1-2 tsp of Stevia (if more sweetness desired)
Place in a blender, mix until smooth. Enjoy for breakfast or snack.
Probiotics not only help to keep your digestive tract running smoothly, they also boost your immune system by decreasing bad bacteria, helping your entire body stay disease-free. Be sure to also drink the required amount of water for your body weight (half your body weight in water ounces per day – 160 lbs = 80 ounces water) to flush your colon of digested food products. This also helps decrease the chance of dangerous inflammation from forming.
Mark Rosenberg, M.D.
Natural Health News
3rd International ImmunonutritionWorkshop, http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract?fromPage=online&aid=7837748
Take Probiotics to Prevent Cancer http://www.naturalnews.com/036841_probiotics_cancer_prevention.html
How The Body-Building Supplement Whey Can Boost Your Immune Health,
H. Pylori Bacteria Linked to Blood Sugar Control in Adult Type II Diabetes, http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120314124650.htm
photo credit: kimberlysnyder.net