There are trillions of bacteria in our guts, which are critical not only for proper digestion, but also for a highly functional immune system. The gut microbiome consists of up to 2,000 different species of bacteria, as well as other kinds of microbes, including parasites and viruses.
One type of immune cell found in the gut identifies harmful foreign substances, known as an antigens. This type of cell, known as an APC, tells other immune cells, your B and T-cells, to initiate a series of actions that ultimately attack and get rid of the threatening antigen. These antigens can be anything from a virus to a tumor cell. Apparently, there are strains of gut bacteria known as Bifidobacterium, that have been identified to upregulate APC immune cells which means they become more actively vigilant and do a better job identifying tumor cells and helping eradicate them.
Certain cancer cells also have the ability to shut down T-cell activity before they destroy said cancer cells. Fortunately, there is a type of immune therapy designed to block cancer cells from doing this. A recent study published in Science reported that combining this therapy with supplements of Bifidobacterium (a type of friendly bacteria) could produce a much stronger immune response to tumor cells. A conclusion from The University of Chicago research team is as follows:
“Microorganisms in the gut can be used to empower the immune system to fight cancer, as opposed to traditional therapies that dramatically weaken it”.
A study published in Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics, found, not surprisingly, that when a chemotherapy agent is administered, there is a profound disruption of the intestinal microbiome that is observed after chemotherapy. This disruption was shown to create significant but undesired changes in energy metabolism and even the ability of the gut bacteria to participate in producing important metabolic co-factors like vitamins. One of the conclusions of the published study was “…Moving forward, it might be reasonable to consider some form of gut preservation techniques, like re-colonization, following an intervention like chemotherapy, now shown to have such a profound effect on the microbiome. “*
Another study published earlier this year in the journal Science Translational Medicine discusses how dysbiosis, or the failure of the microbiome to sync up with the rest of the immune system, can lead to cancer formation.
And now two more studies, one by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and one by the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research suggest that intestinal bacteria may increase the effectiveness of certain types of chemotherapy. According to the NCI study, researchers tested an immunotherapy and a platinum chemotherapy (one of the most widely used types of chemotherapy) and found that both were less effective in mice that had no bacteria in their guts. The therapies did a better job of attacking tumors in mice with normal gut bacteria. According to the study, this is because the gut microbiota helped to activate the “innate immune response against the tumors.”
According to Karen Guillemin, Ph.D., a researcher with the Institute of Molecular Biology at the University of Oregon, “A lot of cancer therapies – and the ones they were studying in these studies in particular – actually rely on the body’s immune system and a properly functioning immune system relies on the gut. And if the immune system isn’t functioning normally, neither do the cancer therapies.”
Guillemin suggests that the takeaway for cancer patients is that they should be making lifestyle changes that promote a healthy gut community. Yes, we are finally hearing this from mainstream cancer researchers! To specifically quote her, she says:
“There is evidence that shows that a diet that is really abundant in plants fosters a complex gut bacterial community that seems to be beneficial in a lot of ways including stimulating the immune system in a healthful way.” And, she suggests “people should include lots of food in their diet that are rich in micronutrients, which are also thought to be beneficial for cancer patients.”
So how can you protect and help your microbiome heal?
Continually restore or replenish your healthy gut bacteria. Remember that chemotherapy, steroids and the often-used antibiotics will continually wipe it out. So this is an on-going process, which includes:
1. Taking a high quality probiotic daily
2. Eating prebiotic foods that feed your probiotics: These are foods that contain high amounts of inulin and oligosaccharides, a type of simple sugar. Such foods include onions, Jerusalem artichoke, leeks, asparagus, jicama, chicory, and garlic.
3. Eating probiotic rich fermented foods such as:
-Sauerkraut, kimchee, fermented beets (kvoss), fermented carrots or any other veggies, miso and tempehKefir
–Fermented teas and other drinks like Komucha, Synergy, and fermented coconut water
–The weakest support is unpasteurized, minimally processed and most store-bought yogurt, but these have no live cultures in them, despite their claim.
When you are done with chemo or radiation, safely clean the toxins from the GI track to allow it to not only get rid of the unhealthy microbes and chemo-toxins but also to allow any damage to the GI tract itself to heal. That is why detoxifying the colon is always part of a post chemo/radiation (or any type) of detoxification program. Even without the challenge of chemo/radiation, most people have 5-20 pounds of waste material lining their guts that not only inhibits the uptake of desirable nutrients but also has become toxic and is draining your immune system, which you obviously want at peak cancer-fighting performance.
**At my live Raw Radiance U™ retreat, we will not only safely detoxify your colon, liver, kidneys, skin and lymphatic systems, we will eat foods that are super-nutritious and easy to absorb and use. This is especially important while your gut is healing. You need proper nutrition to provide the energy necessary to detoxify your body. You will also be in a stress-free environment of rest and restoration so that you can focus almost exclusively on these 2 important tasks while also engaging in emotional nourishment and detoxivfication. And, you will leave having created a customized plan of how to successfully integrate healthy eating and lifestyle changes into YOUR life…and with wonderful new like-minded friends.
Check it out here:www.evictingcancer.com/radiance