Cancer and the Gut By Mrs Vera West
I have been fascinated, to the limits of my understanding of biology, to learn about the gut, and how it has a “mind” of its own, literally, something I covered in other articles. Apart from the intrinsic interest in this, many of us are worried about mental deterioration, heart disease, and most of all, cancer. There is relevance here to the last of these medical horsemen of the apocalypse:
“Previous studies have shown certain gut bacteria quell inflammation, which is an underlying factor in virtually all cancers, whereas others promote it. As noted in a recent article in Nature, “bacteria have been associated with cancer initiation and progression. Some of these microbes activate inflammatory responses and disrupt the mucus layers that protect the body from outside invaders, creating an environment that supports tumor growth.” Certain cancers have also been found to have infectious underpinnings. For example, Heliobacter pylori (H. pylori) has been linked to gastric cancer. The International Agency for Research on Cancer actually defines this microbe as a carcinogen. Interestingly, H. pylori has also been linked to a reduced risk of esophageal adenocarcinoma, demonstrating the complexity involved and the organ-specific effects microbes can have when it comes to their impact on cancer. Similarly, hepatitis C virus has been shown to play a role in hepatocellular carcinoma, chronic Salmonella enterica infection has been linked to gallbladder cancer, and Haemophilus influenza and Candida albicans have been identified in lower respiratory tract tumors. Gut microbes have also been found to influence the effectiveness of cancer treatment.”
There is, of course, much more to this. But, the take home message for those of us increasingly concerned about our health, as the march of the grim reaper, becomes ever quicker, is to put off the evil day a bit, by proper gut health. That involves a lot, but for a start, a diet rich in high anti-oxidant based nutrients goes a long way to keeping up health. Fibre is necessary to feed good gut bacteria. Overall health, to minimise the use of antibiotics (which is not to say that these drugs have no place), to save the good bacteria is necessary.
For your interest, some more health material for your gut: