Probiotics: Healthy Bacteria For Your Gut
Probiotics are the good bacteria. And they may help lower your risk forseveral cancers.
Your gut is home to 100 trillion microorganisms or microbes. These gut bacteria some good, some bad play a vital role in your health.
Your intestines hold about 10 pounds of microorganisms. And each person has a unique blend that starts forming at birth, says Erma Levy, a research dietitian in Behavioral Science at MD Anderson. As you grow, where you live and what you eat affect this blend of good and bad bacteria. These gut bacteria some good, some bad play a vital role in your health.
Probiotics are the good bacteria. And they may help lower your risk for several cancers. Probiotics help your immune system function at its best so it can detect and kill cells that can become cancer, Levy says.
Much of the probiotics research focuses on colon cancer, because most microorganisms live in your intestinal tract, she says. And while more research is needed, several studies show that people with colon cancer have an unhealthy population of gut bacteria before the cancer develops.
So how do you keep your gut bacteria healthy?
Feed it a balanced diet.
Your diet sustains your gut bacteria. Were their host. We provide an environment and food. And they help us digest food and convert essential vitamins and nutrients into an absorbable form, Levy says.
Add good bacteria with probiotic foods
Probiotic foods include:
- Low-fat, plain organic yogurt with live or active cultures
Best With Added Prebiotic: Renewlife Healthy Weight 2
- Cost: $29.25
- Form: Capsules
These vegetarian capsules contain 10 bacteria strains, a prebiotic component, and green coffee bean extract. The product claims to support immune and digestive health, alongside a healthy BMI.
The manufacturer advises taking two capsules per day.
This product requires refrigeration.
Probiotics And Weight Loss
The relationship between probiotics and weight loss is complex and the subject of ongoing research.
A 2021 scientific review of data suggests that the intake of probiotics could lead to weight loss over 12 weeks in combination with other healthy lifestyle habits, such as regular physical activity.
Another review looked at the relationship between obesity and the gut microbiome. Those with a higher body mass index may have reduced diversity in their gut microbiome. The review suggests the consumption of probiotics may alter the gut microbiome in ways that promote weight loss in people with high BMI by regulating appetite, metabolism, and energy expenditure.
other supplements , probiotics are not subject to the same regulations as medications or food. This lack of regulation applies to supplements.
Therefore, it is not always possible to ensure that the probiotic contains the bacteria strains and quantities a product may claim.
Additionally, many bacteria populations in a probiotic supplement may change over time due to storage conditions or temperature fluctuations.
A 2015 study reports very rare cases of unwanted bacteria-host interactions or other side effects of probiotics, usually in immunosuppressed people or those otherwise severely ill. The researchers note that taking supplements always poses some risk and that the safety of probiotics requires further study.
- Form: Powder
The product is suitable for vegans, is gluten-free, and is USDA certified as organic.
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What Is The Best Probiotic For A Woman To Take
For females, in particular, research shows that certain strains of probiotics may be better for helping maintain the health of the female reproductive system and urinary tract. For example, researchers have found that many women whose vaginal canals are colonized by lactobacilli have never had a UTI, compared to women who do not have this strain.
In another 2016 study, treatment with probiotics helped improve and prevent a number of urogenital infections both on its own and together with other treatments.
How To Choose A Probiotic Supplement
There are several factors to consider when shopping for a probiotic for IBS, including:
- CFU count. The term colony forming units refers to the amount of live bacteria that a supplement contains. Most probiotics contain at least 110 billion CFU per serving, but some may have more.
- Composition. Look for a probiotic containing strains of bacteria that have been studied specifically for IBS, such as Lactobacillus plantarum, Lactobacillus acidophilus, and Bifidobacterium infantis .
- Intended use. Some probiotics may be better suited for specific types of IBS, such as IBS with diarrhea , IBS with constipation , or IBS with mixed bowel habits .
- Storage needs. While most probiotics are shelf-stable, some strains are more sensitive to heat and moisture and may require refrigeration.
- Third-party testing. Opting for a probiotic that has undergone third-party testing by an independent lab can help ensure accuracy and quality.
Keep in mind that everyones microbiome is different, so a probiotic that works for one person may not work for another.
Therefore, it may require a bit of trial and error to find a probiotic that fits your needs.
A registered dietitian or other healthcare professional can also provide additional guidance to help you find a probiotic that works for you.
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Probiotics Hold Promise For Preventing Radiation Enteropathy
Adelaide, AustraliaProphylactic probiotics can potentially prevent radiation enteropathy, according to research presented by Matthew A. Ciorba, MD, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Division of Gastroenterology, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO, at the 2016 Multinational Association of Supportive Care in Cancer/International Society of Oral Oncology Annual Meeting on Supportive Care in Cancer.
Probiotics are defined as live microbial organisms, most often bacteria, which confer beneficial effects to their host when consumed. Ideally, if you can prevent the acute toxicities associated with radiation toxicity, you can then prevent the long-term consequences as well, said Dr Ciorba. Only a few published clinical trials have evaluated the relationship between probiotics and radiation injury, but radiation enteropathy is ideally suited for a probiotic intervention.
Radiation Enteropathy and Ideal Gastrointestinal Protectants
Most patients with gastrointestinal cancers receive radiation as part of their therapy. Despite advances in radiotherapy, patients still experience collateral damage to the small intestine and remain at high risk for diarrheal complications after treatment. Therefore, new GI radioprotective agents are needed.
Data suggest that the microbiota have the potential to modify the small intestinal response to radiation injury, and probiotic therapy could address the unmet need for intestinal radioprotectants, he explained.
Probiotics May Give Tamoxifen A Boost In Breast Cancer Treatment
- The human body has distinct microbiomes in several areas, including the breast.
- Most breast cancer tumors are estrogen receptor-positive , changing the breast microbiome to encourage cancer growth.
- Studies show that endocrine-targeted therapy and diet can modify the breast microbiome to reduce breast cancer growth and prevent recurrences.
- Researchers at Wake Forest University in North Carolina found that probiotics may enhance the anticancer activity of tamoxifen and other endocrine-targeted medications.
Next to skin cancer, is the most common cancer among females in the United States.
Two-thirds of breast cancer tumors are
breast cancer is the most common type of breast cancer.
However, research indicates that the breasts unique microbiome changes with diet or the presence of tumors.
Scientists at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, NC, recently discovered that probiotics might amplify the anticancer effect of breast cancer drug tamoxifen, a common endocrine-targeted therapy.
Lead researcher Katherine L. Cook, Ph.D., presented the teams findings at the Endocrine Societys annual conference ENDO 2022 in June. Dr. Cook is an associate professor in the Department of Surgery and Cancer Biology at Wake Forest University School of Medicine.
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Primary And Secondary Outcomes
The primary outcome was the changes in body weight and body-fat percentage of the patients enrolled which were measured 1 day before the first cycle of docetaxel-based chemotherapy and 21 days after the last cycle of docetaxel-based chemotherapy . The body weight of the patients was measured by a designated physician . The body-fat percentage of patients was detected using a fat analyzer . The data were collected through duplicate measurements and the average value was calculated.
1) The fasting blood samples of patients enrolled were collected before and after docetaxel-based chemotherapy. The collected samples were maintained at 4°C and were transported to the clinical laboratory of the hospital immediately for measurement. The data of fasting plasma insulin, plasma glucose and lipids were directly obtained from the Hospital Information System .
2) Plasma metabolites: the fasting blood samples were collected as mentioned above except using anticoagulant tubes. Plasma and lymphocytes isolated from the blood samples were frozen in the refrigerator . Thirty patients were randomly selected before and after docetaxel-based chemotherapy, their fasting blood samples were measured using liquid chromatography coupled with tandem mass spectrometry offered by Biotree biomedical technology co. Ltd, Shanghai, China.
Garden Of Life Dr Formulated Probiotics Platinum Series Restore
- Price: $$$$
This product from Garden of Life boasts 200 billion CFU in each serving, making it one of the highest CFU probiotics on the market.
It contains a blend of 11 probiotics intended to restore gut balance, provide digestive support, and enhance immune function.
Garden of Life also uses a unique packaging process to keep moisture out while also maximizing potency, even without refrigeration.
The company claims its products are third-party tested, though the name of the testing organization for this particular product isnt disclosed.
Keep in mind: This probiotic is a bit pricier than others on our list, and its high CFU count might not be a good fit for everyone.
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Who Is Most At Risk
People with the following conditions or characteristics are at a higher than average risk for developing breast cancer:
- Increased age
- History of cancer in one breast
- History of benign breast disease
- Never giving birth, or first pregnancy after age 30
- Family history of breast cancer
- Early onset of menstruation and late menopause
- High doses of ionizing radiation before age 35
- History of cancer of the colon, thyroid, endometrium, or ovary
- Diets high in animal fat, excessive alcohol consumption, and obesity
- Alterations in certain genes
Despite the relevance of risk factors, 70% to 80% of women with breast cancer have none of the known risk factors.
The Role Of Bacteria In Breast Cancer
Breast cancer is the leading cause of death among women globally. In the United States, 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer. Modern therapeutic approaches include chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and/or surgery, and we are learning that the breast microbiome may play a major role in the effectiveness of such therapies. For example, antibiotics can impact the effectiveness of chemotherapy, and some cancer drugs, such as cyclophosphamide, may depend on health gut flora. As bariatric surgery has been shown to affect the intestinal microbiome, the effects of breast surgery on the breast microbiome are of great interestespecially as more high-risk women choose to undergo prophylactic mastectomy.
Microbes can have a systemic impact, in that they influence the induction, training and function of the immune response and can cause postsurgical infections. Bacterial dysbiosis may also be linked to breast cancer recurrence, particularly for women undergoing breast reconstruction or those who develop post-surgery infections. Some endotoxins, such as TNF, have also been linked to metastatic spread. The breast microbiomemay therefore influence cancer susceptibility and recurrence, and commensal bacteria may influence response to therapy by modulating the tumor microenvironment.
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Prognosis And Possible Complications
Most complications result from surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, or use of the drug tamoxifen, which is effective in preventing recurrence but may increase a woman’s risk of developing endometrial cancer and blood clots. Other potential complications include:
- Restricted shoulder movement
- Increase in size of operative scar
- Inflammation of connective tissue in the affected arm
- Cancerous tumor of the lymphatic vessels in the affected arm
- Accumulation of fluid in the breast swelling of tissue in the arm
- Discoloration of the skin from radiation, or a red spot
- Inflammation of the lung from radiation
- Death of the fat cells underlying the breast tissue
- Recurrence of the disease
Women with breast cancer are also at significantly increased risk of progressive cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis. The prognosis for breast cancer patients depends primarily on the stage, or extent, of the disease at the time of the initial diagnosis. With increased early detection rates and improved treatments, the 5-year survival rate is greater than 85%.
Directions For Future Research
As a preclinical study, this work is subject to some limitations.
Dr. Cook acknowledged the need to see whether or not could be applicable in clinical studies.
Also, as Dr. Peddi noted, the study does not prove causality.
Dr. Cook mentioned that her team is currently looking at using over-the-counter probiotics combined with endocrine-targeted medications to improve outcomes.
This research phase only looked at Lactobacillus effect on the breast microbiome. Dr. Cook said her team is exploring whether all probiotics can alter the breast microbiome.
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Probiotics: Prevention Therapy And Health
Researchers at the University of California San Francisco discussed the human microbiome and breast cancer in a 2017 podcast. Lactobacillus acidophilus, a familiar probiotic found in yogurt and kimchi, can reach the mammary gland and has a number of anti-cancer effects. Women who ingest fermented milk products may experience protective antioxidant effects. Lactobacillus and Lactococcus spp. are more common in healthy breast tissues than in cancerous tissues, and may have a role in breast cancer prevention. For example, Lactobacillus helps to upregulate the immune system and decreases the abundance of C-reactive protein and IL-6, which are pro-inflammatory factors.
Probiotic treatment is correlated with a significant decrease in the abundance of Escherichia coli and a significant increase in Bifidobacterium, a beneficial gut bacterium. The interplay between gut microbiomes and breast microbiomes have important consequences for breastfeedingstudies suggest that a breastfeeding mothers gut microbiome has an important role in immune education in her infant. While much is known about breast milk microbiomes, separate sites within the breast have unique microbiome signatures. As stated previously, these microbes reside within breast tissue regardless of a history of infection or lactation.
What Is The Microbiome
âI like to define it as a collection of microorganisms that live in and on us,â explains Nadim Ajami, MD, executive director of the Program for Innovative Microbiome and Translational Research at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. Itâs the bacteria, fungi, parasites, and viruses in your gut and elsewhere that are so numerous and so important, many experts consider them to be like another organ or even a second brain. In total, they may weigh as much as 5 or 6 pounds.
The microbiome in your gut is the best known, but itâs not the only one. There are universes of tiny organisms all over your body, including your skin, urine, and yes, your breast and even breast milk. Most of these critters are âgoodâ and are heavily involved in keeping our immune system in shape to fight off invaders, Ajami says. The good organisms also take up space that, if left vacant, might be occupied by bad players.
When something upsets the balance — a condition called dysbiosis — trouble can follow in the form of long-term health conditions, including cancer. Dysbiosis also drives the inflammation thatâs behind many diseases.
In general, a healthy microbiome is a diverse microbiome, especially in the gut. âThe higher the number of bacteria, the better it is for health,â Ajami says.
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Gi Bacteria And Its Role In The Breast Cancer Tumorigenesis
GI bacteria plays an important role in the modulation, reabsorption, enterohepatic circulation, and modulation of systemic estrogens.31-33 The GI bacteria has an association with estrogen levels through secretion of -glucuronidase, an enzyme that deconjugates estrogen to its free, biologically active form available for tissue uptake. The increase in the amount of free estrogens for reabsorption contributes to the risk of development of hormone-driven malignancies such as BC.34 Interestingly, – glucuronidase prevalence was also found in the nipple aspirate fluid of BC survivors.35 Data on the role -glucuronidase and other fecal enzymes in BC risk are yet limited.
Alcohol consumption alters the composition of the colonic microbiome in rats.46 There is an extensive information alcohol consumption increases the risk of ER-positive BC in postmenopausal women.47-51 A recent study showed a positive association between alcohol consumption and endogenous estrogen levels and mammographic density in premenopausal women.52 Similarly, alcohol intake after BC diagnosis is associated with both increased risk of recurrence and death.53 Both GI anaerobic and aerobic bacteria are present at higher levels in subjects with chronic alcohol abuse and alcoholic cirrhosis compared with healthy controls.54-56
What To Expect At Your Provider’s Office
If you have symptoms associated with breast cancer, see your health care provider immediately. Your provider can help make a diagnosis and help you determine which treatment or combination of therapies will work best for you.
Your provider will do a breast exam and run some laboratory tests, including:
- A study of breast tissue and genetic testing
- Imaging techniques such as mammography, ultrasound, magnetic resonance imaging
- Methods that help distinguish a cyst from a tumor or make a distinction between cancerous and noncancerous disease.
Studies suggest that ultrasound is also effective for differentiating between a cystic breast mass and a solid tumor. Nuclear imaging techniques like positron emission tomography and single photon emission tomography may help physicians monitor the growth of tumors. Your doctor may also recommend a surgical biopsy to determine which type of breast cancer you have.
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