Recent studies report that when a person’s gut bacteria is compromised chemotherapy may not work as well. Although it is not completely understood how our gut bacteria makes chemotherapy work better, one study found has indicated that chemotherapy can cause our gut to become leaky, which enables intestinal bacteria to enter the bloodstream and the lymph nodes. Once in the lymph nodes, these bacteria stimulate our immune system and enhance the body’s ability to fight cancer.
These findings are pretty profound, as it was not previously known that the health of our intestinal flora might be an important factor that could tip the balance for patients on whether their cancer treatment is effective or not.
There are many things that can negatively impact the health of our gut flora, so it seems quite compelling to do everything we can to maintain these ‘good’ organisms. One simple recommendation for clients going through cancer treatment is to encourage them to consume plenty of probiotic and prebiotic foods or take a probiotic supplement every day as a means to help support their gut health. Please note that all products recommended need to be ‘okayed’ by the client’s medical professional.
Probiotics are edible products containing ‘good’ bacteria that normally live in our intestines. You can either consume probiotic rich foods (kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, yogurt, miso soup, natto, pickles, tempeh, spirulina algae, etc.) or take a high quality probiotic supplement with numerous species of ‘good’ bacteria.
Prebiotics are non-digestible fibers that serve as the food to keep your ‘good’ bacteria healthy. You can either consume prebiotic rich foods (asparagus, garlic, leek, onion, artichoke, etc.) or take a supplement.