The importance of gut bacteria in fighting cancer

Vitamins, minerals, natural compounds and supplements

The importance of gut bacteria to your good health and in fighting cancer 

There’s a problem, you might call it an ’inconvenient truth’. Just when you need your gut to be healthy, in order to make YOU healthy (and better able to fight cancer), orthodox medicine ruins it. Indeed, orthodox medicine, particularly the chemotherapy drugs, antibiotics and steroids, can reduce your plasma vitamin D levels, kill off essential gut bacteria and increase chronic inflammation in your body. Three things you really don’t need to happen when you are fighting cancer. 

1. Over 80 clinical trials and more than 8,000 research studies have been conducted in the last half a dozen years or so on the essential role of Beneficial Bacteria in your good health. Perhaps the biggest study was The Human Microbiome Project in America. Your oncologist should know all about it, but may not know a thing. We have even had UK oncologists saying ’it’s all a load of rubbish’ to patients.

2. Scientists believe over 800 species of bacteria inhabit your gut and they have already named over 400 species. Within each species there can be ten or more strains. Some strains can really help you, while other strains cause problems. There’s a strain of Clostridium that binds with fibre and sugar, to help control your blood sugar, while another (Clostridium difficile) can cause chronic gut problems, diarrhoea, and even death. 

3. Your gut bacteria number about 90 trillion - but you only have 7 trillion cells - they outnumber you 13 to 1. They have 75,000 genes; you only have 25,000. They can therefore make three times as many proteins, chemical compounds and messages, as you make. At any one time, 38 per cent of the molecules in the your blood come from their genes not yours! They control your biochemistry - your physical well-being and your mental state too. As Hippocrates said, "All illness begins in the gut".

Go to: All cancer begins in the gut

4. Scientists understand that babies born naturally to healthy mothers pick up their first bacteria when passing through their mother’s birth canal. And these bacteria are largely different strains of the species Bifidobacterium. These defend you during your first 6 months of your life. They can attack pathogens, but also make helpful compounds essential to babies’ health, like vitamin B and vitamin K. Mother’s breast milk also provides Bifidobacterium strains.

5. Babies then pick up new bacteria from all around them - the air they breathe, Dad’s first kiss, touching the neighbour’s dog and then sucking their fingers. Babies, at the outset, have over 95 per cent of their bacteria as Bifido strains. On mother’s milk, their guts are highly acidic (about 5.5 pH). This acidity protects against pathogen infection. By adulthood, and with poor Western diets, only 5 per cent of gut bacteria are Bifido strains and the pH has risen to about 7. 

6. As baby gains new bacteria, another early population is Lactic Acid Bacteria - these you may know from your yoghurt - they ferment milk products, and make lactic acid. Again, this increases acidity, lowers pH and controls pathogens in the gut. Strains of Lactobacillus (like L. acidophilus) are thus helpful to you. One, L. rhamnosus, actually encourages the development of good bacterial populations and lowers levels of pathogens. It’s like an orchestra conductor. It also helps strengthen, and even heal, the gut lining.

7. The crucial fact is that as a child picks up bacteria, there is an important reaction to each. White cells come to attack them. Beneficial (commensal) bacteria thus strengthen your immune system, particularly stimulating the production of immunoglobulins, cytokines and Natural Killer cells. The white cells are ’tailored’ in their response to each invader. Kids growing up on farms and those with pets in the home have stronger immune systems because they pick up a more diverse set of bacteria. This ’System’ is with you for life. Response to your gut bacteria comprises 85 per cent of the immune system; 85 per cent of your ’Immune Memory’. It protects you just as long as you do nothing to damage it.

8. One hundred years ago, we used to top up the good bacteria in our bodies all the time - with unpasteurised cheese, fermented foods like sauerkraut and so on. But pasteurisation, sterilisation and irradiation of food have ended much of that. Health Authorities believe we need to be protected from bacteria.

9. At any one time, we have a spectrum of bacteria in our gut. About 90 per cent are called ’commensal’, because they make good and useful compounds. About 10 per cent can be called pathogens - they make toxic, sometimes even carcinogenic, compounds.

10. So what do the good bacteria do, apart from build your immune system and keep your pathogens in check? At night time they eat your yeasts - the ones that come in to your body with each mouthful of food and drink. If they are not there, then nothing defends you. The yeasts can grow unchecked in the gut. Their roots punch holes in the gut wall (leaky gut) and molecules of food cross into the blood stream. They poison you - they make you feel tired for no reason. They can cause inflammation in the body. But if you eat gluten, this can get worse. Gluten turns on an enzyme called zonulin, which makes the holes get bigger. Now yeasts can get into the blood stream. Then they can debilitate you, sitting on cells and stopping messages going in and out. They can even colonise areas of the body - they are anaerobes and reduce local levels of oxygen. Ever felt tired for no reason, had thrush, mouth ulcers, cystitis, bloating after meals, a sweet tooth? That’s an excess of yeasts.

Go to: Our best selling book: Heal your Gut - Heal your body

11. The good bacteria also make essential compounds; they make your B vitamins - folic acid and B-12 are crucial to correct DNA replication, niacin even kills cancer cells. They make vitamin K - it protects your liver and helps vitamin D ’arm’ your T-cells so they can attack cancer cells. They make short-chain esters that prevent the build up of triglycerides in the blood (and high triglycerides are linked to increased metastases and lowered cancer survival.  Some short-chain esters increase levels of anti-inflammatory molecules both in the gut and all over your body.

12. Good bacteria are also essential for good communication in your body - they affect all manner of hormones. They make compounds like glutathione, melatonin and serotonin. Bad bacteria like Fusobacterium (found in colorectal cancers) make compounds that turn on receptors which cause cancer. Another, E.coli, has been found in every sample of breast tissue. Then there are bad bacteria on your gums which if not dealt with by your good gut bacteria link to all manner of illnesses from pancreatic cancer to heart disease. Others are linked to Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. 

13. It is ESSENTIAL that your gut microbiome is kept in first class health. One conclusion from the American Microbiome Project was that ’your gut gets ill first, then you get ill. And you can’t get better until your gut gets better’! Professor Paul O’Toole of the Microbiome Institute in Cork believes that a damaged microbiome could most certainly cause cancer and that the gut is constantly having to deal with attacks coming through the mouth.

14. So, what damaged your microbiome? Typically it is drugs (particularly Proton Pump inhibitors) and antibiotics. Do you remember the five days of antibiotics you took for the ear infection, or was it tonsillitis? Some women had two years on acne creams in their late teens. Some people had successive years of antibiotics when they were young. It destroyed the strength of their microbiome, just as it was forming.

15. In many cases - yes, really - we see patients with a parasite. Geoff Boycott had a parasite poisoning him, which led to his tongue cancer. A lady with Grade 4 ovarian actually had three different parasites on testing - imagine the toxic load being produced every day in the body by those! A study in America showed that every brain tumour studied had evidence of a parasite present. Helicobacter pylori, a bacterium, plays a part in stomach cancer. 

16. So, it is quite possible to have parasites - bad bacteria, microbes, yeasts and even viruses inside your body. Maryland University Medical School say they can lie dormant in your body for 20 years or more.Why would they suddenly come out to play? Because you damage your microbiome again. Again it can be a drug, a short course of antibiotics - it reduces the strength (the diversity and volume) of the good bacteria and allows the yeasts, pathogens and parasites out to play, unchecked.

17. Ok. So, there’s a scenario for how you might weaken your immune system, reduce your essential vitamins, increase inflammatory molecules and increase the poisons in your body. And that might well set up pre-cancer conditions.

Go to: Chris Woollams’ Para-Free Plus

18. But there is another way you could allow the bad guys to come out to play. You set up the situation yourself. You cause a lowered population of commensal bacteria and a weaker immune system. You don’t feed them the high fibre diet they love.You change the pH of the gut so they don’t grow properly, or multiply at the best rate. Too much sugar, too much salt, too many pickles, smoking, binge drinking and stress will all alter the pH of the microbiome. 

19. What if you have cancer; what role does the microbiome play then? Well, of course it is in deep trouble. Just when you need the B vitamins, or the vitamin K to sstrengthen your liver, or the melatonin producers (melatonin is a big antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compound), the orthodox treatments cause mayhem. Worse, research shows they greatly reduce vitamin D levels just when you need them to be high. And they cause inflammation directly and by killing commensal bacteria that make anti-inflammatory molecules; inflammation is a condition loved by cancer - it helps cancer spread. 

20. Perhaps the newest and biggest ’Inconvenient Truth’ is that there are several studies in the last two years showing your gut bacteria are essential in making your drugs work better - there’s research for doxorubicin, cyclophosphamide and several of the new immunotherapy drugs. Be clear: they each destroy exactly what they need to help them work more effectively!

A daily probiotic can actually help a little, especially if it contains Lactic Acid Bacteria, Bifido strains (B. infantis helps correct IBS, for example) and L. rhamnosus, for the reasons above. But, if you are on chemotherapy, you are ’running up a down escalator’. A yeast killer will reduce one toxic load - caprylic acid, oregano oil, or artemisinin can be useful. Of course, it would help if you also knocked out any pathogenic bacteria and parasites - why leave the cause still there, intact?

If your gut has been compromised, you must rebuild your gut before you develop a chronic illness.

If you have cancer, it is essential you ’Heal your Gut and Heal your Body’ as soon as you can.

Go to: Our best selling book: Heal your Gut - Heal your body

Further reading

People also read:

All Cancer begins in the gut - covering which cancers are now know to have real gut bacteria connections

Please be clear: At CANCERactive we do not consider the above compound to be a cure for cancer, despite what the research says or experts doing the research may claim. The above, is an article on the compound from published research and expert opinion in the public domain. At CANCERactive we do not believe that any single compound (drug, vitamin, whatever) is a cure for cancer. We believe that people can significantly increase their personal odds of survival by building an Integrated Programme of treatments. Equally, cancer prevention is best practiced through a width of measures.

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