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Chris Woolmams / Catherine Woollams
Different cancers linked to different gut bacteria
All cancer begins in the gut.

It was actually Hippocrates who first said that ´All illness begins in the gut´. It is no surprise then that cancer has now been firmly linked to your gut health.

What?!!? Well, gut bacteria have been linked to prostate cancer; in breast cancer some good bacteria go missing, and in oesophageal cancer, the microbiome in your mouth can put you at higher or lower risk, depending on which ones are in abundance. 
The gut, which houses trillions of bacteria, plays a role in preventing or developing cancer, with early evidence for breast, pancreatic, liver, esophageal, brain, stomach and colorectal cancers. It is not just that specific bacteria are involved, it is that your microbiome can make you ill, or make you well. You need to keep it in full health. This article is based on a chapter in our best-selling book, ´Heal your Gut - Heal your Body´, which explains more about the core issues for all illnesses and, in particular, it explains how to effectively rebuild your gut health.


Your microbiome - the largest organ in your body
You have 90 trillion gut bacteria. You only have 7 trillion cells yourself. They outnumber you 13 to 1.

They have at least 75,000 genes, you have just 25,000. They ‘make’ three times more compounds, proteins and messages than you make.

38 per cent of the small molecules circulating in your blood stream right now were made by your gut bacteria. They control your biochemistry - both your physical health and your mental health; they keep you working; they keep you healthy. Or they can make you ill.

Add it all together. You are an interdependent ´Super-organism´ of 100,000 genes and 100 trillion cells!

Your gut microbiome can keep you healthy or make you ill
For three years 200 scientists all over the USA, backed by nearly $180 million from the National Institutes of Health, took part in The Human Microbiome Project. Research is consistent. Your microbiome gets ill first, then you get ill. And you can’t get fully better, until your microbiome returns to health. 

Your gut bacteria get ill? What does that mean? You lose diversity; and you lose volume.

If healthy, you might normally have about 800 types (species, genus) of bacteria in your gut. Within each type you have different strains. So in all you have several thousand different gut bacteria. Within your gut you have good guys (commensal bacteria), making highly helpful and even essential compounds; but you also have bad guys (pathogens or even parasites), making chemicals that can be toxic, and even carcinogenic.

Go To: Chris Woollams Probio8 Max - a super probiotic 

In a healthy individual the commensal bacteria outnumber the pathogens 90:10. That doesn’t mean all the bad guys disappear. Some stay in small numbers, held in check by the good guys.

How does your microbiome become ill?
Typically when you take an antibiotic or a chemotherapy drug, or a Proton Pump Inhibitor, you damage your microbiome. The commensal bacteria lose their dominance. Even a seemingly harmless 5-day course of antibiotics will cause dramatic effects. The commensal bacteria start to die off after just two days – they are fragile. But pathogens are more hardy – some can survive 8 weeks of a triple dose of antibiotics. The net result? The loss of diversity and numbers in the good bacteria; which allows the rise of the bad.

Says Chris Woollams, "One of my biggest concerns isn´t just how people develop cancer because they have a damaged microbiome. I worry about after they have had surgery (with all the antibiotics) and chemo (with steroids). After it all ends, someone mutters the words ´All Clear´ and the patient goes home. But if they don´t rebuild their gut, the cancer is far more likely to return!" 

Go to our new Book: Heal your Gut - Heal your Body

It would be easy to blame unknowing doctors for prescribing drugs like sweets. Unfortunately, some 90 per cent of antibiotics are destined for livestock. Antibiotics are in mass-market meats aplenty.

Also, the microbiome disruption may not be caused by drugs; it may be caused by anything that changes the pH (acidity/alkalinity) inside the gut – so, for example, smoking, too much salt, sugar, pickled foods, too much drinking on holiday, and/or (especially) stress, or it may be caused by a parasite.

A damaged microbiome means an unhealthy body
Your good bacteria build a staggering 85 per cent of a healthy immune system and the immune memory. Destroy the good guys and you destroy your immune system.

At night while you sleep, the commensal bacteria eat roughly 2.2 pounds of yeasts that came into your body with every mouthful of food and drink during the day. Commensal bacteria are your first line of defence against yeasts like candida..

Go to: Can candida cause cancer?

Commensal bacteria also hold the pathogens in check. This may be by producing Lactic Acid to stop them growing and dividing, or it may be by direct attack where their chemicals kill the pathogens.

Some pathogens may be out and out parasites; the one you picked up on holiday in Morocco or India. They will drain you, weaken your body, and produce toxins, some of which may well be carcinogens.

According to Maryland Medical School,  pathogens and parasites can remain in your body for over 20 years, but then come out to play when your commensal bacteria are compromised. So you need a dominance of commensal bacteria and to ensure you have no parasites.

Gut bacteria MAKE things you need to be healthy
Commensal bacteria MAKE your B vitamins (which control DNA replication), they make your vitamin K (which helps keep your liver and bones strong), they regulate your blood sugar and your oxygenating glutathione levels.

They make short chain esters, which control your blood triglyceride levels (high blood fat levels have been associated with shorter survival times in cancer) and short chain esters, which control inflammation in your gut and then throughout your body (and chronic inflammation leads to more metastases). They make melatonin, serotonin and dopamine.

"Go here to buy: Practitioner strength probiotic scientifically designed by Chris to help heal your gut´ 


How can you tell your microbiome is damaged?
What are the most common signs of microbiome disruption? Flatulence, bloating after meals, thrush, cystitis, skin problems, eczema, acne, allergies, night sweats, diarrhea, constipation, irregular bowel movements, stomach cramps, bad breath, mouth ulcers, fatigue, unexplained tiredness, loss of appetite, a sweet tooth and sugar cravings are typical. But it could be more - too many colds or bouts of ‘flu’; repeated cold sores, being slow to heal; easy to bruise; ear or eye infections; persistent sore throats; or a persistent niggly cough.

Or you have an ´illness´  - food intolerances, fibromyalgia, persistent acne, psoriasis, chronic fatigue syndrome, lupus, high blood pressure, asthma or even diabetes. Odds are that you have a yeast, a pathogen or a parasite winning the day in your gut. Get rid of it!

Go to: Chris Woollams´ Para-Free Plus - an all natural parasite and yeast killer plus colon cleanse 

Or, you have developed a chronic illness such as Parkinson’s, the first signs of dementia, arthritis, cardiovascular disease or cancer.


1. Colorectal cancer linked to gut health
If you have an unhealthy microbiome, you are likely to develop gut ‘diseases’ like IBS, Crohn’s, lupus and more. Wouldn’t you think that you might have more risk of colorectal cancer too?

Brian Coombes and his team at McMaster University presented research in October 2016, showing that people who had suffered from food poisoning once in their lives (Salmonella, Listeria, or something you picked up on an exotic holiday), still showed adherent-invasive E. coli (AIEC) growth even after the original causal bacteria was cleared from the body. This could be because the original pathogen damaged a commensal bacterium, which also keeps E.coli in check, or the drugs taken did. Either way, E. coli could slowly take hold over the next 10 to 20 years.

As a result, there was then a much higher risk of Crohn’s disease (abdominal pain, diarrhoea, cramps) and, subsequently, a greater risk of colorectal cancer plus a reduced life expectancy.

In Europe, we are now doing more and more work of our own on the microbiome. One study, the SYNCAN study and still not half way through as yet, is looking at colorectal cancer and the microbiome.

Researchers have already found and announced that people diagnosed with colon cancer have less diversity and volume in the different beneficial bacteria in their gut than healthy people. And the bacteria they do have, feature more harmful strains (Journal of the National Cancer Institute, December 2013).

For the first time, we found that colorectal cancer patients have a different gut bacteria composition than healthy subjects,” said study author Jiyoung Ahn, an assistant professor of epidemiology at the NYU School of Medicine in New York.

Researchers found an increased presence of a bad guy - the inflammation-causing Fusobacterium, which is known to produce chemicals that turn on a receptor, which causes cancer. Patients also had lowered levels of a specific strain of Clostridia, in this case a commensal bacterium known to help control glucose levels throughout the body by binding with certain foods.

Go To: Gut bacteria and colorectal cancer

This is interesting because 2016 research by the Broad Institute, Harvard, showed that antibiotics given to very young children could also cause them to lose glucose control and develop auto-immune disease.

John’s Hopkins Kimmel Center showed in 2009, that glucose starvation might restrict colorectal cancer growth; while a second study showed metformin, the diabetes drug which controls blood sugar, could increase survival times. Clearly these two approaches might compensate for the lost Clostridium commensal bacterium.

The SYNCAN study has also shown that people who take a daily probiotic reduce their risk of colorectal cancer.

2. Pancreatic cancer cancer linked to gut health
Gum disease, or periodontitis is being studied for its links to cancer and other diseases. At the moment, no one is sure whether it is causal or indicative. Bacteria collect on the teeth and, if not flossed or brushed away, they can get below the gum line and into the blood stream if bleeding gums is an issue. Around 30 per cent of American adults suffer from this condition.

NYU Langone Medical Center researchers have found that people whose oral microbiomes contain Porphyromonas gingivalis have a 59 per cent greater risk of developing pancreatic cancer than those whose microbiomes did not contain the bacterium. Similarly, people with oral microbiomes containing Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans were at least 50 percent more likely overall to develop the disease. These two bacteria are linked to periodontitis and inflammation of the gums.

3. Oesophageal and liver cancers linked to gut health
Researchers at the Louisiana School of Dentistry have found another gum disease bacterium, Porphyromomas gingivalis, in the cancerous tissue of 61 per cent of patients with ‘esophageal squamous cell carci’ (ESCC) patients, but it was undetectable in healthy patients (Infectious Agents and Cancer).

In a meta-study from NYU Langone Health´ Perlmutter Cancer Center, scientists showed a 21% increased risk of esophageal cancer if Tanerella forsythia (a bacterium linked to gum disease was present in the mouth.  

Links have also been made to liver cancer. Of course, with the findings that the composition of the microbiome in one area of the body is indicative of the composition in all the areas, it is easy to understand a more widespread danger.

4. Breast cancer linked to gut health
Until 2014 scientists had no reason to believe that bacteria might play any role at all in breast cancer.  But then a Canadian, Dr. Gregor Reid, a scientist at Lawson Health Research Institute, felt that this since mothers impart bacteria to their children from breast milk, and the longer a mother breast feeds the more protection she gives herself, maybe there were bacterial factors at work in breast cancer. Sure enough, Dr. Reid and his doctoral student Camilla Urbaniak from Western University, Ontario, Canada, showed that your breasts do have their own set of live bacteria – their own microbiome.

A second study (June 24th 2016 Applied and Environmental Microbiology) by these same researchers looked at how the bacteria in cancerous breasts differ from those in healthy breasts. They compared 13 women with benign tumours to 45 who needed lumpectomies or mastectomies, and 23 women who were healthy.

Women with breast cancer had much higher levels of E. coli and Staphylococcus epidermidis, both known to induce double-stranded breaks in DNA in cultured human cells (HeLa cells). "Double-strand breaks are the most detrimental type of DNA damage and are caused by genotoxins, reactive oxygen species, and ionizing radiation”.

Not surprisingly, Lactobacillus and Streptococcus, thought of as health-promoting bacteria, were more prevalent in the healthy breasts. Both bacteria are known to protect against cancer. For example, Streptococcus thermophilus produces compounds with anti-oxidant properties known to neutralise compounds which can cause DNA damage, and thus, cancer.

A study by the Cleveland Clinic showed that breast cancer tissue had lost a ´good bacterium´, Methylobacterium. The urine of women with breast cancer showed much higher levels of gram positive pathogenic bacteria.

Already, researchers in Spain have shown that oral Lactobacillus probiotics taken during mastitis can find their way to breast tissue inside 24 hours – maybe the certain probiotics could correct breast cancer? Or maybe killing off pathogens like E. coli could too? Or, is that a bridge too far?

5. Prostate cancer linked to inflammatory bacteria

Prostate cancer has often been linked to inflammation. The TH Chan Public School of Health in Boston has conducted several studies. In 2013, Helicobacter hepaticus was linked to prostate cancer and worse, infected mice could give it to uninfected mice!

Because polyphenols are known to be very protective, researchers then looked at which bacteria were promoted by a polyphenol diet. They found that healthy mice had high levels of Faecalibacterium praunitzii and Eubacterium rectalie, but those with benign conditions or early stage prostate cancer had much higher levels of Bacteriodes massiliensis.

6. Brain cancer linked to gut health

A bacterium called Borrelia bergdorferi has been shown by Dr. Alan B MacDonald to be in every one of five brain tumour patients he examined. It is the bacterium which is the principal cause of Lyme Disease.

7. Stomach cancer is linked to gut health

An excess of a bacterium called Helicobacter pylori has been linked to stomach ulcers, acid reflux and stomach cancer.

Your gut bacteria can increase or decrease cancer risk
In 2017, Dr. Meredith Huller of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center confirmed this gut bacteria role saying that gut bacteria and diet could increase or decrease cancer risk; for example, gut bacteria feeding on broccoli produce compounds that greatly reduce risk.

Huller also named Fusobacterium nucleatum, certain types of E. coli and Streptococcus gallolyticus, as well as communities of bacteria that congregate to form layers in the gut that are called ´biofilms´, as increasing cancer risk.

You are a super-organism that needs to be completely well
You are, in fact, a ‘Super-organism’ of 100,000 genes and 100 million cells. It is quite wrong to think of your body as a separate entity to this world of bacteria living with you. Already, Doctors in America and Australia have been using Faecal Enemas, made from the stools of healthy people, to regenerate a healthy microbiome in the guts of the sick. And, so far, it works! In fact, it’s not new. Dr. Josef Issels was doing it in his German clinic in 1951 – he used it as part of his early ‘immunotherapy’ treatment. He was dubbed a ‘quack’ at the time.

Now, probiotic supplements have been shown to improve the effectiveness of common chemotherapy and even the new cancer immunotherapy drugs. How the world goes full circle.

Extract taken from our new book Heal your Gut - Heal your Body´, which tells people very clearly how they can rebuild a healthy microbiome in ways proven by research.

Go To: Our book: ‘Heal Your Gut – Heal Your Body´

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