The Probiotic That Can Fight Cancerous Tumors
They say that over 70% of the immune system is in the gut. Now, science confirms it.
Researchers found that certain gut bacteria actively help you fight off tumors. They specifically tested Bifidobacterium pseudolongum, Lactobacillus johnsonii and Olsenella species, and found that intestinal B. pseudolongum particularly enhanced defense against tumors.
The scientists credit B. pseudolongum’s ability to produce a particular compound, inosine, with its ability to fight tumors.
These findings are exciting because of the possibilities for biologists to leverage these bacterial strains to develop immunotherapies and eventually come closer to a cure for cancer. This strain, in particular, can be grown outside the body and made into a supplement capsule. Or, scientists may turn to the inosine itself and try to manufacture it for therapeutic use.
What is your microbiome?
Your microbiome, aka gut bacteria, aka microflora, aka friendly bacteria all refer to the same thing – the complex ecosystem of viruses, bacteria, and fungi that inhabit your digestive tract. You also have a microbiome in your lungs, on your skin, in your mouth, and even in your eyes. You probably hear about the microbiome in your gut most often.
When in balance, your gut flora help you break down indigestible components of food, and produce nutrients that your body needs as byproducts. These microorganisms also feed off of harmful bacteria, viruses, and fungi that make you sick.
In recent years, the medical community has learned about the microbiome’s many superpowers. A healthy, diverse flora in your gut can help you sleep, improve your breathing, keep unhealthy bacteria in check, protect your brain, and it can mean the difference between overall health and disease. Your digestive tract is probably the most influential system with regard to your health.
How do you support your gut microbiome?
A healthy microbiome is a diverse microbiome. Supporting as many species of microbes as possible ensures that no one strain takes over and causes problems, and ensures that you’re not missing out on the most beneficial strains.
How do you increase diversity in your gut flora?
How you live largely determines the profile of the ecosystem of your microbiome. There are several things you can do, and avoid doing, to support it.
Eat what the friendly flora eat
What you eat feeds you and your gut microbes. So, eating a lot of different foods, especially vegetables, ensures that all species have the nutrients available to help them grow.
Eating lots of fiber and resistant starch is always a good idea, and it’s especially beneficial to your microbiome.
It goes both ways. The foods that you know aren’t good for you, like sugar and processed foods, allow harmful strains to proliferate and suppress helpful species. You’ll want to avoid the foods that you know push you away from your health goals, instead of toward them, because those same foods push you away from gut health.
Even one bad night’s sleep has been shown to throw off your gut microbes. To ensure gut-happy sleep, be sure to:
- Get a good amount of physical activity during the day
- Take some time away from devices at the end of the day
- Avoid stressful news, work emails, etc. at the end of the day to quiet your mind
- Restrict your caffeine consumption to mornings only
- Consider a magnesium supplement if you feel wired in the evenings
- Head to bed at a reasonable hour, even if you’re not feeling sleepy
Be smart about antibiotics
Antibiotics don’t choose harmful bacteria and leave the friendly ones untouched. They indiscriminately kill them all – the good guys, and the bad guys.
Some people take antibiotics several times a year for minor ails that would probably resolve on their own. That’s bad news for your gut – it takes time to rebuild a healthy microbiome.
Antibiotics certainly have their place and can halt serious infections and prevent devastating complications. By all means, take them when you need them. But for minor things, always ask your doctor if it’s necessary and what will happen if you wait.
Choose organic when you can
Agricultural sprays and antibiotics make their way into your food, which alters the delicate ecosystem in your gut. As much as possible, choose organic so that you’re getting all of the goodness in your food without the compounds that harm you.