​Probiotics and Their Effect on Colon Cancer

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March is Colon Cancer Awareness Month. 

We are now halfway through, but this doesn’t mean the awareness needs to come to an end anytime soon. Colon Cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths, which is why it is rather important that we try all we can when it comes to preventing the disease. That could be by having regular screenings after the age of 50, maintaining high fiber diets, or consuming probiotics.

Did you know probiotics play a valuable part in helping prevent colon cancer? People tend to try to avoid bacteria at all costs. However, probiotics are made up of multiple strains of good bacteria that help your digestive tract. According to the Colon Cancer Alliance, probiotics alter the growth process of tumor cells. The prebiotics, aka the fuel for probiotics, found in carbohydrates, like oatmeal, ferment in the colon and produce short-chain fatty acids, which contain anti-cancer properties.

BioMed Central states that probiotics alter the intestinal microflora, inactivate cancerogenic compounds, compete with putrefactive and pathogenic microbiota, and overall improve the consumer’s immune response. This is important because those microorganisms found in the intestinal tract benefit us by collecting the energy from the fermentation of the prebiotics previously mentioned.

The consumption of probiotics in the form of fermented milk products, such as cheese and/or yogurt, inhibits the mutations of DNA that lead to tumor growth. According to the US National Library of Medicine, the stimulated growth of bifidobacteria- found in probiotics- could lead to the inhibition of colon carcinogenesis, which is the initiation of the cancer formation.

Overall, maintaining a healthy colon is crucial to avoiding colon cancer. Incorporate prebiotics and probiotics, which are harmonious, to your daily dietary intake. This could be done by consuming more yogurt- either on it’s own or add them into your favorite smoothie, being that yogurt is rich in healthy bacteria for your digestive tract. You can also try switching out your sugar for honey instead. Honey is a natural sweetener, which contains high probiotic properties. 

So remember, with a combination of high fiber foods, prebiotic-rich carbohydrates, and probiotics, you will help aid in the prevention of colon cancer!


References

  • BMC Surgery201212(Suppl 1):S35 DOI: 10.1186/1471-2482-12-S1-S35 © Uccello et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. 2012 Published: 15 November 2012.
  • Liong M-T. Roles of Probiotics and Prebiotics in Colon Cancer Prevention: Postulated Mechanisms and In-vivo Evidence. International Journal of Molecular Sciences. 2008;9(5):854-863. doi:10.3390/ijms9050854.
  • "Probiotics and the Colon, a Perfect Fit." Live Your Best Life. N.p., n.d. Web. 08 Apr. 2014.

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