March is Colon Cancer Awareness MonthCan probiotics help prevent colon cancer?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States and the third most common cancer in men and women.
The majority of these cases could have been prevented if people followed the recommended screening tests. Currently, only about 50% of people aged 50 or older have these tests performed.
Causes of Colon Cancer
In most cases, it’s not clear what causes colon cancer. Recently, there have been a number of scientific articles on how inflammation in the colon can contribute to the development of colon cancer.
Colon cancer occurs when healthy cells in the colon become damaged by inflammation. Healthy cells grow and divide in an orderly way, but sometimes this growth gets out of control. Over a period of time some of these abnormal cells may become cancerous.
The following are some interesting observations that give insight to the causes of colon cancer:
- The incidence of colon cancer is far higher in developed countries than in developing countries because Western diets are rich in red meat, saturated fats, and processed sugars.
- Our intestinal bacteria influence our health, and the scientific research proving this is rapidly expanding.
- Studies have found there are more bacteria producing potential carcinogens (cancer-causing agents) when exposed to a typical Western diet.
- These carcinogens cause an inflammatory reaction in the intestinal lining cells, which damages the cell’s DNA and increases the risk for developing cancers cells.
- Some strains of intestinal bacteria have been shown to inhibit carcinogen-induced colon tumor development in research studies.
- Bolstering the body’s balance of intestinal bacteria may help prevent colon cancer.
Lower the Risk of Colon Cancer
Based on the information above, here are a few suggestions:
- Start taking a high quality probiotic that contains multi bacterial strains and multispecies of bacteria. Studies suggest a daily dosage of at least 8-10 billion.
- Adhere to a healthy diet containing high fiber, fruits and vegetables, and lean meats, particularly fish and chicken.
- Exercise vigorously for 30 minutes at least 5 days a week.
- Maintain an ideal body weight.
- Start colon cancer screening, preferably with a colonoscopy at age 50.
- Start earlier if you have a family history of colon cancer, ongoing gastrointestinal symptoms, or a change in stool habits or see blood in your stool.
Colon cancer is treatable if found in its early stages. Visit your healthcare provider to arrange for the appropriate screening. Follow a healthy diet and lifestyle. And take a high quality probiotic like EndoMune that contains 10 bacterial strains. A serving size of two capsules provides 16 billion healthy bacterial colonies!
Eat healthy, exercise, take EndoMune and live well!
Lawrence J. Hoberman MD