Your ability to maintain a diverse, thriving gut microbiome by eating the right foods, using antibiotics only when you must and taking a multi-species probiotic ensures it is capable of protecting your overall health even when the worst case scenarios happen.
A growing number of studies are showing how gut health is an important part in helping chemotherapy and anti-tumor drugs do their job to eradicate cancer.
No gut bacteria, no luck
A pair of studies cited in a 2014 American Cancer Society report compared the effect of specific kinds of cancer therapies — drugs, immunotherapy and platinum chemotherapy — based on its effect on germ-free mice lacking gut bacteria or animals treated with antibiotics.
No surprise, in both studies, these cancer-fighting weapons were much more effective with mice that had good gut health.
The results were most apparent in a study conducted by the French Institute of Health and Medical Research in testing the cancer drug cyclophosphamide.
In this study, researchers discovered cyclophosphamide worked best in healthier bodies because the drug affected the composition of their microbiomes that generates more immune cells and eliminates tumors.
The importance of gut health diversity before chemo
A more recent study, a collaboration by researchers at M.D. Anderson’s Infectious Diseases department and the Alkek Center for Metagenomics and Microbiome Research at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, shows how gut diversity can be so vital to the health of cancer patients even before they begin induction chemotherapy.
Scientists examined stool and oral samples taken from 34 patients with acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) at three-day intervals during a 26-day course of chemotherapy.
Also, all patients were given antibiotics, no friend to good gut health, at least five times over more than six days. The concern: Physicians treat neutropenic fever, a common problem among AML patients on chemotherapy when body temperatures rise above 100˚, with antibiotics.
Interestingly, a third of the patients who maintained the diversity of their gut health or improved it experienced no infections over a 90-day span. However, 23 of the 34 patients experienced a drop in diversity over the same time and nine suffered from infections.
In fact, lead researcher Dr. Jessica Galloway-Pena of M.D. Anderson says she wants to use the human gut microbiome “as a tool” to spot which patients need extra treatments, or be prescribed a special diet, fecal transplant or probiotics, according to Medscape Medical News.
“I really think it’s not just one (species). I think it’s the community (of species) that strikes a balance. That’s why I’m not that big a proponent of probiotics with one species. I really think it’s going to be a cocktail of species that’s going to improve your outcome,” says Dr. Galloway-Pena in a recent YouTube video about her study.
This provides more evidence that taking a probiotic containing just one species of beneficial bacteria can do some good, but not nearly as much as one that contains multiple strains of beneficial bacteria, like EndoMune Advanced Probiotic and EndoMune Junior.