Studies on a wide variety of cancers are beginning to point in an important new direction: It may be possible to take a specially designed probiotic supplement to reduce cancer risk.
The key to the effectiveness of this supplement is rooted in the bacteria that live in your body, but not just in your colon. You may immediately think “colon bacteria” when someone mentions probiotics, but this goes way beyond that.
Hidden Constipation Syndrome –
A recent study reports that more than half of patients – 62 percent – have colons plugged up with layers of filthy, decayed fecal matter…
…even though 80 percent had bowel movements every day without straining!
Colon autopsies show it and now studies have proven it. Even if you have a regular, daily bowel movement, you may possibly have pounds of hardened, toxic, bacteria-laden waste matter stuck in your intestines!
Breakthrough study results from the prestigious Department of Organ Surgery and Gastroenterological Clinic in Elsinore, Denmark, reveal that millions of people unknowingly have these large “fecal reservoirs” – which back up your entire colon and rectum.
And no synthetic laxatives or enemas can get this toxic, rotting mess out of you!
Click here for a FREE REPORT on how you can get rid of this deadly threat to your health and well being.
Good and bad bacteria
Probably most of our readers know what probiotics are, but for those who don’t: They’re beneficial bacteria that dwell in the digestive system as well as in other organs and which promote better health in important ways.
Your body is filled with these organisms: You contain 100 trillion bacterial cells1 which, in number, dwarf your approximately 10 trillion human cells. The reason this is possible is that our own cells are much larger than bacteria.
Research into how these microbes function shows that we’re filled with both protective and destructive bacteria. Some of these microorganisms enhance the immune system, help keep out pathological microbes and lower the risk of cancer. Other, less desirable types, can lead to both dangerous infections and cancer tumors.
You probably didn’t connect these cancers to bacteria
For instance, studies at Johns Hopkins show a strong link between head and neck cancer and the bacteria in the body. Furthermore, the researchers say that your microbiome – your body’s collection of bacteria – contains a significantly different population of microbes if you have cancer than it does when you are cancer-free.2
“One of the goals of our research is to better understand how the microbiome may influence the immune response to cancer and how the immune response affects the microbiome in turn,” says researcher Rafael Guerrero-Preston, who teaches surgery at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. “Our findings suggest that we may one day use the composition of the microbiome to test for disease.”
Bacteria in the mouth
In the Hopkins research, scientists compared bacteria in the saliva of people who had head and neck cancer to saliva samples of people who were cancer-free.
The saliva of people with tumors had higher levels of harmful bacteria belonging to groups known as Streptococcus, Dialister and Veillonella. Healthy people had more bacteria belonging to the classifications Neisseria, Aggregatibacter, Haemophilus and Leptotrichia. And the tumors themselves contained harmful bacterial colonies that were rare in normal tissue.
“We see some specific (beneficial) bacterial populations that are increased or lost in the presence of cancer when compared to healthy controls,” says Dr. Guerrero-Preston.
He says that cancerous tumors in the head and neck may originally start because a person has fewer bacteria present that help fight off cancer. In addition, once cancer starts growing it may cause some sort of change in the mouth that kills off good bacteria.
Digestive bacteria are tied to immune system
Meanwhile, researchers at UCLA have shown in lab tests that the bacteria growing in your digestive tract can lower the risk of cancer. In their latest studies, they have focused on how these bacteria affect the way the immune system behaves – helping immune cells become less inflammatory and hindering the growth of cancer cells.3
According to researcher Robert Schiestl, a professor who teaches pathology and environmental health, soon you will be able to have your intestinal bacteria analyzed, and based on that you’ll receive direction to take the precise probiotic supplement that can balance your bacteria to produce the most effective anti-cancer effect.
“It is not invasive and rather easy to do,” says Prof. Schiestl.
Prof. Schiestl and his fellow researchers have been studying the benefits of a type of bacteria that belongs to the Lactobacillus family – the most widespread of the beneficial bacteria. Lactobacillus strains are often used to make fermented foods.
“Since it is a Lactobacillus strain, it makes excellent yogurt, kefir, kombucha and sauerkraut.”
The UCLA researchers have shown that these types of bacteria can limit genetic damage and calm down inflammation. Prof. Schiestl points out that cutting back on inflammation is an important benefit since this immune response adds to the risk of many diseases – not only cancer but also neurodegenerative diseases, arthritis, heart disease, and lupus. Inflammation can also accelerate the aging process.
In tests on animals, the UCLA scientists detected a link between the varieties of bacteria growing in the intestinal tract and the development of lymphoma, a type of cancer that begins in the immune system. After that first investigation, their next study showed how having the right mix of probiotics in the digestive system can keep the cancer from starting.
The researchers also examined the various natural chemicals produced in the body in response to taking in different types of bacteria in fermented foods or supplements. They found that the consumption of beneficial bacteria leads to the manufacture of metabolites (compounds derived from cellular enzymatic reactions) that fight cancer. The beneficial probiotics also stimulate other cellular functions that are linked to a lower cancer risk.
In the UCLA research, animals getting probiotic supplements were found to live significantly longer than other groups of animals. They also suffered significantly less DNA breakage in response to chemical exposures that can cause cancer.
“(Our) findings lend credence to the notion that manipulating microbial composition could be used as an effective strategy to prevent or alleviate cancer susceptibility,” the researchers conclude. “In the future, it is our hope that the use of probiotics-containing [supplements] would be a potential chemopreventive for normal humans, while the same type of microbiota would decrease tumor incidence in cancer susceptible populations.”
Women with breast cancer have different bacteria
A variety of these bacteria are also found in breast tissue: Researchers at the Canadian Center for Human Microbiome and Probiotic Research have found that the bacteria inhabiting the breasts of women with breast cancer differs from the bacteria that are found in women who don’t have these types of tumors.4
In one of the Canadians’ investigations, researchers analyzed breast tissue samples from 58 women who were having tumors removed and compared these samples to breast tissue from 23 women who didn’t have cancer.
They found that the samples taken from women with breast cancer contained high levels of the bacteria strains Staphylococcus epidermidis and Escherichia coli, organisms that cause what are called double-stranded breaks in DNA.
“Double-strand breaks are the most detrimental type of DNA damage and are caused by genotoxins, reactive oxygen species, and ionizing radiation,” the investigators write in their report.
The Canadian scientists point out that double-strand breaks are serious threats to health because the cellular mechanisms used to repair these types of damage are often undependable. Instead of remedying the problem, the attempted fixes often go awry, causing other genetic errors that are linked to cancer and tumor formation.
In contrast, the, Lactobacillus and Streptococcus bacteria, which generally produce health benefits in the body, were found to be more abundant in women who did not have cancer.
Have you had your probiotics today?
Some of these researchers are trying to concoct bacterial tests for diagnosing cancer risks while others are attempting to patent probiotic formulas that they can market for cancer prevention.
Of course, you shouldn’t wait for those products to arrive on pharmacy shelves. Get started today consuming fermented foods like yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, natto, kim-chi and pickles which all contain beneficial bacteria. Probiotic supplements can also help support the microbiome that lives inside you.
As researchers have recently pointed out, studies on the body’s bacteria show that “exciting revelations about health and disease are on the horizon.”5 And if we truly are ever going to conquer cancer, these types of microorganisms will prove to be our allies.
Switching topics, it can be puzzling to know which type of eggs to buy. There are pastured eggs, cage-free eggs, free-range eggs, organic eggs. Our last issue sorted all this out and made our recommendations on which eggs to buy. If you missed it, you’ve got a second chance to read it just below. . .
Are Eggs Safe – and Which Ones?
A couple of weeks ago I wrote about some new studies suggesting eggs may increase cancer risk (Issue #621). The finding is not conclusive, but it’s worrying. I’ve cut down to a couple of eggs a week. Free of hormones and antibiotics, of course.
With some studies labeling eggs as key sources of nutrition and others pointing to the hidden health risks, it would be nice to know the truth. The problem is that the truth, like so many aspects of healthcare and nutrition, is subject to interpretation. It’s not even clear which type of eggs to buy. Here’s what I mean…
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What’s really important when you shop for eggs?
Eggs are one of the most versatile foods around. That’s probably why the average American eats more than 260 eggs a year.
If that doesn’t impress you, consider this: The United States egg industry brought in $7.1 billion in April 2016. And in March 2016, organic and cage-free egg production accounted for ten percent of total “table egg” laying flocks (approximately 30.1 million hens). That ten percent is just about equally divided between organic hens and cage-free hens.
But what exactly does that mean to us as consumers? Does it matter what type of egg you buy, and what label it has? Does it matter where you buy it? Because as far as I can tell, plenty of people are confused about where their eggs come from, and which option is the best.
An egg is an egg… or not?
Here are some of the labels set up to confuse and confound us while egg shopping, along with what they really mean:
Cage-free eggs: Like their label, cage-free eggs are produced by chickens that aren’t housed in a cage. They must instead live in an open space, though the open space may be inside a crowded henhouse with no access to the outdoors. Still, it’s entirely possible that those chickens still live in cramped conditions, and that their ability to move around is limited. Cage-free doesn’t mean organic. Conventional eggs can be cage-free; the hens can be fed chemical-contaminated feed and treated with hormones and antibiotics.
Free-range/free-roaming eggs: Hens that lay these eggs are one step up from cage-free, given that they have some form of outdoor access. But the quality, amount, and duration of their time outside can vary from farm to farm.
Pasture-raised eggs: Chickens that lay pasture-raised eggs are typically raised on green, open pastures, where they’re able to forage for bugs and feed on grass, seeds, and insects. The chickens spend most of their day outside, sometimes with other farm animals. They typically sleep in a barn at night. They’re free of both hormones and antibiotics.
Organic eggs: Hens laying these eggs must eat only organic feed, meaning it contains no pesticides, herbicides, or fungicides, as well as no GMOs and no slaughterhouse by-products. To qualify as organic, they also must have outdoor access and can never be caged.
All four of these egg types are superior to conventional “factory farm” eggs. For the first two types the nutritional difference is probably minor but at least the birds are treated more humanely. But keep in mind that while there are a lot of good reasons to eat eggs produced organically, or via cage-free or free-range methods, you will never get an ironclad guarantee that they don’t contain salmonella. That’s really dependent on the way each egg farmer manages their eggs, including washing, packing, and storing.
Many commercial egg farms are still reeling from the 2010 salmonella debacle where more than 500 million eggs were recalled after nearly 2,000 people got sick with the dreaded fever, cramping, and diarrhea combo.
FDA inspectors visited the two Iowa companies that produced the tainted eggs and found mice, flies, and wild birds inside the hen houses—not to mention hens that had gotten out of their cages and were wandering around in manure piles.
The public had already been criticizing commercial egg farms for the restrictive, too-small cages they used. What followed was a surge in consumer demand for organic, cage-free, and free-range eggs.
That’s one of the reasons for recent announcements from major food brands like McDonald’s and Starbucks, which plan to use only cage-free eggs going forward: It’s what many consumers want. (But don’t head out for an Egg McMuffin just yet—McDonald’s predicts they won’t pull this off till the end of 2025.)
Now, I’m going to mention an unpleasant truth here: chickens poop and lay eggs out of the same hole, whether or not they’re organic, conventional or pasture-raised. All eggs are at risk of some bacterial contamination.
That means any given hen or any given egg may be a salmonella carrier. This isn’t a worry – the world is full of bacteria and your immune system can deal with it if it’s healthy. It’s excessive levels of salmonella contamination that pose a problem, especially for people who are fragile – babies, the elderly, people who are immune-compromised. I buy organic eggs but I handle them as though there may be some salmonella contamination – I don’t let them touch other food and I wash hands after handling the shells.
How much does the health of an egg
depend on the chicken?
Some folks say happier chickens make healthier eggs. And that appears to be true, given that pasture-raised hens, which have a more natural diet due to foraging outside in the fresh air, actually do produce eggs with lower levels of fat.
This comes from a study out of Penn State where they also found that pasture-raised eggs contain 38% more vitamin A per egg, more vitamin D, and twice as much vitamin E. On top of that, they have double the total omega-3 fatty acids and carotene levels. (Note that in the study, pastured hens were relocated to areas where they could forage on legumes and mixed grasses, and were then compared with hens that received a commercial diet.)
Paul Patterson, co-investigator of the project, explained that chickens can quickly assimilate dietary nutrients because of their short digestive tracts. That means any fat-soluble vitamins they eat are quickly transferred to the liver and then on to the egg yolks the chicken creates.
Yet letting chickens forage around grassy pastures isn’t a perfect answer. True, the eggs themselves appear more nutritious. But another result of the study was that pastured hens weighed 14 percent less than commercial birds, and put out 15 percent fewer eggs. This is mostly a problem for the farmer, not for us consumers. But the lower level of productivity does mean these “special” poultry products are more expensive.
The researchers concluded that pastured hens would need additional mash feed just to sustain body weight and egg production at a level equal to commercial hens. At the same time, this kind of supplementation would lower the omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin A and E concentrations of their eggs.
If we’re just examining eggs for our own nutritional purposes, it’s worth mentioning a study published a few years ago by Food Chemistry that found egg yolks—including yolks from conventional chickens—contain two amino acids that carry the potent antioxidants tryptophan and tyrosine. And both of these play a key role in the prevention of both cardiovascular disease and cancer.
Egg yolks are also a rich source of lutein and zeaxanthin, both part of the carotenoid class of antioxidants. However, the cooking process can destroy as much as 50% of the nutrients in egg yolks. On the other hand, eating raw eggs can put you at greater risk of salmonella.
But as some health advisers say, raw eggs from organic or pasture-raised chickens are unlikely to carry salmonella, so those are your best bet if you’re looking for a raw egg source. Given that conventional eggs are more likely to have come from hens raised in unsanitary conditions, I’d never advise someone to eat those eggs raw.
Thankfully, you’ve got a choice…
It’s hard to know if the right way to go for disease prevention, and cancer prevention in particular, is to completely give up certain foods linked to cancer—like eggs and a host of other foods—or to simply opt for their healthier counterparts.
I’m inclined to think the link between eggs and cancer – if there really is
one – is a link involving conventional chickens raised with hormones and antibiotics. But I don’t know that for sure. That’s why I’ve reduced my own egg consumption.