Cancer & Probiotics: Could Patients Benefit From a Natural Treatment?
7 minute read
Probiotics have taken off in the last few years, and it’s easy to see why. Plenty of new science has come out supporting this natural health treatment, and the results speak for themselves.
Probiotics work by boosting the health of your digestive system, and through this, they are able to benefit the health of your entire body.
Cancer patients struggle with many digestive issues, due to the intense treatments they undergo and the stressful nature of their daily regimen. Multi strain probiotics have been shown to help relieve several of the symptoms that many cancer patients suffer from.
Why Probiotics Can Help
Your digestive system is full of bacteria, and it’s collectively known as the “gut microbiome.” Probiotic strains help your gut microbiome by providing you with “good” bacteria, which can help fight off the “bad” bacteria that also live there.
Now make no mistake, some “bad” bacteria in your gut is perfectly natural, and is in fact essential to breaking down the food that you consume and making sure your body is running at peak efficiency. But you don’t want the bad bacteria to outweigh the good, otherwise, you may be susceptible to symptoms like low energy, unwanted weight gain, junk food cravings, trouble sleeping, a negative mood, and more.
That’s because your gut actually has a very strong connection to your brain, often referred to as the “brain/gut axis.” This pathway connects your mind to your digestion, and it can do everything from regulating hormone output to controlling your food cravings.
The gut is truly a remarkable piece of the human body, but an occasional digestive health probiotic may be needed to help get it back in good working order. Here are just a few of the problems with which probiotics can help, particularly in cancer patients:
An unfortunate side effect of an inconsistent diet and taking a lot of powerful drugs, both of which are things that cancer patients, unfortunately, have to undergo, is an abundance of gas in the digestive system.
| Related: Why Gut Gurgling and Rumbling Could Be a Sign of IBS |
Gas builds up when a certain food is having difficulty being digested by your gut. When cancer medicines ravage the gut lining, it can have an effect on the digestive system overall. This can sometimes lead to gas, which is not only embarrassing in certain situations, it can also be extremely painful.
The sensation of a distended belly can occur after a big meal, but it can also be caused by certain medications. Since cancer patients are often exposed to a high dose of powerful drugs, they may be susceptible to bloating, which can be extremely uncomfortable.
Prebiotics with Nutraflora prebiotic fiber has been shown to help reduce bloating, which means they show promise as a potential resource for cancer patients with this issue.
As with the other digestive problems listed here, cramping can be the result of the medical regimen that cancer patients have to undergo. That’s not to say that powerful medicine and drugs are bad, in fact, they can often save lives.
Sometimes, though, these strong medicines can have unpleasant side effects, and cramping is certainly one of them. A probiotic digestive health supplement help reduce cramping. When your gut microbiome is at the right composition, it can relax the digestive process, which can reduce cramping.
Another effect of some medicine, especially antibiotics, is that they can actually wipe out the good bacteria living inside your gut. When that happens, it can be harder to break down food, which can lead to indigestion.
| Related: Why You Need Probiotics When Taking Antibiotics |
Indigestion refers to the inability to break down food properly in the digestive system. It can cause you to feel sluggish and uncomfortable throughout the day, so it’s a symptom that can be extremely bothersome.
A high potency probiotic can help indigestion by delivering good bacteria directly into your gut. This allows your digestive system to break down food properly.
Medications have different effects on different people. Some people feel nauseous, and food is the last thing on their minds. But sometimes a medicine can make people have food cravings that they might not have had otherwise.
One of the reasons for this could be related to the bacteria inside your gut microbiome. When your gut is overrun with bad bacteria, they crave unhealthy foods, like sugar and empty carbs. These foods leave you feeling unsatisfied and hungry, even if you eat a lot of them.
When you take pre and probiotic supplements, the good bacteria thrive on healthy, fibrous foods. Through the brain/gut axis, this good bacteria can cause you to crave these healthy foods, so they get the sustenance they need.
And when you eat nutritious healthy foods, it causes you to actually feel full and satisfied, so you aren’t affected by random hunger sensations. For cancer patients with potentially irregular appetite, probiotics can work as a natural dietary supplement, which can be a good way to help regulate the activity in your gut, and therefore your hunger levels.
The Bottom Line
A complete probiotic blended supplement can be a great way to help reduce some of the negative side effects that come from rigorous medication and also cancer itself. Plus, probiotics are fairly easy to use as far as supplements are concerned.
Many probiotics come in easy-to-swallow capsules, and others come in a powder form. So depending on whatever your preferences are, there is probably a probiotic that suits your needs.