DR MICHAEL MOSLEY: Feed the good bacteria in your gut to prevent cancer

Within the past 18 months, three of my friends have been diagnosed with prostate cancer and had surgery for it.

Fortunately in each case, the disease was detected before it spread, but even so, it was a very stressful time for them and their families.

And what’s really worrying, is that because of Covid, very few men with initial symptoms, such as difficulty starting to urinate, weak flow or blood in their urine, want to get tested.

This is so serious now that within a few weeks there will be a major campaign, led by Prostate Cancer UK, to try to reach these ‘missing men’.

All of which made me reflect on my own situation. I am 64 years old and have a family history of prostate cancer.

My father was told he had prostate cancer around my age; so I ticked two of the boxes (age and family history) for the ‘at risk’ category. Ethnicity is also a risk factor, with black African and Caribbean men being more than twice as likely to be diagnosed with the disease.

But recent research points to another potential culprit when it comes to developing particularly aggressive versions of the disease – our microbiomes, the mix of microorganisms in their guts. ta.

Here are at least 1,000 different species of bacteria that live in our guts, some of which are essential for long-term health (from giving us immunity to improving our mood), while others have can lead to chronic inflammation, which in turn can lead to cancer.

For example, there is a bacteria called Helicobacter pylori, which naturally infects many people and is now recognized as one of the leading causes of stomach ulcers and stomach cancer, the second leading cause of stomach cancer. two causes of cancer-related deaths worldwide.

I’m particularly interested in Helicobacter because in 1994 I made a documentary about this bug and the work of Professor Barry Marshall, a enterologist, who first demonstrated how dangerous it is.

During his research, he identified, cultured, and then swallowed a beaker filled with Helicobacter bacteria, which inflames the intestines and initiates ulcers. He then cured himself with an antibiotic.

Despite a lot of skepticism when my documentary premiered, Barry and his colleague Dr. Robin Warren later won a Nobel Prize for their pioneering work. As well as Helicobacter, there are other bacteria that have been linked to cancer, including the human papillomavirus (HPV), which is known to cause cervical cancer, and the hepatitis virus, which can cause liver cancer.

And now that gut bacteria are linked to prostate cancer, this opens up the possibility of new ways to reduce the risk of the disease.

In a study published last October, scientists from the Cleveland Clinic, Ohio, USA analyzed blood samples from 700 patients in a prostate cancer screening trial and found that that the men had higher levels of a substance called phenylacetylglutamine (PAGln) at the time of the test. were nearly three times more likely to develop deadly prostate cancer than men with lower levels.

PAGln is made when microorganisms in your gut break down an amino acid called phenylalanine, which is found in foods like meat, beans, and soybeans.

Higher levels of PAGln lead to chronic inflammation, which in turn leads to a higher risk of heart disease and cancer.

The scientists now plan to test different dietary interventions to see which, if any, help reduce the risk of developing severe forms of the disease.

In a second study, this time from the Institute of Cancer Research in London, researchers looked at the impact of specific gut bacteria on how well men with prostate cancer responded. prostate with hormone treatment. This works by reducing levels of androgens, male hormones known to be responsible for the disease.

Researchers collected stool samples from 74 men being treated for prostate cancer at the Royal Marsden NHS Trust in London. Some of these patients respond to hormone therapy, others do not.

The researchers found that a specific type of bacteria – Ruminococcus – appears to be promoting prostate cancer growth and making it more resistant to treatment, possibly undermining the effectiveness of the treatment. hormone therapy by producing their own growth-promoting androgens.

The good news is that having higher levels of another bacterium – Prevotella stercorea – leads to better results. It is hoped that, in the future, testing a patient’s stool samples will help identify those at high risk of developing resistance to treatment and who may subsequently benefit from a microbiome boost. theirs thanks to healthy bacteria.

This can happen in the form of a drink, or even a stool transplant – where stool samples from a healthy donor are processed and then delivered directly into the patient’s intestines.

These findings add to a growing body of evidence that suggests a strong link between bacteria and cancer. As some of you may recall, I recently wrote about a new study that found that eating a Mediterranean diet, rich in vegetables and oily fish, has been shown to increase levels of bacteria. anti-inflammatory live in women’s breasts. This reduces the risk of breast cancer.

All of this to me is the importance of a healthy diet and if I have any obvious symptoms of prostate problems I would ask my GP. To test.

For more information, visit

Our household gets a lot of olive oil every week.

Unlike vegetable oils which release harmful chemicals called aldehydes when frying, you can use olive oil for frying as it has a high ‘smoke point’. We also roll it out freely on salads and vegetables.

So it was nice to see a study in the American Journal of Cardiology that looked at the eating habits of more than 90,000 people over 28 years and found that those who ate more than half a teaspoon of olive oil per day had an increased risk of heart disease. lower heart disease and cancer than people who rarely consume it.

One of the key ingredients in olive oil is oleic acid, which reduces inflammation and may be the secret ingredient in making it so healthy. ‘

Can a drug replace fasting?

As the creator of the 5:2 diet, I’m obviously a fan of intermittent fasting – studies have shown it can help with significant weight loss and improve conditions like type 2 diabetes.

Another benefit is that it activates autophagy, the process by which the body gets rid of old broken cells, making way for new cells. Over the years, various medications have been touted as alternatives to fasting. The latest, a drug called ADI-PEG 20, has proven effective in mice.

Now researchers from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis is hoping to test it on patients. But based on previous attempts to find a ‘quick fix’, don’t hold your breath!

Vitamin D May Soothe Arthritis

At this time of year, most of us should be taking vitamin D (the ‘sunshine’ vitamin) to keep our bones and muscles strong and support our general health.

The NHS recommends 10 micrograms – or 400 international units (IU) – per day during the winter months. Now researchers from Harvard Medical School have found that if you’re over the age of 50, taking a much larger dose (2,000IU) can reduce your risk of autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis or rheumatoid arthritis. psoriasis.

In the study, more than 25,000 people were given vitamin D, omega 3 or a placebo to take every day for five years. In the vitamin D group, the incidence of autoimmune disease was 22% lower than in the other two groups. The impact of vitamin D was particularly noticeable in patients with arthritis, with a 40% reduction in their symptoms.

The downside is that 2,000IU is much higher than current recommendations, and while it appears to be safe, researchers recommend that if you have arthritis, talk to your doctor before self-medicating.

The NHS says you should definitely not take more than 100 micrograms (4,000IU) of vitamin D a day ‘because it could be harmful’.

Source: | This article originally belonged to

Source link


News7F: Update the world's latest breaking news online of the day, breaking news, politics, society today, international mainstream news .Updated news 24/7: Entertainment, the World everyday world. Hot news, images, video clips that are updated quickly and reliably

Related Articles

Back to top button