Passing Probiotics: The Best Supplements for Colorectal Cancer
With this devastating disease on the rise, we want to help increase awareness of what colorectal cancer is, how to prevent yourself from getting it, and how to improve your chances of survival if you do end up with it.
Basic Information About Colorectal Cancer
Colorectal cancer (CRC) is a disease that happens when cancerous tumors are found in the colon or the rectum of the large intestines.
Unlike some other cancers, CRC affects both men and women at an equal rate.
You’re at a higher risk of getting CRC if:
- You are 50 years of age or older
- You have colorectal polyps
- There is a family history of CRC
- You suffer from an IBD (ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease)
- You make poor lifestyle choices (high fat/low fiber diet and smoking)
Sometimes you won’t experience symptoms even if you do have CRC which is why screenings are so important for prognosis. Typically the symptoms don’t start until you are in a later stage of CRC.
Unfortunately, most of the symptoms are also common with other diseases and people push them off as not being a big deal. Some symptoms are more telling in the diagnosis of CRC.
The most common symptoms include:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Constipation and/or diarrhea (along with feeling bloated/gas pains)
- Weight loss without a known cause
- Bloody stools (bright red or very dark)
- A feeling that your bowel hasn’t completely emptied after defecating
- Stools are more narrow than normal
If CRC is caught early, surgery provides you with a better prognosis. Once the disease has progressed you may need a combination of surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation.
Colonoscopy, flexible sigmoidoscopy, and stool tests are the top and most common ways to screen for CRC. Getting regular screenings can improve your outcome by over 50%.
Problems with the Typical Colorectal Cancer Treatments
While typical cancer treatments like chemotherapy and radiation do their job of destroying cancer, they also have some unfortunate side effects.
Constantly having these types of treatments puts your body at risk by weakening your immune system.
But a weak immune system isn’t the extent of worries when it comes to these treatments. You’re also putting your body at risk for:
- Systemic toxicity
- Resistance to these treatment types
- Recurrence of cancers due to the resistance
This is why taking preventative measures is so important. CRC is a form of cancer that can be easily avoided by most people. While some people are more at risk than others, it doesn’t mean that they can’t avoid it.
Taking care of your body is the best way to avoid getting cancer of any form. Making good food choices, not drinking alcohol or smoking, and regular exercise can all help to avoid this devastating disease.
Probiotics Aren’t the Best Way to Support Good Health — Especially for Cancer Patients
Probiotics have been pushed for the last 10 or so years as the best way to support your gut and overall health.
In theory, probiotics are a great idea. Having a more diverse gut microbiome is the key to good gut health. So adding more healthy bacterial strains seems like a great way to achieve that.
In some cases, it is extremely beneficial to add probiotics to your diet. However, they can actually be dangerous to those with compromised immune systems.
Some other problems that can arise from taking probiotics include:
- Opportunistic infections (infective endocarditis, sepsis, meningitis, etc.)
- Antibiotic resistance
- Allergic sensitization
- Autoimmune disorders
- Increase platelet aggregation
Probiotics aren’t all bad though. The mechanisms by which they’re able to help your body are actually their byproducts — postbiotics (sometimes called metabiotics).
Probiotics vs Postbiotics/Metabiotics
A quick medical terminology breakdown will help you to understand where these post- or metabiotics fit into the probiotic process.
“Pro-” means in addition to. Probiotics are adding to your microbiota.
Both “post-” and “meta-” mean after, subsequent, or hindmost. Postbiotics or metabiotics are the results of the probiotic breakdown.
Postbiotics are the beneficial parts of a probiotic.
Probiotics simply add bacteria and after they’re broken down your body can reap the benefits from their byproducts.
By skipping the phase of adding bacteria and going straight to the postbiotics, you’re avoiding all of the issues that can occur when bacteria are added to your gut.
Benefits of Using Postbiotics for General Health and Colorectal Cancer
There are different types of postbiotics and they all have their special jobs that help your body out.
Some of the more common postbiotics that you’ll hear about include:
- Short-chain fatty acids (SCFA)
Postbiotics are now being focused on as a means to support health because they’re easily replicated since they have clear chemical structures.
The numerous health benefits make them a huge pathway to help those suffering from many diseases including cancer. Some of the most beneficial aspects of postbiotics include:
- Antioxidant helping to fight oxidative stress
- Improved nutrient absorption
- Improved colonic blood circulation
- Better gut motility
- Better microbial diversity
Not only do they help your body with these obvious benefits, but postbiotics are actually able to alter your epigenetic processes. This means that you’re able to bypass genetic predispositions to certain health issues.
- DNA methylation
- RNA interference
- Histone acetylation
Cancer itself is able to disrupt your genetic codes, which predisposes you to higher cancer rates. One study found that the use of postbiotics was able to prevent this phenomenon.
Postbiotics are fantastic complementary therapy for fighting cancer since they’re able to differentiate from normal cells and cancer cells. This allows them to only attack unhealthy, malignant tissues and leave the healthy tissues alone. This is a unique trait since most cancer therapies destroy cancerous and healthy cells.
How to Increase Postbiotics
Certain foods are very high in postbiotics.
Making sure you get a good amount of fiber in your diet is extremely helpful in getting prebiotics and postbiotics.
The best way to add probiotics to your diet naturally is by eating fermented foods. This way you’re getting probiotics and they’re wonderful byproducts (postbiotics).
Postbiotics can also be taken in supplement form if you don’t feel like you’re able to get enough from diet alone.
Atrantil is a supplement that offers your body both prebiotics and postbiotics. It helps to reduce inflammation and bloating while improving overall body health.
Have you used postbiotics? What differences have you noticed? Let us know in the comments below.