Breast Cancer Awareness & The Gut Microbiome: Fight Back With Food!

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By:  Prebiotin Team
Updated:  October 8, 2018

Breast Cancer Prevention May Start in Your Gut…

“It’s not what you believe that counts; it’s what you believe enough to do.” Gary Gilbranson

Cancer prevention is still very much under investigation, but virtually all researchers agree that lifestyle choices can have a huge impact on the likelihood of developing this disease. For example, studies suggest as many as 35% of all cancer deaths are directly linked to diet and physical activity—and breast cancer is no exception.3

In particular, it’s important to know how your lifestyle choices can influence the breast cancer and microbiome relationship.

Breast Cancer and Gut Health

One study, published in the journal PLoS One, investigated the bacteria found in breast cancer tumor tissue and uncovered a relationship between breast cancer and gut health. When there isn’t enough good gut bacteria in the gut microbiome, bad bacteria thrive and flourish. The researchers observed that, “microbial DNA is present in the breast and that bacteria or their components may influence the local immune microenvironment. Our findings suggest a previously unrecognized link between dysbiosis and breast cancer which has potential diagnostic and therapeutic implications.”4

Always remember that over 70% of your entire immune system resides in your gut!  Keeping your immune system strong is key to helping your body’s natural defense mechanisms remain on your side.

Similarly, a study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, suggests that bacterial imbalance in the gut microbiome can contribute to the emergence of disease, including cancer malignancy. In particular, the researchers found that bacterial genes living in your intestines can play a significant role in metabolizing estrogen. This can affect a woman’s risk of developing postmenopausal estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer.5

Which Foods Decrease Risk?

Which foods have positive impact on breast cancer risk was researched by a team of scientists studying a group of 40 female Macaque monkeys who were either assigned to a typical Western diet or the Mediterranean diet that consists mainly of vegetables, fish, and olive oil.6 Macaque monkeys mimic human breast biology and are therefore often used in studies since food intake in humans cannot be controlled over a long period of time. The study lasted 31 months, and results were released this month (October 2018).

Scientists found that the monkeys on the Mediterranean diet had 10 times higher amount of Lactobacillus, which has been shown to decrease tumor grown in animals with breast cancer.  These monkeys also had higher levels of metabolites and bioactive compounds associated with decreased cancer risk. During future studies the team plans to investigate the impact of the increased Lactobacillus on breast tissue.

You Are What you Eat

Fortunately, you have the power to help ward off breast cancer by improving the balance of bacteria in your gut microbiome through the foods you choose to eat. Studies have shown that foods high in prebiotic fiber and fermented foods provide a big boost to gut health.

Prebiotic fiber feeds the good bacteria in your gut, which crowd out undesirable bacteria. Some foods that are high in prebiotic fiber include:

  • Chicory root
  • Asparagus
  • Jerusalem artichoke
  • Leeks and onions
  • Oatmeal, flax, and barley
  • Cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, Brussel sprouts, kale and cauliflower
  • Fruits like apples, bananas, raspberries and blueberries

Since it’s sometimes difficult to eat enough foods rich in fiber, a well-researched prebiotic supplement like Prebiotin® can be an excellent source of daily prebiotic fiber so you get enough for optimal health.

Meanwhile, foods that are high in probiotics include:

  • Low-fat, plain organic yogurt
  • Fermented vegetables like kimchi or sauerkraut
  • Fermented soybeans (miso)
  • Kombucha tea
  • Coconut kefir
FOODS TO EATFOODS TO LIMIT
Plant-based dietAnimal fats
High fiber - beans, legumes, seeds and whole grainsProcessed & refined foods (such as chips, pretzels, crackers)
Cold water fishFatty & processed meats
Healthy fats (avocados, walnuts, olive oil)Bad fats (fried foods, donuts, cookies, foods with transfats)
Green tea, vegetable juice, waterAlcohol & sugary drinks
Flavanol-rich foods, including onions, kale, leeks, broccoli, and herbs like parsley, thyme, celery, oregano, and chili peppersWhite pasta and white rice
Dark green, leafy vegetables
Cruciferous vegetables (including short-cooked cabbage and sauerkraut)
Low fat dairy High fat dairy

Prebiotics, Probiotics and Breast Cancer

5 women breast cancer awareness

As these foods help boost the growth of desirable bacteria in your gut, you will also be boosting your immune system.7 A healthy immune system can detect and kill cells that could become cancerous. These foods also help fight inflammatory responses, which can reduce your risk for cancer.8

A healthy diet of foods high in prebiotic fiber, supported by a daily dose of Prebiotin, is not only beneficial in preventing breast cancer. Other potential benefits include lowered risk for:

  • Intestinal infectious diseases
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Non-insulin-dependent diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Osteoporosis
  • Other cancers including colon cancer

There’s no day like today to make important changes to your diet to protect against breast cancer. Beneficial changes in your microbiota can take place within just a few weeks.

We want to help you help yourself!

For a personal perspective on breast cancer, please check out our blog by breast cancer survivor and Prebiotin Director of Strategic Initiatives, Anne Mercer Larson:  Are You One? National Cancer Survivors Day Is Sunday June 3.”

For more information about prebiotic fiber and breast cancer, check out “Why Prebiotics Might Help During & After Cancer Treatment.

We’d like to add to our website your own story about your health challenges and how you’ve overcome them with the help of Prebiotin® Prebiotic Fiber. What life activities and work have you been able to enjoy again? Please share your story with us! 

With your written permission, we’d like to tell your special success story on our website, on Facebook, and other social media. Your encouragement can help others facing cancer, IBS, Celiac Disease, Crohn’s Disease, and many other conditions. Or maybe you just believed you should feel better and have more energy.

Sources:

  1. http://www.nationalbreastcancer.org/breast-cancer-risk-factors
  2. https://www.cancer.org/cancer/breast-cancer/about/how-common-is-breast-cancer.html
  3. http://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/27/7/1812
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3885448/
  5. http://jnci.oxfordjournals.org/content/108/8/djw029.full
  6. https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-10/cp-dat092718.php
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4690201/
  8. https://www.mdanderson.org/publications/focused-on-health/September2017/Which-foods-can-reduce-inflammation.html

Additional Resources

Reminder: Please work with your oncology specialist to ensure that any supplements you take are appropriate for your cancer type, and will not conflict with any medications or treatments prescribed.

Prebiotin® is not intended to treat, cure, or prevent any disease. This website does not diagnose illnesses.

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