Breast Cancer Awareness & The Gut Microbiome: Fight Back With Food!
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 Gulbranson
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 42% of cancer incidences and 45.1% of deaths are associated with potentially modifiable risk factors—breast cancer is no exception.
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.”
A June 2019 study at the University of Virginia Cancer Center found an unhealthy, inflamed gut causes breast cancer to become much more invasive and spread more quickly to other parts of the body.
Keep in mind that more than 70 to 80% of your entire immune system lives in your gut! Strengthening your immune system is vital to helping your body’s natural defense mechanisms protect you.
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
- 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
The Benefits of the Mediterranean Diet to Decrease Cancer Risk
A study into which foods have a positive impact on breast cancer risk was conducted by a team of scientists working with a group of 40 female Macaque monkeys. One group was assigned to a typical Western diet, the other to the Mediterranean diet that consists mainly of vegetables, fish, and olive oil. 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.
From the 31-month study, scientists found that the monkeys on the Mediterranean diet had 10 times higher amount of Lactobacillus, which has been shown to decrease tumor growth 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.
Prebiotics, Probiotics, and Breast Cancer
The following foods help boost the growth of desirable bacteria in your gut. Many of these foods are plant-based and rich in fiber—especially prebiotic fiber—which supports your immune system. 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.
FOODS TO EAT
FOODS TO LIMIT
High fiber - beans, legumes, seeds and whole grains
Processed & refined foods (such as chips, pretzels, crackers)
Cold water fish
Fatty & processed meats
Healthy fats (avocados, walnuts, olive oil)
Bad fats (fried foods, donuts, cookies, foods with transfats)
Green tea, vegetable juice, water
Alcohol & sugary drinks
Flavanol-rich foods, including onions, kale, leeks, broccoli, and herbs like parsley, thyme, celery, oregano, and chili peppers
White pasta and white rice
Dark green, leafy vegetables
Cruciferous vegetables (including short-cooked cabbage and sauerkraut)
Low fat dairy
High fat dairy
Foods like the following that are high in probiotics also benefit your gut microbiome:
- Low-fat, plain organic yogurt
- Fermented vegetables like kimchi or sauerkraut
- Fermented soybeans (miso)
- Kombucha tea
- Kefir (fermented milk drink)
Getting Enough Fiber for Optimum Health
Since it’s sometimes difficult to eat enough foods rich in fiber, a well-researched prebiotic supplement like Prebiotin® Prebiotic Fiber can be an excellent source of daily prebiotic fiber so you get enough fiber for optimal health.
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
- 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 reduce cancer risk!
For a personal perspective on breast cancer, please check out our blog by breast cancer survivor and former Prebiotin Director of Strategic Initiatives, Anne Mercer Larson: “Are You One? National Cancer Survivors Day.”
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.
- Barney, Joshua. Unhealthy gut promotes spread of breast cancer, study finds. Medical press, University of Virginia. June 10, 2019. Accessed Sept 20, 2019.
- Belkaid Y, Hand TW Role of the microbiota in immunity and inflammation. Cell. 2014 Mar 27;157(1):121-41. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2014.03.011.
- Islami F, Sauer AG, Miller KD, et al. Proportion and number of cancer cases and deaths attributable to potentially modifiable risk factors in the United States. CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians. January/February 2018; 68(1):31-54.
- Lobo V, Patil A, Phatak A, and Chandra N. Free radicals, antioxidants and functional foods: Impact on human health. Pharmacogn Rev. 2010 Jul-Dec; 4(8): 118–126.
- Shively CA, Register TC, Appt SE, et al. Consumption of Mediterranean versus Western Diet 24(1): 47-56.E3.
- Underferth, Danielle. Which foods can reduce inflammation? The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. September 2017. Accessed Sept 23, 2019.
- Xuan C, Shamonki JM, Chung A, et al. Microbial Dysbiosis Is Associated with Human Breast Cancer. PLoS One. 2014; 9(1): e83744.
- Yoo BB, Mazmanian SK. The Enteric Network: Interactions between the Immune and Nervous Systems of the Gut. Immunity. 2017 Jun 20;46(6):910-926. doi: 10.1016/j.immuni.2017.05.011.
- American Cancer Society: Choosing Your Treatment Team
- American Cancer Society: Survivorship Resource Center
- Be a Survivor: Your Guide to Breast Cancer Treatment
- BCRF: Breast Cancer Research Foundation Resources
- CDC: Cancer Prevention & Control
- Dietary Choices to Prevent Breast Cancer
- Eating Unhealthy Food
- Eating Well During and After Your Cancer Treatment (Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center)
- NIH: National Cancer Institute Resources for Patients
- Nutrition and Breast Cancer NCI Support For People With Cancer – Eating Hints: Before, During and After Cancer Treatment
- Stanford Medicine Nutrition and Cancer
- The Truth About Cancer® Prebiotics and Probiotics: Why You Need Both For a Healthy Gut
- True Health Initiative https://www.
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.