Tag Archives: Prebiotics

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Cutting Your Cancer Risk

Picture yourself in a room of 20 people.

Of these 20 people, one will develop colorectal cancer in his/her lifetime.
“Colon cancer is among the most common cancers diagnosed in this country, with more than 100,000 new cases each year,” said Dr. Murali Murty of Arizona Center for Cancer Care in Scottsdale. “What’s more, it is the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths with the American Cancer Society reporting there may be as many as 50,000 Americans losing their lives to this disease this year alone.”
But, this number need not be so staggering.
“Education on the disease, coupled with proactive methods for early detection and new treatment advances, can greatly reduce this number on a local and national level,” said Dr. Murty.

What is colon cancer?

Colon cancer is cancer of the large intestine. It is often found to be present along with cancer of the rectum, and is then referred to as colorectal cancer. Cancer that begins in the lining of 153010495the colon, or adenocarcinoma, accounts for over 90 percent of all colon cancer cases. In almost 100 percent of cases, the cancer starts as a polyp on the colon.

Who is at risk?

Colon cancer is color blind – meaning all races and ethnicities are at risk. And, while commonly thought to be a disease limited to males, it is just as easy for women to develop. Additional risks, according to Dr. David S. Mendelson of Pinnacle Oncology Hematology in Scottsdale, include:

• Age – those over 50
• Diet – those who are overweight, lacking in fiber and/or overindulging in alcohol
• Family history – those who have family members diagnosed with the disease
• Lack of exercise – those who don’t get enough cardiovascular exercise on most days of the week
• Smoking – long-term smoking increases one’s risk of nearly every kind of disease on the planet

Symptoms

“The bad news is that in its earliest – and more treatable stages – there aren’t apparent symptoms,” said Dr. Murty.
This is the No. 1 reason screening tests are critical.
“When we do start to see symptoms, which can include blood in the stool, chronic stomach cramps and unexplained weight loss, the cancer may have already reached a later stage,” said Dr. Mendelson.

Early detection

As Katie Couric has taught us, both men and women should get their first colonoscopy by age 50, and should repeat the process as requested by one’s medical professional, usually once every five to 10 years. A colonoscopy involves the insertion of a thin tube into one’s rectum by a medical professional to check the colon for any polyps or other growths that might be dangerous.
“And yes, you are sedated when this happens, so it is not nearly as scary as it sounds,” said Dr. Mendelson. “Other diagnostic tools may include blood tests, x-rays and/or CT scans.”
One should begin the screening process earlier if he or she has any family history of the disease or other GI-related issues, such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

Treatment

“Once the actual cancer is diagnosed, the next step is determining the stage and then usually the surgical removal of the cancer,” said Dr. Mendelson.
Chemotherapy or radiation therapy may be used in addition to surgery to treat the cancer, especially if it has spread to other areas of the body.
“Due to advances in treatment of colorectal cancer, more patients are spared the complete removal of anus and rectum these days. This means fewer patients need a colostomy bag. Generally, chemotherapy and radiation are given first to help shrink the rectal tumor,” said Dr. Murty.
After this, surgeons have a better chance of removing only the part of the rectum with the tumor and sparing the anus, which allows normal bowel function. In very early rectal cancers, surgeons may be able to remove the tumor with no additional chemotherapy or radiation at all.
“However, when required, radiation is much more tolerable and has far fewer side effects, thanks to technological advances in recent years,” said Dr. Murty.

Prevention

173329702The general rule of thumb is to start a cardiovascular exercise routine, quit and/or avoid smoking as well as avoid secondhand smoke and to take a good, hard look at one’s diet.
“We are forgetting to feed our colons, while polluting our bodies with useless junk,” said Dr. Frank W. Jackson of Jackson GI Medical. “Fiber, in particular, is lacking in virtually all American diets.”
And it shows.
“We tend to ignore how fiber and its ability to fuel the glorious cauldron of bacteria in our colons, which is quietly amongst our most powerful health organs, can help prevent disease,” said Dr. Jackson, who recommends prebiotic fibers, which help to feed the good bacteria in one’s colon, fueling its war against the bad, cancer-causing bacteria also present.
However, Americans are really only getting this critical fiber via wheat and onions; Europeans, on average, consume five times the amount daily.  As a result, many are turning to prebiotic supplement programs, like Prebiotin, readily available at most vitamin and health stores – and even Sprouts – in the area.

Dr. Frank W. Jackson, MD

Probiotics vs. Prebiotics

Fact: Not all bacteria are to blame for a person’s health problems.

The thought of bacteria is enough to make anyone squeamish and want to bathe in antibacterial products. However, not all bacteria are the enemy. In fact, most may even be your friend. In the right amounts and strains, some bacteria can help balance the digestive system and be valuable to a person’s health.

Within the hidden world of a person’s body are 3000 various types of bacteria.  While different, many play a vital role in maintaining good health and proper digestion.

So, what are Probiotics and Prebiotics?

Don’t let their names scare you. Probiotics is just a fancy term used to refer to the bacteria that we eat in such products as yogurt or that we take in capsule form from health food stores. These intestinal bacteria help reduce bad bacteria and increase good bacteria resulting in potential health benefits. But in order for the probiotics to thrive, a healthy diet must exist. This is where prebiotics come into play.

In the simplest of terms, prebiotics are the fuel (food) that probiotics need to work properly. These bacteria are ingested and help stimulate positive bacteria growth within the digestive tract.

What’s the big difference?

These living microorganisms, Lactobacillus and Bifidobacter are the two best probiotic types. They can be found in foods like kefir and cultured milk.  Prebiotics, a source of fiber that can be found in many of the foods we eat, feeds hundreds of strains of good bacteria and delivers a much better benefit to your digestive tract.

What are the benefits?

When a prebiotics are taken in conjunction with probiotics the benefits can include:

  • Increased mineral absorption and stronger bones
  • Improves bowel regularity
  • Improves overall immune system
  • Fights heart disease and high cholesterol
  • Increases good colon bacteria
  • Positively affects appetite control and weight loss
  • Reduces the risk of inflammation and diseases within the digestive tract
  • Reduces the chance of intestinal infection
  •  And can help assist with obesity and Type 2 Diabetes

Probiotics, Prebiotics and You

While unhealthy eating habits have made it difficult to get the valuable fibers needed to maintain a healthy digestive system in the past, a change in diet and increased levels of probiotics and prebiotics can help maintain good bacteria throughout life.

Start by switching up your diet and staying away from processed foods. Lean towards foods with more natural living organisms (micro flora) like fermented foods and cultured milk products. This alone is not enough to combat those bad bacteria living in the digestive tract. Regularly consuming prebiotics will help maintain the levels of bad bacteria and improve overall digestion and health.

Try incorporating foods like wheat, leeks, garlic and mixed fruit and vegetables that are rich in inulin and oligofructose, the two naturally occurring prebiotics. Using a prebiotic supplement like Prebiotin, which contains these two, can also help to keep the bad bacteria at bay.

Bottom Line 

To maintain a healthy body on the inside, it’s important to consider what’s being done on the outside. Make probiotics and prebiotics part of your daily regimen. Limit use of alcohol, processed foods and other toxins. Instead, maintain a fiber-rich diet and drink plenty of water to help meet your wellness goals.

 

Dr. Frank W. Jackson is a retired gastroenterologist with more than 40 years of research on nutrition and colon health. Today, he is the founder of Jackson GI Medical as well as Prebiotin, a premier prebiotic fiber supplement distribution in the Northeast Valley and available at Cooper’s Nutrition, The Vitamin Shoppes and Sprouts Valleywide. For more information, please visit the educational site, www.jacksongi.com or www.prebiotin.com.