Bacteria are everywhere in the environment and inside your body.
These little creatures are neither plant nor animal, they’re single-cell organisms of their own class (1).
There has long been a negative connotation associated with this word and everyone is leery of these microscopic creatures.
Although some bacteria can make you sick, others actually keep you alive (2).
Bacteria and Cancer
A recent Georgetown University/University of California study published in the PLOS One Journal investigated the correlation of intestinal microbiome of genetically identical mice in the presence of lymphoma pathogens and tumors. All the mice studied had a neurological disorder called ataxia telangiectasia, which is associated with susceptibility to cancers such as leukemia, lymphoma, and others.
They found that it took longer for cancer t devellop in the mice with increased levels of beneficial intestinal bacteria than in the mice with equal levels of beneficial and non-beneficial bacteria. The beneficial probiotics effectively improved oxidative metabolism, reduced inflammation, and protected cells against gene damage.
“We found that intestinal microbiota restriction in Atm-deficient mice led to a 2.5-fold extension of lymphoma latency and 4 fold increased longevity, and significant differences in chromosomal genotoxicity, oxidative DNA damage and inflammation; our research was the first to show a relationship between intestinal microbiota and lymphoma onset.” (3).
The anti-inflammatory bacteria Lactobacillus johnsonii that was given to the mice is a common micro-organism found in foods we eat, like yogurt and sauerkraut. Although more research is needed to confirm its use in humans, the bacteria may one day be the foundation of conventional cancer treatment.
“Good” bacteria also boost your immune system’s ability to naturally fight pathogens and cancerous cells (4). A 2014 study concluded:
“Probiotics can enhance nonspecific cellular immune response characterized by activation of macrophages, natural killer (NK) cells, antigen-specific cytotoxic T-lymphocytes, and the release of various cytokines in strain-specific and dose-dependent manner… Supplementation of probiotic organisms in infancy could help prevent immune-mediated diseases in childhood, whereas their intervention in pregnancy could affect fetal immune parameters, such as cord blood interferon (IFN)-γ levels, transforming growth factor (TGF)-β1 levels, and breast milk immunoglobulin (Ig)A.”(5).
How To Improve Bacterial Balance
3 easy steps to boost your healthy bacteria population.
Step 1: unless you must live or work in a sterile environment such as a hospital or laboratory, discontinue the use of antibacterial soaps, lotions, personal care products, and household cleaners.
These products destroy the beneficial bacteria around and inside you and actually increase your risk of getting sick (6). Plus, using antibacterial soaps regualraly actually increses the strength of harmful bacteria and make them harder to fight in hospitals and clinics worldwide (7).
Use of regular soap and water is enough to get rid of harmful bacteria on the skin and essential oils and vinegar are enough to kill “bad” surface germs in your bathroom and kitchen.
Step 2: increase your intake of intestinal prebiotics and probiotics.
Fermented foods like yogurt, kimchi, apple cider vinegar, kombucha, sauerkraut, and miso are full of “good” bacteria that proliferate in the digestive system. It’s also important to eat plenty of foods containing resistant starch, like bananas and tomatoes, to feed the bacteria (8).
Maintaining healthy probiotics levels will also promote weight loss as bacteria affect metabolism and hormone balance, both of which are factors in how we process food .
Step 3: eliminate toxins from your diet and environment.
Switch from canola oil to olive or coconut oil, avoid household cleaners that contain harsh chemicals by making your own non-toxic products and bring in more houseplants to filter the air in your home.