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Veggies and Lunch

In 2010, I had just started my blog and Facebook page, and the second person to post on my page was a man named Chris asking me How to Make Kombucha. He was a friend of my older kids and what I didn't know at the time was Chris had just been diagnosed with stage 3 Hodgkin's Lymphoma. He was young and had a new family and needed help. Fast forward many years later and Chris is seven years cancer free. He undertook chemotherapy but also added tons of cultured foods to his diet, and now is my web manager and the person most responsible for the way my site looks, runs, and a million other things. Years later, I discovered just how important it was that Chris added cultured probiotic foods to his diet.

Cancer And Microbes

Gut Microbes Repair The Gut After Chemo


Along with cancer often comes the use of chemotherapy, which brings with it a host of other problems. There has been some research done on the connection between the gut and chemo. In one clinical study, researchers gave a group of mice an injection of chemotherapy that would, pound for pound, kill most adult human beings. Why? According to Jian-Guo Geng, associate professor at the University of Michigan School of Dentistry, “All tumors from different tissues and organs can be killed by high doses of chemotherapy and radiation, but the current challenge for treating the later-staged metastasized cancer is that you actually kill the [patient] before you kill the tumor.” So the goal was to test a recently discovered biological mechanism that focuses on preserving the integrity of the gastrointestinal tract—a mechanism that helped mice live through this lethal dose of chemotherapy.

The mice were injected with a substance called Rspo1, or R-spondon1, which activates stem cell production within the gut. These stem cells then rebuild damaged tissue faster than chemo can destroy it. Of the mice that were given R-spondon1, 50 to 75 percent survived the potentially fatal chemotherapy dose. All the mice that did not receive R-spondon1 died.1 ,2 Here is the exciting part: Your body already has a way to make R-spondon1 on its own. Inside the human gut, a layer of epithelial cells is regenerated every four to five days, as long as you have the right gut flora. If you have healthy gut flora and include a group of healthy strains of bacteria, your body will regenerate itself. If it is not healthy, then it slows or halts the regeneration of your intestinal cells. The probiotics in your gut can determine how, and if, your body survives chemotherapy—making it even more crucial for those with cancer and going through chemo to add probiotics and prebiotics to their diet.

Cultured Kraut And Breast Cancer Prevention


In 2005, a team of researchers in Poland and the United States studied two groups of young Polish women: one that had immigrated to the United States, and one that had not. They found that the rate of breast cancer was three times higher for those in the U.S. than for those still living in Poland. Further studies concluded that the consumption of cultured sauerkraut was a possible factor in the differing rates of cancer. Women in Poland ate an average of 30 pounds of cultured sauerkraut each year, while the women in the U.S. ate less than 10 pounds per year.3 Why does this matter? Sauerkraut contains high levels of glucosinolates, which have been shown to have anticancer activity in laboratory research.

Other studies have focused on estrogen metabolism and the enzymes in sauerkraut and its juices. A 2012 study conducted by biochemist Hanna Szaefer and her colleagues looked at the ability of the enzymes in cabbage and sauerkraut to change the expression of the P450 enzyme, which metabolizes estrogen but is also carcinogenic. Their research supported the idea that the consumption of sauerkraut was a beneficial food for the prevention of breast cancer in women.4

Cultured Kefir And Cancer


There have been a few studies recently that have directly linked the consumption of kefir to improvement in cancer cases. In 2011, one study showed that kefir reduced the damage to the DNA in colorectal cancers and colon cancer.5 Another study showed that cancer cells in the stomach started to mutate and self-destruct with the addition of kefir to

the diet.6 And in another, researchers gave kefir to mice daily and found that it was very effective in regulating the immune system and stopping breast cancer growth.7

How to Make Kefir

How to Make Kombucha

How to Make Veggies

Listen To My Podcast

There are powerful reasons to eat cultured foods if you have cancer. In fact, new research says it can make all the difference, especially if you’re going through chemo. I'll explore the research and will have a special guest to talk more about the benefits of eating cultured foods while battling cancer.