Role of Probiotics in the prevention & treatment of Cancer

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Your gut health is critical to the health of your entire body! It’s your first line of defense against cancer. The inclusion of Probiotic food sources enhances Gut health

As per the best cancer nutritionist in India, probiotics are live microorganisms that have numerous health benefits when consumed via diet. Some of the notable probiotic foods are yogurt, curd, sauerkraut, pickle & fermented foods. Primarily, probiotics help in maintaining the intestinal gut health


The human gut contains beneficial bacteria which fight against diseases & infection and also the bad bacteria which can trigger infections. A healthy gut microbiome balance is achieved when it has higher number of beneficial bacteria to overpower the effects of the bad bacteria. .

Gut health in cancer patients:

Cancer patients often struggle a lot to maintain this healthy balance because of their ongoing treatments and the side effects caused by the anti-cancer medications. A wide variety of antibiotics used in cancer treatment can kill healthy bacteria and allow the bad bacteria to flourish in the gut.

They should be supplemented with probiotic foods to prevent and manage the ill effects of bad gut.


Effects of cancer treatments on Gut:

  • SURGERY: In cases of colon cancer, a part of the colon is removed and during this, we may lose some of the beneficial bacteria which lives in the tissues of those cells

Role of Probiotics in the prevention & treatment of Cancer

  • CHEMOTHERAPY: The side effect of chemotherapy includes Diarrhea, during which we may lose a considerable number of healthy bacteria. In addition to this, chemotherapy also kills the bacteria which help in digestion.


  • RADIATION THERAPY: Radiation therapy is found to damage the inner tissues of the colon where the bacteria resides.


Working of Probiotics:

Probiotics helps in maintaining the healthy balance between beneficial bacteria and bad bacteria. Gut bacterial balance can be disrupted when the body is affected by any disease. Probiotics helps the gut microbiome to return to a healthy condition after being disturbed. They also help in the production of certain substances that have desirable effects.


Probiotics have the ability to Influence our body’s immune response. Cancer patients have impaired immunity because of the underlying disease and cancer therapies such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy.

Building immunity is more significant to the cancer patients because,

  • The cancer cells have the ability to weaken our immune system by spreading to the bone marrow where the immune cells are produced.
  • Cancer treatments such as Chemotherapy, Radiotherapy also weaken the immune system by lowering the WBC produced in the bone marrow.

Role of Probiotics in the prevention & treatment of Cancer

Numerous studies have confirmed the anticancer mechanisms of probiotics which include,

  • Maintaining a healthy gut bacterial balance
  • Binding to the carcinogenic compounds that affect the body and destroying them.
  • Modifying the immune response to prevent or reduce inflammation of the cells.
  • Lowers the intestinal pH so as to prevent the production of carcinogenic compounds in the gut.

Gastro intestinal tumors such as Colo – rectal cancer can be prevented by the regular use of probiotics. They act by preventing the enzyme breakdown that contributes to the growth of cancer causing agents.

Treating the colo – rectal cancer patients with probiotic supplements increases the diversity of the gut microbiome.

Changes in the gut microbiome is critical since any disruption in the composition and function of these microbes can even lead to non-gastro intestinal tumors such as liver cancer, lung cancer, pancreatic cancer or even breast cancer.

Probiotics when used in combination with cancer therapies help in controlling the metastasis in high risk cancer patients.

Managing the side effects of cancer therapy with Probiotics:

Cancer therapies often lead to gastrointestinal issues as we have discussed prior and probiotic supplementation can help in managing these side effects.

Drugs such as antibiotics used in the cancer therapy can affect the gut bacterial balance and lead to the production of excess non-beneficial bacteria. Probiotics effectively counteract this mechanism leading to healthy microbiome. Supplemeting with probiotics, enhances the function of intestinal wall thereby reducing the occurrence of diarrhea.

Probiotics can both reduce the side effects of cancer treatment and boost anticancer treatment. Thus for treating cancer, the regulation of human gut microbiota is likely to become a new field personalized therapy in the future.

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