The gut factor

Before I give you the link to a very interesting article I read in “The Scientist” this morning on the connection between gut bacteria and cancer, I should really tell you why I haven’t been posting lately. I got back from my emergency trip to the U.S. almost a month ago, but since then I’ve been terribly busy…lots going on…and I’ve also been terribly worried about my mother, who is still in the rehab clinic and not doing as well as she should be at this stage. Luckily, my sister is there, taking care of everything, but the daily updates she gives me by phone and email are hard to take, at times. Well, fingers crossed…

So, yes, in short, I just haven’t felt like posting…

But from now on I will make an effort to post more frequently, especially if I read something that tickles my brain cells, which happened with the above-mentioned article. Here is the link: I warn you, it’s long!

The article doesn’t mention myeloma or any other type of blood cancer, but in the second paragraph it does bring up the possibility that gut bacteria could “contribute to cancer cell death, even in tumors far from the gastrointestinal tract. The most logical link between the microbiome and cancer is the immune system. Resident microbes can either dial up inflammation or tamp it down, and can modulate immune cells’ vigilance for invaders. Not only does the immune system appear to be at the root of how the microbiome interacts with cancer therapies, it also appears to mediate how our bacteria, fungi, and viruses influence cancer development in the first place.”

Myeloma…immune system…microbes…


So if you have some free time in the next couple of days, put your feet up and take a look at this article. And, by the way, any thoughts would be most appreciated. Leave me a comment or two! 🙂 Thank you!

P.S. A blog reader sent me a link ( to a recent “Guardian” article discussing how our gut microbes may even affect our behavior, thoughts, and moods…as well as the structure and function of our brains. This might turn out to be good news for folks who have multiple sclerosis, for example. So, another very interesting read. Very!


  1. Hi Margaret, haven’t read the article yet but my naturopath (who is also a qualified doctor) has always stressed this. He treats the gut with a range of probiotics and digestive enzymes and special diets ofcourse. I think gut health is central to all health in the body with many studies indicating links to mental health conditions such as schizophrenia! My gut health and general health improved greatly when adhering to his regime but unfortunately it did not change my paraproteins and their slow but steady rise over the course of the past year has made me reluctantly accept the ‘conventional’ treatment of my heamatologist!!! I started yesterday on Velcade, Dexamethasone and Cyclophosphamide!!! I so wanted to avoid this treatment and it took me a while to finally decide to pick up the pills and swallow them! ( It was a very teary moment!!!) Anyway, I am still feeling 100% normal at this stage, but it is still early and I’m sure I will experience at least some of their nasty side effects!! I am hoping all I have done and still doing with the natural therapies has made me stronger. My naturopath’s new discoveries relate to parasites!!! He wanted me to take an enormous amount of antiparasitic medications but the pharmacists were alarmed with the list and persuaded me to not take them! I saw the naturopath today and he was slightly livid at the pharmacist!! He is insisting I take them. I will need to read up on the connection to myeloma/cancer in general! Thanks so much for your wonderful posts Margaret!!

    1. Marina, if the pharmacist is worried, I think you should be VERY cautious about taking any of that stuff. At least check with your doctor, first. I don’t like the sound of this at all…JMO, of course!

  2. I’ve read this quickly Margaret so I didn’t understand it all but it is very interesting. If I’ve picked up this gist correctly, there are some types of gut bacteria (H.Pylori etc) that cause cancer, and some types of bacteria that prevent cancer and enhance certain types of chemo treatment. This is further complicated by an individual’s genetic make-up and the type of interleukins they produce in response to a pathogen (virus, bacteria, fungus, or whatever).
    I remember reading that our digestive systems provide a major part of our immune systems and the intestinal tract produces the majority of our IgA, for example. It’s not surprising when you think about it because our blood supply is only protected from what is effectively a sewer by thin cell wall.
    The article also indicates that it is the mixture of bacteria that is important in the gut and as we know, taking antibiotics can be beneficial but it can also do a lot of damage. This is what naturopaths have been saying for a long time.

  3. I think the bottom line on this is that it might be a good idea to take probiotics daily, especially ones containing high amounts of bifidobactium.

    Personally, I have been on drug treatment the past seven months with a dramatic reduction in my myeloma numbers (sadly, my MGUS progressed to full blown myeloma about five years ago). During this entire treatment time, I have been taking a probiotic which contains bifidobacterium (among other things) (Vital-10 from Klaire Labs, recommended by my Naturopath). Who’s to say if this helped the reduction in numbers or not? After reading this, I’m tending to think it has. Klaire Labs also makes a Senior Formula which has much much higher amounts of the bifidobacterium (longum and breva), the subject of these studies, and I think I will graduate to this one soon.

  4. Also, someone recently sent me an article from Scientific American called Germ Warfare which quoted these and similar studies about bifidobacterium helping with certain kinds of chemo, virtually eliminating tumors in mice. (whereas the mice who did NOT receive the bifidobacterium, did not have a complete reduction of tumors.) This is cutting edge research, these bacteria seem to be very important in fighting cancer. And my own experience has been that taking this has helped me reduce the myeloma load.

  5. interesting article – who knows, maybe fecal transplants are part of the solution to cancer… ?

  6. Recently watched Cooked series on Netfix…put together by Michael Pollan…..Have started fermenting kombucha, kim chi, sauerkraut, and pickles in season……because I’m gluten-free experementing with Pollan’s theory that sourdough changes the makeup of wheat in bread…..made starter from rice flour but didn’t quite wait long enough….still working on this project….do believe gut health helps immune system is why I am playing with this……will let you know when I have success…

  7. good for you for going gluten free. It certainly healed my psoriasis and keeps my MGUS under control in combination with curcumin. I love kombucha, not a fan of sauerkraut and kim chi.

  8. It would be interesting to know more about the biology and the micro environment of the different bacteria types.

    I remember from my vegan readings, that intestinal transit is an important parameter to take in account.

    General recommendation is, that a relatively “fast” intestinal transit is beneficial. Therefore (among other reasons) an high fiber intake is recommended.

    Fast intestinal transit means, that no putrefaction process will take place which – since it involves fermentation – in my opinion may lead to local oxygen consumption and thus to the development of an imbalanced bacteria population in the gut (anaerobic vs aerobic bacteria)

    It could even be, that certain bacteria are able to survive in both kinds of environments (presence/absence of putrefaction phenomena), adapting their biology and therefore emitting different byproducts which may be beneficial or detrimental to the health of our
    Immune system.

    I am just playing with thoughts, but the bottom line seems to be that vegan in and vegetarians are right concerning this aspect.

  9. I was diagnosed almost a year ago with SMM, bence Jones Type, same time i was also diagnosed with severe inflammation of upper stomach along with involuntary flatulence, and acid reflux which makes me go on a very dry cough the whole time specially when i eat or when i am hungry.

    my solution: fermented cabbage juice

    i used to buy the fremented cabbage juice from the store till i found a very easy way to make mine at home, i no longer have the flatulence , or acid reflux, i do not take any probiotic pills, i have to say that i maintain a tough diet though.

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