image of bacteria, nightmare bacteria

The bacteria that inhabit our intestines have a huge impact on our health. The most recent revelation is that people with colon cancer have a different mix of bacteria than healthy volunteers, with more nasty strains and fewer beneficial ones. Some of the deleterious microbes, such as Fusobacteria, are associated with inflammation.

[Journal of the National Cancer Institute, Dec. 6, 2013]

The only difficulty with this fascinating information is how to change the ecological pattern of gut bacteria from an unfavorable one to a more favorable profile. Our microbial inhabitants do change depending upon what we feed them, so that might be the first place to start. Feeding them plenty of vegetables and relatively little red meat or highly processed food seems logical, though we have not seen this tested in a clinical trial.

Another possibility that has gotten some attention lately, and even has studies to back it up, might be fecal transplantation. This sounds fairly yucky, but it has saved lives.

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  1. MP

    I have had devastating diarrhea ever since my colonoscopy and am struggling to build up my good bacteria to restore my prior health. I don’t know that I’d ever do that again. You are right to pause, especially if it’s just a screening and you’re not high risk.

  2. LJ

    This should be relatively easy to test for if the occult fecal test could be used. Certainly lots more people would do it than will do a colonoscopy.

  3. Marg S.

    I took Prevacid and others for years for GERD, I developed neuropathy due to vitamin B-12 deficiency, now receive B12 injections monthly, plus OTC vitamins.
    Still bothered somewhat with esophagus problems, but will deal with that, but wish I could solve the misery of neuropathy.

  4. Ron S.

    What about probiotics. This is helped me keep my gut in good shape..

  5. Mary

    I could not help but wonder why you didn’t mention probiotics in your article on gut bacteria.
    Some probiotics are probably worthless and others, not so.
    So many prescription drugs can kill off our gut bacteria, both good and bad. This may bring on various problems including diarrhea as well as constipation.
    I recently looked at a youtube video that detailed the difficulties a pediatrician with B12 deficiency had that almost killed him. Numerous doctors did not diagnose his problem until he was literally at deaths door. He, himself, did not recognize his B12 lack either.
    He suffers muscle deterioration they say is permanent. Since our bodies want to heal us, I do wonder if this is true. Maybe we just don’t know WHAT will bring about a solution.

  6. Carole

    Given the importance of intestinal bacteria, I question the practice of “cleansing” our system before a colonoscopy. Have there been studies about what that does to our system and how long it takes to recover? My understanding is that our personal microbiome grows and changes constantly. I am reluctant to wipe mine out and have to start over again just to have a colonoscopy. Do you know any guests who could address the colonoscopy issue?

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