Fibroblastos - ├║tero de rata
Creative Commons License photo credit: blssmbnn

By Dr. Mark A. Brudnak

The body has a limited number of cells. If one dies, it’s replaced with an exact copy of itself in the exact location. The whole body works like that. What happens in cancer is that the cells start to grow uncontrollably, which, by itself, is not bad. The problem is that in addition to growing, they do a number of harmful things: release toxins, disrupt the normal functioning of whatever tissues or organs they happen to be in, and consume a lot of energy.


What causes cancer cells to grow uncontrollably is the mutations that occur at the gene level, and those mutations can occur for several reasons. First, the cells may be attacked by something like a virus, which will attach itself to the normal human cell and then inject its DNA (or genetic material) into the DNA of the normal cell. This can (but does not always) disrupt the normal functioning of the otherwise healthy cell, causing mutation.

How does a mutation happen? Well, everything a cell does-everything-is the result of what its DNA says-or to use our example, by how the letters are arranged. Certain compounds can actually come in and change those letters. Those compounds are what are collectively referred to as mutagens or carcinogens. (There is a minor difference between the two, but it isn’t relevant to this discussion.)

When DNA is doing its job, the cell is happy and normal. It divides a limited number of times, and given that, it dies at a predetermined time. All normal cells do this. But as part of this normal functioning – for instance, in replication/duplication – the DNA of the cell has to be “unwrapped,” so to speak. (Most DNA is kept tightly packed for a number of reasons, one of which is that the stuff that does the packing actually protects the DNA from carcinogens.)

This unwrapping increases the chance of a bad compound attacking the DNA. The more often the DNA is unwrapped, the more likely it will be attacked and hurt. How well or how poorly it survives depends directly on the sequence of those four letters, which, in turn, can be affected by toxic, mutagenic, and carcinogenic compounds.

So, where do probiotics come in? They actually function in a number of ways. First, they can make substances that will interact with the offensive materials and detoxify them. Second, probiotics can actually take in the toxic materials and process them by various pathways, making them less toxic. Third, probiotics can physically keep out bad bacteria. This is good not just because bad bacteria, such as the infamous E. coli (which is often the culprit in cases of contaminated meat), can produce substances that make us feel sick and can even kill us but also because those same bad bacteria can take what would otherwise be innocuous materials and turn them into carcinogens.

One solution to this problem is to add more good bacteria, which can be done by supplementing with probiotics. This might not be as simple as it sounds, as there are over 400 species (or types) of probiotics in the normal GI tract. To help sort things out, a number of companies have come up with what they believe are the most predominant bacteria normally found in healthy people. Typically, the list includes 10 to 20 different probiotics.

When the probiotics are weakened or dead, they cannot detoxify the noxious compounds and fend off the bad guys. The result is that the bad guys will eventually win. That’s why you need to continually supplement your diet with new, fresh, viable probiotics. Make sure that fresh troops are constantly on guard, protecting your health.

If you found this article interesting you might also enjoy reading Why Antibiotics are Damaging Your Health and How to Overcome a Candida Yeast Infection. Both articles touch on issues related to probiotics.


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