The bacteria which reside in our gut can impact so much more than our digestion. Having enough healthy gut bacteria to balance out the harmful varieties is directly tied into the immune system, and has even been linked to longevity.
In addition to this, a new study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism (JCEM) has found that gut bacteria diversity may play a role in reducing the risk of breast cancer in postmenopausal women.
The connection between gut bacteria and reduced breast cancer risk centers around estrogen metabolites. It has been known by researchers for about 40 years that gut bacteria has an impact on the processing of estrogen in the female body. Certain established levels of estrogen circulating throughout the body after being processed have been tied into postmenopausal breast cancer risk.
For this new study, researchers focused on 60 postmenopausal women between the ages of 55 and 69, all of whom had recently obtained normal results on a mammogram. Urine and fecal samples from the women were analyzed for both bacteria diversity and estrogen. When factors such as age and BMI were adjusted for, the researchers found that the women with higher diversity of gut bacteria had a more optimal ratio of estrogen metabolites.
According to Dr. James Goedert, one of the study authors, “in women who had more diverse communities of gut bacteria, higher levels of estrogen fragments were left after the body metabolized the hormone, compared to women with less diverse intestinal bacteria. This pattern suggests that these women may have a lower risk of developing breast cancer.”
Dr. Goedert adds, “findings from this proof-of-principle study need to be replicated in larger groups of women. But we are hopeful that because the microbiome can change the way the body processes estrogens, it may one day offer a target for breast cancer prevention.”
Keeping your gut bacteria in as healthy of a ratio as possible is largely tied to your diet. Avoiding processed and junk foods, and instead eating meals of whole, nutritious offerings from the Earth can go far. This includes a rainbow of fruits and vegetables, as well as probiotic, fermented foods, such as organic yogurt, kefir and kimchi. Be sure to check out our guide to the best gut-friendly superfoods.
Additionally, exercise has been found to promote a healthier gut environment. As more and more research comes to light on the vast significance of the bacteria living in our tummies, it is absolutely imperative to take good care of your gut to keep all of your systems running smoothly.
-The Alternative Daily