Volume 3 Issue 1

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Other Digestive Disorders Americans are more stressed than ever, and one result is an increase in peptic ulcer disease. In addition, media campaigns have raised awareness of colon cancer, a disease that is 90 percent preventable and 90 percent treatable. Peptic Ulcer Disease Ulcers (open sores) are fairly common and can occur in the stomach or duodenum (the first part of the small intestine just beyond the stomach). In most patients, ulcers are caused by the Helicobacter pylori bacteria. Ulcers can occur for other reasons, too, such as stress and use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen). Probiotics have been found to decrease the number of H. pylori bacteria in the stomach. However, whether taking probiotics leads to fewer ulcers is unproven. Antibiotics are the usual treatment for H. pylori, and studies have shown that if patients take probiotics along with antibiotics, the chance of eradication of H. pylori is higher. (In addition, the chance of getting antibiotic associated diarrhea is lower.) Colon Cancer What did Ronald Reagan, Audrey Hepburn, and Pope John Paul II have in common? Colon cancer. More research needs to be done about how probiotics can help in treating this deadly disease. However, early research indicates that probiotics keep the bad bacteria in check, which may help prevent colon cancer because bad bacteria can make enzymes that produce cancer- causing substances. Probiotics also may help stimulate the immune system to destroy abnormal colon cells. Prebiotics appear to play a part in this situation as well, protecting against colon cancer by helping in production of short-chain fatty acids (SCFA). Gut flora and probiotics ferment prebiotics and produce SCFAs, which are the primary fuel for the colon epithelium. Research has shown the higher the number of SCFAs, the lower the incidence of colon cancer. Prebiotics are also fibers, and evidence has shown a high-fiber diet decreases the incidence of colon cancer. As in other areas of probiotic research, stay tuned for future developments in this arena. Abby's Magazine - January/ February 2015 | Page 23

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