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Gut Health And Stomach Cancer: The Role Of Diet And Microbiota In Prevention

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Gut Health And Stomach Cancer: The Role Of Diet And Microbiota In Prevention

As research in this field continues to evolve, a holistic approach to health, encompassing both lifestyle and dietary choices, remains critical in the ongoing battle against stomach cancer.

Written by Tavishi Dogra |Updated : November 29, 2023 3:17 PM IST

Stomach cancer, also known as gastric cancer, remains a significant global health concern, accounting for a substantial number of cancer-related deaths. At the same time, various factors contribute to the development of stomach cancer; DrSumanth, Consultant - Medical Oncology, Care Cancer Institute, CARE Hospitals, Banjara Hills, Hyderabad, shares that emerging research suggests a critical link between gut health, dietary habits, and the microbiota inhabiting our digestive system.

Understanding Stomach Cancer

Stomach cancer typically begins in the lining of the stomach. Common risk factors include infection with Helicobacter pylori bacteria, smoking, family history, certain genetic factors, and dietary habits. The incidence of stomach cancer varies globally, with higher rates in certain regions such as Asia, South America, and Eastern Europe.

The Role Of Diet In Stomach Cancer Prevention

  • Diet plays a pivotal role in maintaining overall health and preventing various diseases, including cancer. When it comes to stomach cancer, confident dietary choices can either contribute to or mitigate the risk of its development.
  • Cruciferous vegetables contain compounds like sulforaphane that have anti-cancer properties. Likewise, consuming fruits like berries, which are high in anthocyanins, has reduced the risk of stomach cancer. A diet low in processed meats and salty foods may contribute to a lower risk.
  • Conversely, a diet high in salt-preserved foods, pickled vegetables, and processed meats contains N-nitroso compounds, known carcinogens. High salt intake may also contribute to the development of stomach cancer by promoting inflammation and damage to the stomach lining.

The Microbiota Connection

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  • The human gut is home to trillions of microorganisms collectively known as the gut microbiota. This complex ecosystem of bacteria, viruses, fungi, and other microbes plays a crucial role in digestion, nutrient absorption, and maintaining a healthy immune system. Gut imbalances in microbiota have been linked to various health issues, including inflammatory conditions and certain cancers.
  • Recent research has highlighted the role of the gut microbiota in stomach cancer development. Helicobacter pylori, a bacterium that can colonize the stomach lining, is a significant risk factor for stomach cancer. Chronic infection with this bacterium leads to inflammation, damage to the stomach mucosa, and an increased risk of cancer. However, stomach cancer emphasizes the importance of other factors, including gut microbiota composition.
  • Certain beneficial bacteria in the gut may offer protection against stomach cancer. FSomestudies suggest that specific strains of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium may help reduce inflammation, support the integrity of the stomach lining, and modulate the immune response.
  • Probiotics, live bacteria and yeasts that confer health benefits when consumed adequately have gained attention for their potential role in preventing stomach cancer. While more research is needed to fully understand the specific mechanisms involved, incorporating probiotic-rich foods like yoghurt, kefir, and fermented vegetables into the diet may contribute to a healthier gut microbiota.

Stomach Cancer Prevention

  • Preventing stomach cancer involves a multifaceted approach, with diet and gut health playing integral roles. A diet rich in anti-cancer compounds, such as those found in fruits and vegetables, can lower the risk of stomach cancer. Conversely, salt-preserved and processed foods should be limited to reduce exposure to potential cancer-causing agents.
  • Maintaining a healthy gut microbiota is equally crucial in preventing stomach cancer. Strategies that support a diverse and balanced gut microbiota, including the consumption of probiotic-rich foods, may contribute to overall digestive health and reduce the risk of cancer development.
  • While these insights provide valuable guidance, it's important to note that individual responses to diet and microbial influences can vary. Consulting with healthcare professionals for personalized advice based on specific health conditions and risk factors is essential. As research in this field continues to evolve, a holistic approach to health, encompassing both lifestyle and dietary choices, remains critical in the ongoing battle against stomach cancer.