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Probiotics Could Help Combat Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth in Patients with Gastrointestinal Cancer

New research featured in Gut Microbiota Research & Practice suggests that probiotics may combat small intestinal bacteria overgrowth (SIBO) in patients with gastrointestinal cancer and may alleviate some gastrointestinal symptoms. SIBO is a condition where large numbers of bacteria are present in the small intestine.

The study is important because a large portion of patients with gastric and colorectal cancer, as well as people on proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) are more likely to test positive for SIBO. This not only highlights the fact that PPIs, which are designed to inhibit the proton pump and reduce the amount of acid produced, are not the way to fight heartburn, if for no other reason than the fact that excess stomach acid is not often the cause for heartburn.

When PPIs were first approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), they were designed to be taken for no more than six weeks, but today it’s not uncommon to find people taking these drugs for 10 years or longer. Unfortunately, long-term use can cause the condition you’re fighting, reduce absorption of nutrients and even decrease resistance to infection. What's worse, some antacids also contain aspirin, which may heighten your risk of adverse effects. In 2009, the FDA issued a warning about severe bleeding associated with the use of aspirin.

Simply taking probiotics, on the other hand, can help your gut with good bacteria that protect against illness. If you don’t want to take supplements, eating fermented foods can a long way toward a healthy gut.
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