Mama might have been correct, eat your yogurt. Many of us already know that a healthy gut with plenty of probiotics to support your gastrointestinal health is absolutely critical to boosting your immune system. Experts say that gut flora could account for as much as 80% of our immune system! A study from the University of Michigan has shown that common probiotics may be the answer to the poisonous effects of chemotherapy treatments as well as the overuse of antibiotics which kill all the good bacteria in our bodies.

Commonly, doctors prescribe antibiotics prior to chemotherapy, but these not only kill the bad bacteria, they also kill whatever good bacteria we have. Removing the good bacteria can cause a crash in the immune system which will up the chance that chemo make you even sicker maybe even kill you!

Although hotly contested there are doctors that are sure that chemotherapy is already one of the top causes of death among cancer patients. The actual role of chemotherapy in bringing about death is in question, but the cynical side of me notes that much of the pro-chemo science comes from the $200 billion dollar pharmaceutical industry, which supports it.

The simple fact that making sure you have healthy gut flora may help keep you from dying, but even if it doesn’t it should help you weather the side effects of the chemotherapy!

The University of Michigan study, which was published in the journal Nature, was centered on ‘Rspol’ or ‘R-spondon1’ which activates cell production in the intestinal walls that then help to regenerate tissue that is damaged by chemotherapy. Mice given R-spondon1 survived fatal doses of chemotherapy since the substance was able to help their bodies’ regenerate new tissue faster than the chemo could destroy it.

Pharmaceutical companies can charge upwards of $50,000 for one dose of Rspol, however cheap (and common) probiotics help your body to make its own – without the price tag. In a healthy person with good gut-bacteria supported by probiotics and the reduction of high carbohydrates, meat, dairy, and refined sugars (which tend to cause an imbalance in healthy gut flora), this special R-spondon1 is made every 4 to 5 days all on its own.

The epithelial cells in the intestinal walls are responsible for making sure this substance is made consistently, and without good probiotics and gut health, he cells start to slack on the job. Rapid cellular regeneration happens in those who have good gut health and balanced intestinal flora.

As the pharmaceutical companies continuously try to patent or co-opt natural cures (remember the recent issue over a company trying to patent the BRACA gene), it is our responsibility to ourselves and our collective society to make sure people are aware of the natural ways which our bodies already heal themselves.

Joel T. Nowak, M.A., M.S.W.