We continue to hear more and more about the role that gastrointestinal (GI) health plays in preventing disease. Which makes sense, as the GI tract contains more immune cells than the immune system and more neurochemicals than the brain!
And now, a new study published in the journal Gut just uncovered more than a dozen ways you can significantly lower your colon cancer risk. I’ll tell you more about that study (and its five strongest findings) in just a moment.
But first, let’s back up to discuss why the GI tract serves at the “keystone” of health…
Western medicine slow to recognize importance of gut health
Together, traditional Chinese medicine and Ayurvedic medicine of India provided healthcare to half the world’s population for centuries. And according to their ancient principles, good health begins in the digestive tract. But, of course, it took much longer for western medicine to begin paying attention to this key system in the body…
In fact, I recall back in the early 1980s when I was in medical training, young colleagues discussed going into the then-“new” specialty of GI medicine as a way to get an edge in practice. (The more popular fields, like cardiology, in dense urban and suburban areas where they preferred to practice had already filled up.)
Then, in 2000, celebrity “journalist” Katie Couric went on TV to get a colonoscopy…and it was a tremendous boon for GI specialists and for the cancer screening industry as a whole.
Of course, as I’ve often reported over the years, colonoscopies may be the single-most expensive, dangerous, and deadly of all the medicalized procedures promoted in the name of “disease prevention.” Plus, you have many safer, less expensive alternatives.
Not to mention, I’d much rather see you focus your attention on maintaining a healthy GI microbiome—the environment in your gut where healthy probiotic bacteria thrive. That’s because, keeping a healthy GI microbiome protects you against not only colon cancer, but other diseases as well. Including Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, heart disease, and Type II diabetes.
Now, let’s get back to the new analysis published in the journal Gut…
More than a dozen ways to reduce colon cancer risk
For the new analysis, researchers reviewed 80 studies on colon cancer published between 1980 and 2019. They came away with more than a dozen ways to reduce colon cancer risk. But here are the top five, in order of their benefit from least to greatest…
1.) B vitamins. The researchers found a link between folic acid, which is one of the B vitamins, and colon cancer risk. Specifically, those who took folic acid had up to 15 percent lower risk of developing the disease. The analysis didn’t pinpoint the effective minimum dose required to achieve this protection. But it’s bound to be more than the measly Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA). So, as always, I just recommend you take a daily, high-quality B vitamin complex.
2.) Dairy. In this analysis, eating dairy appeared to lower colon cancer risk by up to 19 percent. Unfortunately, here again, there was no recommendation about the amount of dairy you need to consume to gain this benefit. However, we do know that people who live around the Mediterranean (and follow a traditional Mediterranean-type diet) typically enjoy eating a serving of full-fat, whole-milk dairy (such as yogurt or cheese) at every meal—although you won’t hear about this part of the Medi Diet from other experts. And you too should adopt this healthy dietary habit—as I often report!
After all, full-fat dairy is rich in calcium. And we first learned that calcium was a key factor for reducing colon cancer risk back in the mid-1980s at the National Cancer Institute (NCI). I even included a chapter on it by Dr. Michael Wargovich in the first textbook I published way back then.
And you should only get your calcium through your diet—not through supplements. (Studies show taking a calcium supplement can lead to hardening of the arteries and other serious health problems.) Which is yet another reason why I recommend adding three daily servings of full-fat dairy to your healthy, balanced diet.
3.) Aspirin. The researchers found that men and women who took a daily, low-dose of aspirin (75 mg/day) had a 14 percent lower colon cancer risk. And those who took a higher dose of 325 mg/per day (as widely taken to prevent heart disease) had a 29 percent lower risk!
As you know, aspirin gets a pass from me because it’s an inexpensive, over-the-counter (OTC), non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) that’s been safely used by millions and millions of Americans for more than a century. Plus, it originally derives from a natural ingredient called salicylic acid in white willow bark and meadowsweet grass, which Native Americans used to combat pain and other common ailments.
In fact, aspirin has been around for so long, it was “grandfathered” into regulatory approval before the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) even existed!
Of course, big pharma and some experts try to discredit aspirin because it may cause GI irritation and bleeding. They prefer you take their harmful, expensive prescription drugs instead. But when taken properly, aspirin has a very low risk of bleeding for most people. (Of course, if you’re concerned about GI effects, take a buffered aspirin—which includes an antacid.)
4.) Fiber. The analysis also showed an association between dietary fiber and up to a 43 percent lower colon cancer risk. But as I reported in the very first issue of my monthly Insiders’ Cures newsletter, the guidelines on fiber are complicated (“Dietary fiber: Cancer cause or cure?”). (If you’re not yet a newsletter subscriber, now is the perfect time to become one.)
Generally speaking, the fiber in fruits and vegetables is healthier than fiber in grains (which can actually be dangerous for GI health and colon cancer). It’s an important distinction not known or understood by mainstream doctors or most “natural-know-it-alls.” So skip the artificial fiber supplements or fake granola bars with added fiber and instead choose the items up next on the list…
5.) Fruits and vegetables. According to this analysis, the biggest protection against colon cancer…at a staggering 52 percent lower risk…came from consuming more fruits and vegetables. Again, there was no guidance given for how many servings a day you need to consume to gain the benefit. But as always, I simply advise enjoying six to eight servings per day of fresh produce. (I’ll present even more recent studies answering this question, as well as updates on diet and colon cancer specifically in forthcoming Daily Dispatches.)
And one last thing before I go…eating ultra-processed foods seemed to increase colon cancer risk by up to 21 percent. And that finding makes a lot of sense, as other studies show eating a lot of junk foods increases your risk of many other types of chronic disease…and even a higher all-cause mortality!
Of course, in addition to following these sensible guidelines, you have dozens of other safe, natural alternatives to help prevent, detect, AND treat colon cancer. I’ve outlined them all in detail in my groundbreaking online learning tool, my Authentic Anti-Cancer Protocol.
To learn more, or to enroll today, click here now!
“Recent advances in clinical practice: colorectal cancer chemoprevention in the average-risk population.” Gut, 9/28/20. Epub ahead of print. doi:10.1136/ gutjnl-2020-320990