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Good Digestion

Everyday nutrients promote gastrointestinal health

Vitamin D protects against cancer

People eating the refined diet typical of developed countries may have greater chances for colorectal cancer, with low levels of vitamin D raising chances further. As this study revealed, Black populations in the U.S. are more likely than any other domestic racial or ethnic group to have these issues, and are also more likely to be low in vitamin D.

In this study, doctors gave food questionnaires every two years to 49,534 Black women between 1995 and 2017, predicting vitamin D scores, and then measuring chances for developing colorectal cancer.

Overall during the 22-year follow-up, women with the lowest vitamin D scores were 41 percent more likely to have developed colorectal cancer compared to those with the highest vitamin D scores.

Reference: Cancer, Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention; 2021, 1055-9965.EPI-21-0675

Probiotics reduce infectious diarrhea

Hospitals typically use antibiotics, which weaken the microbiome and raise chances for infection such as Clostridioides difficile (C. diff). Symptoms include disabling diarrhea, and can be more severe. This study had a unique twist that enabled doctors to compare hospital infection rates with antibiotics alone and after adding probiotics.

Two Montreal hospitals merged, with the larger hospital using probiotics together with antibiotics as standard treatment. The smaller, 335-bed community hospital used antibiotics alone, and hospital-acquired C. diff was common in this facility.

After the merger, at the smaller hospital, doctors began giving a 50-billion colony-forming-unit combination of L. acidophilus, L. casei, and L. rhamnosus, per day to all adults taking antibiotics for two or more days. Compared to the prior 12 months without probiotics, rates of hospital-wide C. diff were 39 percent lower after probiotics. Protection was even greater in those taking multiple antibiotics, with probiotics reducing C. diff more than 50 percent.

Reference: Clinical Infectious Diseases; 2021, Vol. 73, No. 8, 1524-7


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