A huge percentage of our body weight is actually bacteria that inhabit our gut. For some time scientists have wondered about the role of those bacteria in health and disease. Now comes a group from the Cleveland Clinic who have done research relating gut contents with the risk of getting a lethal variant of prostate cancer. The looked a large group of men with aggressive prostate cancer and comparted them to a somewhat larger group of men without cancer. They found significant differences in the levels of many small molecules in the stool, some of which might be familiar to our readership. These include, choline, carnitine and betaine. This article can be accessed here. For a PDF of the article please fill out the form on the right and Dr. Stark can email it to you. What many of these compounds have in common is that they are one-carbon donors to a variety of biochemical reactions, some of which can produce overt carcinogens, even if the compounds themselves are not directly carcinogenic. These molecules are synthesized and released from, the bacteria in the intestines and get into the circulation.
Dr. Stark comments: we know very little about gut microflora in health and disease, but we are catching on quickly. This article says quite definitively that excessive amounts of certain one-carbon donors in the stool can lead to an aggressive and potentially lethal variant of prostate cancer. Dietary modification could almost certainly avoid this problem. Stay tuned, as this is an area of active investigation. The phrase, “You are what you eat” has never been more fitting.