CanHOPE is a non-profit cancer counselling and support service provided by Parkway Cancer Centre, Singapore.
Our bodies are made up of healthy micro-organisms that help maintain regular bodily functions and promote general well-being. When the micro-organisms environment gets disrupted, harmful organisms take over causing multiple problems. These include irritable bowel syndrome, allergies, skin infections, mouth ulcers and other problems related to the immune system. Cancer patients are especially susceptible as treatments and regular intake of medications pose a challenge to the immune system's defenses. Regular intake of antibiotics may drastically reduce the number of healthy microorganisms in the body. Prebiotics and probiotics help to keep a healthy micro-organisms environment in the body.
Prebiotics, often referred to as fructooligosaccharide, is an undigestible part of plant that is poorly absorbed by the small intestine but is fermented in the colon to produce short chain fatty acids that are essential for maintenance of healthy colon.
Probiotics is lactic acid bacteria known as lactobacillus acidophilus. It helps to maintain a normal balance of good bacteria in the stomach.
Our modern world has brought with it many advances in food science a technology. While these contribute to some innovative food products, they may adversely affect the way we eat. Overconsumption of highly processed food and lack of fibre may lead to sensitive or irritable stomach. For cancer patients who are undergoing treatment, it is important to keep an optimum number of good bacteria in the stomach in order to maintain a good digestion and thus boost the immune system.
Prebiotics are found naturally in fruits and vegetables such as bananas, onions, garlic, asparagus, wheat, tomato, leeks etc.
Probiotics are lactobacillus acidophilus that are often added to yoghurts, milk (such as culture milk), infant formula, nutritional supplements formula or specially formulated probiotic drinks that contain one or more of the strains of these good bacteria.
Optimal digestion and absorption of nutrients are very much dependant on the status of digestive system. It is necessary to keep the digestive tract healthy by eating right. When prolonged intakes of antibiotics or medical treatments are required, additional prebiotics and probiotics may be helpful.
This information is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. All content, including text, graphics, images and information, is for general information purposes only. For more advise, please consult your doctor.