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Natural Awakenings Tucson

The American Gut Project Seeks Cancer Solutions

Aug 01, 2013 12:18PM ● By Dr. DeeAnn Saber

Dr. DeeAnn Saber

More and more Americans are dealing with the effects of ill health, and the greatest fear for most is cancer. What everyone needs to realize is cancer, like so many other chronic diseases, is not only manageable, but preventable through clear, healthy and consistent diet and lifestyle choices. Naturopaths stress seven guidelines:

Sleep well: get enough rest and feel rested upon awakening
Drink clean pure water: approximately half one’s body weight in ounces daily
Eat local, fresh, organic and seasonal foods: this supports personal health, local farms and the environment
Do something you love: working in a mentally or emotionally or physically toxic environment only contributes to a person becoming ill sooner or later
Adopt a regular form of movement: find a few fun things to do and get moving!
Maintain a spiritual practice: understanding we are not alone and finding a way to stay centered in our crazy world is vital to long-term health
Remember that everything is a choice: we all can manage what goes into our mind, into our body and into our family and life

Let’s look at what goes into our mouths, specifically, because the gastrointestinal system is like the foundation of a house. It handles all our nutrients, trains and modulates our immune system, manages clearing out all things considered foreign and affects how our brain functions.

The BioFrontiers Institute, at the University of Colorado, is initiating a new citizen-science program called the American Gut Project. They are showing by mapping the microbiome—the genes of the bacteria that live in us—how bacteria work hard to keep us healthy.

It is by putting in foods that feed the gut’s healthy, “good” bacteria that we nurture the integrity of the gut lining that protects us from inflammation and infection, crowding out the unsavory bugs. A good gut bacterium regulates digestion and metabolism and extracts and makes vitamins and other nutrients. It also creates serotonin that our brain needs for learning, mood and memory.

What the American Gut Project is finding is that the American GI tract has a smaller diversity of bacteria than in many other countries. That could be due to the high use of antibiotics and the intake of so many processed foods or the amount of pesticides and other toxins in our food, air and water. These intestinal impacts are all being evaluated. What is seen is that people that live in more rural areas have greater gut microbe diversity and lower rates of chronic diseases. It seems that folks who spend more time outdoors and in the dirt have healthier intestinal bacteria.

Perhaps through this American Gut Project, each one of us can understand how to rebuild ourselves from the inside out, and therefore heal ourselves through appropriate nutrition and lifestyle choices.

Dr. DeeAnn Saber, NMD, is the owner of Wellness First! In Tucson. Contact her at 520-209-1755 or visit

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