A recent in-vitro study, suggests that a specific strain of probiotic bacteria, Enterococcus faecalis, may possess anti-cancer properties.

The study revealed that the bacteria, that were isolated from the vaginal microbiota of a group of Iranian women, produce certain by-products which appear to promote apoptosis, or programmed cell death, in the 4 different cancer cell lines that were studied. Importantly however, the bacteria was not found to have any detrimental effect on the life-span of healthy ‘control’ cells.

The 4 cancer cell lines that the probiotic was tested on were: AGS (gastric cancer cells), HeLa (cervical cancer cells), MCF-7 (breast cancer cells) and HT-29 (colo-rectal cancer cells). Proteins secreted by the bacteria seem to signal the cancer cells to ‘commit suicide’, whilst not causing any significant side-effects or damage to normal, healthy cells. Incidentally we've talked about apoptosis before, with regards to a study on grape seed extract here.

At OptiBac Probiotics we are keen to point out that this study does not infer that all probiotic strains possess anti-cancer properties, but it is however a very exciting finding, and one that we hope will initiate more research in to the potential use of probiotics against various different cancer types.

Our new FAQ on female health looks at other strains of friendly bacteria found in a healthy vagina, and details the best strains of live cultures to supplement to positively influence vaginal health. Click here to read more.

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