Year 2018
December 2018
18 December 2018

Prepping Your Gut with Hexbio®: For War on Cancer

Healthy gut is imperative for a good immune health and in fighting cancer. Unfortunately, cancer treatment such as chemotherapy compromise the gut health in cancer patients. Cancer patients, particularly colorectal cancer (CRC) patients, experience digestive issues during and after treatment such as diarrhoea and constipation, which leads to malnutrition and poor quality of life. Clinical studies have shown that consumption of HEXBIO® microbial cell preparation (MCP) is very useful for people with CRC in improving their gut health.

Prepping Your Gut with Hexbio®: For War on Cancer
Written by Annie Kong, MMedSc

The gut is home to over 30 trillion microbes1. These gut bacteria –some good, some bad – work together with the gut cells playing an essential role in supporting immune and digestive health.

Unfortunately, cancer treatment, including surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy, which are often effective in treating malignancies are not without side effects. In addition to damaging gut cells, cancer treatments can disturb the symbiotic relationship between gut bacteria and gut cells. Such disturbances disrupts nutrient absorption, digestive and immune function. Cancer patients, particularly colorectal cancer patients, are known to suffer from complications during and after treatment such as diarrhoea, abdominal pain, bloating and constipation which result in malnutrition and significantly reduced quality of life2.

Studies have shown that consumption of microbial cell preparation (MCP) comprising of beneficial bacteria may be very beneficial for people with colorectal cancer.  Colorectal cancer (CRC), also known as colon cancer or bowel cancer, is one of the major cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide, representing the most common malignancy of the gastrointestinal tract3.

Feed intolerance and reduced recovery following abdominal surgery remain as major factors affecting morbidity of CRC patients. In a recent study, patients whom received daily HEXBIO® MCP containing Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria strains showed improved recovery from surgery-induced injury and feed tolerance post-surgery; 31% faster return of normal gut function and 50% shorter duration of hospital stay in comparison to patients administered with placebo4.

The positive health outcomes of MCP on bowel symptoms and quality of life in CRC patients are also extensively studied. In one study, combined supplementation of HEXBIO® MCP and omega-3 fatty acid significantly reduced side effects of chemotherapy such as nausea, diarrhoea and vomiting and reduced inflammation in CRC patients5. The CRC patients whom received the supplementation also had improvement in quality of life as compared to placebo group. This study suggests that combined supplementation with HEXBIO® MCP can be used effectively in the management of chemotheraphy-induced side effects in CRC patients.

Recent advances have shown the roles of beneficial bacteria in the gut to exert cancer protection properties through their ability to improve the immune response for their antitumour effects and restoring the growth of gut microbes6. In an animal model study published in Science, mice that had been implanted with melanoma tumours were found to have improved tumour control after oral administration of Bifidobacteria, while combined oral administration of Bifidobacteria and immunotherapy stopped tumour growth completely7.  According to a study in Journal of the National Cancer Institute, scientists have discovered that cancer patients had more Fusobacteria, microorganisms found in the mouth and gut that are associated with gut inflammation8.  As such, restoring the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut may improve cancer treatment9.

Based on current presented evidence, consumption of MCP before and after surgery may be part of an enhanced recovery programme aimed for CRC patients to recover more quickly. Furthermore, healthcare professionals from the University of Hong Kong and University of Eastern Finland have concluded that beneficial bacteria supplementation can be used as a complementary cancer prevention and/or cancer treatment10.

The improved understanding about roles of beneficial bacteria makes us think about the importance of using microbial cell preparation made of multiple high-quality strains of beneficial bacteria as an adjunct for cancer treatment – wouldn’t you want to know more about it?


  1. Sender, R., Fuchs, S., & Milo, R. (2016). Revised estimates for the number of human and bacteria cells in the body. PLoS biology, 14(8), e1002533.
  2. Astin, M., Griffin, T., Neal, R. D., Rose, P., & Hamilton, W. (2011). The diagnostic value of symptoms for colorectal cancer in primary care: a systematic review. British Journal of General Practice, 61(586), e231–e243.
  3. Hsu, L., Jeon, J., Brenner, H., Gruber, S. B., Schoen, R. E., Berndt, S. I., … & Harrison, T. A. (2015). A model to determine colorectal cancer risk using common genetic susceptibility loci. Gastroenterology, 148(7), 1330-1339.
  4. Tan, C. K., Said, S., Rajandram, R., Wang, Z., Roslani, A. C., & Chin, K. F. (2016). Pre-surgical administration of microbial cell preparation in colorectal cancer patients: a randomized controlled trial. World journal of surgery, 40(8), 1985-1992.
  5. Golkhalkhali, B., Rajandram, R., Paliany, A. S., Ho, G. F., Ishak, W., Zamaniah, W., & Chin, K. F. (2017). Strain‐specific probiotic (microbial cell preparation) and omega‐3 fatty acid in modulating quality of life and inflammatory markers in colorectal cancer patients: A randomized controlled trial. Asia‐Pacific Journal of Clinical Oncology.
  6. Yu, A. Q., & Li, L. (2016). The potential role of probiotics in cancer prevention and treatment. Nutrition and cancer, 68(4), 535-544.
  7. Sivan, A., Corrales, L., Hubert, N., Williams, J. B., Aquino-Michaels, K., Earley, Z. M., & Chang, E. B. (2015). Commensal Bifidobacterium promotes antitumor immunity and facilitates anti–PD-L1 efficacy. Science, aac4255.
  8. Ahn, J., Sinha, R., Pei, Z., Dominianni, C., Wu, J., Shi, J.,& Yang, L. (2013). Human gut microbiome and risk for colorectal cancer. Journal of the National Cancer Institute, 105(24), 1907-1911.
  9. Bhatt, A. P., Redinbo, M. R., & Bultman, S. J. (2017). The role of the microbiome in cancer development and therapy. CA: a cancer journal for clinicians.
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