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Synbiotics for Easing Chemotherapy Side Effects in Breast Cancer Patients

Posted by Manuela Boyle on 3 October 2023
Synbiotics for Easing Chemotherapy Side Effects in Breast Cancer Patients

Breast cancer has been on the rise, posing a growing threat to women's health worldwide. As the primary treatment, chemotherapy can be physically and emotionally taxing.

However, a new study delves into the potential benefits of synbiotics – a combination of probiotics (beneficial gut bacteria) and prebiotics (non-digestible fibers that support bacterial growth) – in mitigating the common side effects of chemotherapy.

In this study, 67 breast cancer patients participated, seeking relief from the burdensome side effects of chemotherapy.

The intervention involved an 8-week supplementation of synbiotics, with researchers carefully adjusting for confounding variables. The results were promising.

After the intervention period, the synbiotics group experienced a significant reduction in the severity of two common chemotherapy-related issues: abnormal bowel movements (P = 0.005) and fatigue (P < 0.001), compared to the placebo group.

Additionally, there was an improvement in nausea/vomiting (P = 0.015) and appetite loss (P < 0.001) by the end of the study, though statistical significance was not reached compared to the placebo group.

These findings highlight the potential of an 8-week synbiotics supplementation as a complementary approach to alleviating some of the challenging side effects faced by breast cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy.

While the study's results are promising, further well-designed clinical trials with larger sample sizes are needed to explore synbiotics' efficacy comprehensively. Additionally, establishing a standardized therapeutic protocol for synbiotic administration in such patients should be a focus of future research. Synbiotics may offer a ray of hope for breast cancer patients seeking relief from the burdens of chemotherapy.

Khazaei, Y., Basi, A., Fernandez, M.L. et al. The effects of synbiotics supplementation on reducing chemotherapy-induced side effects in women with breast cancer: a randomized placebo-controlled double-blind clinical trial. BMC Complement Med Ther 23, 339 (2023). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12906-023-04165-8

Author:Manuela Boyle
Tags:NewsCancerchemotherapy side effectsBlogs


  • The Institute for Functional Medicine
  • Society for Integrative Oncology
  • Naturopaths and Herbalists Association of Australia
  • Australian Traditional-Medicine Society
  • British Naturopathic Association