What we eat can affect the outcome of chemotherapy – and likely many other medical treatments – because of ripple effects that begin in our gut, new research suggests.
University of Virginia scientists found that diet can cause microbes in the gut to trigger changes in the host’s response to a chemotherapy drug. Common components of our daily diets (for example, amino acids) could either increase or decrease both the effectiveness and toxicity of the drugs used for cancer treatment, the researchers found.
The discovery opens an important new avenue of medical research and could have major implications for predicting the right dose and better controlling the side effects of chemotherapy, the researchers report. The finding also may help explain differences seen in patient responses to chemotherapy that have baffled doctors until now.