Gut health and diet: How do maternal dietary choices affect childhood leukemia?

Understanding the complex interplay between diet, gut microbiota and leukemia is an important aspect of leukemia prevention and treatment.

The composition of the gut microbiota may influence treatment outcomes.

What you eat matters most to ensure good health and overall well-being. Diet plays an important role in influencing metabolism, the immune system, and gut microbiota. Many different studies indicate a connection between gut health and diet. However, new research shows a connection between gut health and the microbiome. Research published in Journal NutrientsTalks about gut microbiota changes and the role of diet in leukemia. In the study, further importance was given to maternal diet and childhood leukemia risk, one of the leading causes of death in childhood. There is a need to establish the relationship between microbiota and diet in order to take appropriate actions to prevent chronic diseases and deal with health problems.

How might maternal diet increase leukemia risk?

Previous studies have identified maternal diet, alcohol consumption, and smoking during pregnancy as potential risk factors for childhood leukemia. However, increased intake of fruits, vegetables, and micronutrients such as folic acid during pregnancy may reduce the risk of childhood leukemia. Conversely, a diet rich in sugars and syrups with low seafood, fish, beef and bean intake may increase the risk of leukemia. Childhood leukemia is inversely related to nursing, and research shows that long-term breastfeeding may significantly reduce the risk of developing the disease. Maternal diet during pregnancy can influence the gut microbiota of both mother and infant. Dysbiosis in the gut microbiota can lead to increased gut permeability and metabolic abnormalities, which may impact childhood leukemia risk.

Even factors such as cesarean section, intrapartum antibiotics, and infant formula use can disrupt microbiome development, potentially increasing the risk of infection and inflammation, including leukemia, in children.

What are the therapeutic strategies to prevent childhood leukemia?


Live bacteria called probiotics are meant to improve one’s health when ingested or administered topically. Yogurt and other fermented foods, dietary supplements, and cosmetics all contain them. These have been used to manage intestinal changes and treatment-related side effects in leukemia patients. In one trial, oral probiotics reduced gastrointestinal complications during chemotherapy.


Prebiotics are foods that feed the human microbiota, often high-fiber foods. The goal of using prebiotics is to increase the balance of these microbes. Prebiotic supplementation during chemotherapy may help restore the microbiota, thereby reducing therapy-related side effects.

melatonin supplements

Melatonin supplements have shown promise in improving gut microbiota diversity and composition, pointing to potential benefits for chemotherapy-treated leukemia patients.

Mediterranean diet

A diverse and well-balanced gut microbiota is related to the Mediterranean diet, which is famous for its abundance of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and healthy fats. By following this diet, leukemia and other fatal diseases can be prevented.

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