Pelvic radiotherapy has been frequently reported to cause acute and late onset gastrointestinal (GI) toxicities associated with significant morbidity and mortality. Although the underlying mechanisms of pelvic radiation-induced GI toxicity are poorly understood, they are known to involve a complex interplay between all cell types comprising the intestinal wall. Furthermore, increasing evidence states that the human gut microbiome plays a role in the development of radiation-induced health damaging effects. Gut microbial dysbiosis leads to diarrhea and fatigue in half of the patients. As a result, reinforcement of the microbiome has become a hot topic in various medical disciplines. To counteract GI radiotoxicities, apart from traditional pharmacological compounds, adjuvant therapies are being developed including food supplements like vitamins, prebiotics, and probiotics. Despite the easy, cheap, safe, and feasible approach to protect patients against acute radiation-induced toxicity, clinical trials have yielded contradictory results. In this review, a detailed overview is given of the various clinical, intestinal manifestations after pelvic irradiation as well as the role of the gut microbiome herein. Furthermore, whilst discussing possible strategies to prevent these symptoms, food supplements are presented as auspicious, prophylactic, and therapeutic options to mitigate acute pelvic radiation-induced GI injury by exploring their molecular mechanisms of action.
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