What is HELICOBACTER PYLORI (h. pylori)?
Helicobacter Pylori are a bacterium that infects the human stomach and duodenum (upper part of the small intestine). It is one of the most common infections found in the human worldwide.
It is the bacteria that are strongly linked to the development of stomach ulcers, duodenal ulcers and stomach cancer.
Most people who have this infection acquire it during childhood. It is thought that is spread from person to person and can sometimes be found in several members of the same family.
The majority of the people with the infection (80%) are without noticeable symptoms. However, those with symptoms usually develop inflammation of the stomach, which leads to ulcers.
Once the infection is present, it persists for many years, if not for life.
What can cause H. pylori infection?
- Family history of stomach cancer can increase your risk
- Low stomach acid (hypochlorhydria), which can be caused by aid-suppressing medication for GERD
- Antacid use
- Lifestyle factors (such as smoking, alcohol, coffee, diets high in sugar and trans fats and stress can increase your risk for the development of an ulcer from H. Pylori.
- Low nutrient status (low levels of Vitamin C and E can promote growth of H. pylori
- Lowered immune system activity
How is H. pylori usually treated?
In most cases, it is detected when an ulcer develops in the small intestine or stomach. Conventional medial therapy usually involves a one-week “triple therapy,” consisting of an acid-blocking medication along with two or three different antibiotics.
Even though this therapy is effective, there is increasing concern due to the growing number of infected individuals found to have antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Frequent (or prolonged) antibiotic therapy also eliminates beneficial bacteria in the gut.
Anytime the balance of intestinal organisms is disrupted, harmful organism have an advantage, which can lead to systemic consequences (such as dysregulation of the immune system).
This can be avoided by using probiotics during and after the use of antibiotic therapy.
What are some complementary and integrative medicine treatments for H. pylori?
- Lifestyle and diet changes
- Bismuth: Prevents from attaching to the stomach wall and prevents the organisms from multiplying.
- Beta Carotene, Vitamin C and E, minerals and NAC: Encourages the protection of mucus that lines and protects the stomach
- Mastic gum: Protects the lining of the stomach from ulceration and inhibits the GROWTH of
- DGL: Strengthens the protective mucus layer of the stomach, stimulates the immune system and heals ulcers
- Zinc Carnosine: This special form of zinc allows for a slow release of zinc within the stomach, allowing for higher local concentrations of zinc.
If you want to read more about Gastrointestinal Health read the GERD article.