Helicobacter Pylori

Helicobacter pylori is a species of bacteria which resides in the mouth and gastric mucosa. It is transmitted from person to person orally.  Helicobacter pylori can be present in many individuals without it causing health problems. If this issue is left unchecked this bacteria can be the causative factor behind many health complications.  This means that often the bacteria goes unnoticed and is asymptomatic. Some health complaints are usually seen when the bacteria overgrows. Some complications include:

  • stomach pain and inflammation
  • decreased digestive capacity
  • decreased absorption of nutrients
  • decreased production of hydrochloric acid
  • imbalance of healthy gut bacteria
  • over acid stomach
  • changes in bowel habits.

Helicobacter pylori infection may increase the risk of the following:

  • heart disease and stroke
  • gastritis and heartburn
  • hypochlorhydria (decreased stomach acidity)
  • halitosis (bad breath) and periodontal disease
  • development of peptic and duodenal ulcers and intestinal cramps
  • predisposes to gastric carcinoma
  • nutritional deficiencies (especially B12)

Pharmaceutical treatment of Helicobacter pylori

The usual pharmaceutical treatment procedure for Helicobacter pylori is Proton pump inhibitors which reduce the production of acids in the stomach and antibiotics to address the bacterial infection.  Although results are often seen with this conventional approach, reoccurring flare ups are still common.  The naturopathic approach is to gain long term health by eradication of the problematic bacteria and improving the health of the digestion, liver function and digestion.

Diet tips for Helicobacter pylori

  • Begin the day with a small glass of warm water with 1/2 a lemon squeezed into it. Lemon turns alkaline in the stomach and promotes good digestion and liver function as well as stimulating bile and cleansing the bowels
  • Eat simple nourishing foods and avoid foods which are hard to digest (red meat, sugar, refined flours)
  • Manuka Honey added to food, smoothies, warm water or taken off the spoon may help to reduce the bacteria due to its potent anti-bacterial effects
  • Beetroot juice contains Betaine, Paw Paw contains Papain and Pineapple contains Bromelain which are all digestive enzymes to break down food properly. Make a vegetable juice with beetroot, carrot, celery and ginger or a smoothie with paw paw and banana or a fruit juice with pineapple, green apple and mint each day to promote digestion

Natural remedies for Helicobacter pylori

  • Some herbs and spices may be helpful such as Cinnamon, Dill Seeds (two teaspoons of crushed Dill Seeds steeped in hot Water), Fennel tea, Chamomile tea, Peppermint tea and Ginger as a tea or in your cooking. These herbs promote digestion and may help to reduce the effects of Helicobacter pylori bacteria
  • Gentian, Marshmallow, Globe Artichoke, Dandelion Root, St Marys Thistle, Golden Seal, Meadowsweet may help to prevent hypochlorhydria and ensure that the digestion has enough bitters to maintain an adequate pH and inhibit the over-proliferation of bacteria in the gastrointestinal system. Raising of the stomach digestive acids and thereby reducing its pH is a therapy which should provide long term results as Helicobacter pylori thrives in a low acid stomach environment
  • Slippery Elm (1 teaspoon in a small glass of water 15 minutes before meals) may alleviate heartburn (by coating and “smoothing” the irritated upper gastrontestinal tract). Add slippery elm to Zinc liquid, probiotic powder and glutamine powder to help restore digestion and healing of the gut lining
  • Herbs which are anti-bacterial and may help to suppress the flare up of helicobacter pylori are Golden Seal, Olive leaf, Ginger, Cinnamon, Pau D’arco, Oregano, Oregon Grape Root, Thyme, Tumeric, Garlic, and Licorice
  • Antioxidants are a beneficial way to ensure that the immune system is functioning optimally and to ensure good anti-oxidant status. Vitamin C, Zinc, Vitamin A, Bioflavinoids, Selenium or herbs such as Grape Seed, Green tea, St Marys Thistle, Bilberry, Acai and Polygonum
  • Probiotics may help to inhibit the bacteria and rebalance the ratio of good bacteria to detrimental bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract.
  • Supplementing with digestive enzymes may alleviate heartburn (by facilitating the digestion of undigested food). The principal Digestive Enzymes used to treat reflux/ indigestion include:
    – Amylase (which digest polysaccharides found in grains)
    – Cellulase (which digests cellulose found in fruits and vegetables)
    – Lipases (which digest dietary fats)