Helicobacter pylorus (H. pylori) is a bacterium of the stomach also known as Campylobacter pylori, which can be a factor in the development of ulcers in the stomach. Gastric acids begin to erode the stomach lining causing inflammation and creating an open sore (ulcer). H. pylori infection is a strong risk factor for certain types of stomach cancer as well.
H. pylori is an insidious adversary in that it has the ability to attach itself to the cell lining, hiding in the mucous covering the intestinal wall, enabling the microbe to escape the harsh effects of acid found in the stomach. Although the cells of the stomach lining slough off frequently, it has the ability, due to a specific pH sensitive protein (BabA), to detach from old cells and re-attach to the new cells on the stomach lining, before being banished into the lumen, thus recycling the infection.
How is this bacteria contracted? Surprisingly, H. pylori bacteria can be spread between individuals by sharing utensils, drinking out of an infected person’s cup or glass, or even kissing. It can also be contracted through contaminated food or water.
Most people are unaware they have H. pylori infection because they never experience symptoms. If signs and symptoms of stomach distress appear, your doctor will probably test you for H. pylori infection. If results are positive, traditional treatment for H. pylori may include antibiotics such as amoxicillin, tetracycline, metronidazole or clarithromycin which are usually prescribed for a period of two weeks.
For those interested in a natural method of eradication of H. pylori, studies have shown the following to be effective in some cases:
Broccoli sprouts: shown to reduce H. pylori colonization, but not completely eradicate it.1
Olive oil: 2007 study reveals polyphenols contained in olive oil have been effective.2
Licorice root: A 2009 study determined that licorice root can inhibit the adhesion of Helicobacter pylori to human gastric mucosa.3
Green tea: A 2009 study concluded that consuming green tea may help kill and slow the growth of H. pylori.4
Manuka honey: Comes from a specific flower source and has been shown to possess bacteriostatic properties against H. pylori.5
Colon cleansing may also help to reduce the presence of unwanted bacteria, reducing stress on the nervous system and other organs and lending support to the entire immune system. Colon cleansing gently lifts unwanted mucous containing the H. pylori bacteria off the colon wall, encouraging the colon to heal. Supplementing with probiotic and digestive enzymes is a therapy advocated by natural practitioners – and more and more medical doctors – who feel that the digestive system benefits with the balance of intestinal flora.
Cheryl Kane-Banke is a certified therapist with A Healthier You in Palm Desert which is owned and operated by Deb McMahon, RN, CNHP. For more information call (760) 360.8877.