Did you know what an evil little infection H. pylori is?
It infects more than 50% of the world’s population.
Flip a coin and that’s the probability you have it living inside your GI tract right now.
There’s solid evidence linking this infection to ulcers and stomach cancer. Since 1982, this infection has been studied extensively beyond stomach ulcers and gastritis… and these days it’s also linked to things like:
- NSAID gastropathy (inflammation due to use of NSAIDs)
- Gastric carcinoma (stomach cancer)
- Lymphoma (cancer/tumors in the lymphatic system)
…not to mention disorders outside of the G.I. tract like: rosacea, food allergies, Vitamin B12 deficiency, and open-angle glaucoma. It’s also been noted that H. pylori infections can increase inflammation throughout the entire body.
That’s a whole lot of bad stuff. The evidence gets even worse, just look at how prevalent H. pylori is in the following conditions:
- 80-100% of those with duodenal ulcers
- 70% of people with gastric ulcers
And yet, we aren’t totally sure how it’s spread. We do know that if you live with someone with an H. pylori infection, your chances of developing an infection are much greater.
Whether it’s passed through saliva, fecal matter, food, or animals is still up for debate.
Those with low stomach acid may be at a greater risk, too.
Stomach acid not only helps to digest food, but it also prevents infections. As you get older, your stomach acid levels decrease (a condition called hypochlorhydria) and it may be why the population over 50 has a higher prevalence of infection.
Not only that, but H. pylori can suppress stomach acid levels, making the cycle even worse. According to the Textbook of Functional Medicine, low stomach acid predisposes one to the growth of H. pylori and is also linked to SIBO and inadequate Vitamin B12 absorption. It’s also noted that low levels of vitamin C, and vitamin E in gastric fluids promote the growth of H. pylori.
And while there aren’t decisive studies showing that H. pylori is the direct cause of heartburn and acid reflux, there is a logical implied association there. Not to mention, mountains of clinical case studies of people getting rid of heartburn after treating H. pylori.
Doctors usually treat H. pylori with a combination of antibiotics, like amoxicillin, lansoprazole, and/or clarithromycin along with an antacid regimen (usually some PPI). While this can and does work (70-80% rate), there’s major side effects to this treatment method.
Taking several antibiotics at the same time increases risk of antibiotic resistance in the future, it significantly and negatively affects gut flora levels, and the success rate of this treatment program is getting worse over time.
A healthy gut flora is critical to whole body health, so a heavy dose antibiotic protocol isn’t going to support that. In fact, one study actually linked antibiotic eradication of H. pylori to fungal growth in gut mucosa, which actually makes sense – very logical sense.
You are literally trying to destroy a bacteria, and sadly the antibiotics aren’t selective for just one species of bacteria – you’re destroying all bacteria — taking out the good guys, too.
So, what should you do?
Here’s where things get tricky.
Our current point of view is that if you’re struggling with ulcers, gastritis, heartburn, GERD, acid reflux, or other GI symptoms AND you test positive for H. pylori… it’s probably a good idea to treat it.
The most common reason being: H. pylori has been shown to suppress stomach acid, which you need to fix to finally get rid of the symptoms of heartburn once and for all…
Contrary to what you might have been told, there are 7 root causes of heartburn, acid reflux or GERD.
And it starts with understanding that the main issue isn’t that you aren’t producing too much acid. Instead, it’s actually the opposite – you’re likely producing too little acid.
The root cause of this low stomach acid can be multifactorial, but we do know that H. pylori infections can play a huge role.
The good news is, there are many other ways to get rid of it without the nasty side effects of strong antibiotic treatments.
Contact Karen at KJ Wellness Solutions for all your digestive issues including: Acid Reflux, Constipation, Colitis, Diarrhea, Diverculitis, Gastritis, GERD, H-pylori, Heartburn, IBS, Leaky Gut, SIBO & Ulcers.