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Understanding H. pylori and its effects on health

Food, Medicines, and Lies

The Health Talk series by Dr. Prritii

A large portion of the world's population harbors the bacterium Helicobacter pylori, commonly known as H. pylori. This organism is generally inactive, causing no problems to most individuals and persisting for centuries. Despite this, 10% to 20% of people may experience mild symptoms, and some of these may even face serious fitness complications. The World Health Organization classifies H. pylori as a Class I carcinogen, linking it to conditions such as gastritis, MALT lymphoma, peptic and duodenal ulcers, and even stomach cancer.

Understanding H. pylori and its effects on health

Discovery of H. pylori

Gram-negative, spiral-shaped Helicobacter pylori bacteria live deep within the mucosal layer of the stomach. Its life, which has affected humans for millennia, was simply described after its discovery by two Australian scientists in 1982, a breakthrough that earned the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 2005. This discovery became revolutionary, proving that microorganisms must indeed survive and thrive within the acidic environment of the stomach. Responsible for almost all gastric cancers, frequent gastritis and peptic ulcers, H. pylori can persist within the less acidic mucosal layer of the stomach.

Effects of H. pylori on health

H. pylori bacteria normally reside in the lining of the stomach and the initial part of the small intestine, called the duodenum. They produce urease, an enzyme that converts urea into ammonia, which neutralizes stomach acid and allows microorganisms to thrive. Over time, this can cause tissue damage, resulting in gastritis or ulcers.

Health Complications from H. Pylori Infection

Symptoms of H. pylori contamination largely result from gastritis or ulcers, with common signs and symptoms such as:




decreased desire for food

frequent burping

However, more serious symptoms requiring immediate hospital treatment may include:

constant tiredness

stomach cramps or extreme pain


difficulty breathing


dark or tarry stools

Should you get tested for H. pylori?

Routine testing: Routine testing for H. pylori is not recommended unless you exhibit associated conditions, including chronic dyspepsia or peptic ulcers. For individuals with standard symptoms of acid reflux, testing for H. pylori is usually no longer important. However, Dr Priti Nanda Sibal points out that if a family member has a high degree of H. pylori, it is prudent to get close contacts, such as spouses and children, tested, as early detection can lead to additional powerful management through nutritional interventions.

Approaches to the treatment of H-pylori infection

Treating H. pylori is challenging, often requiring a combination of multiple capsules several times a day for up to two weeks. Antibiotic resistance has made this infection more difficult to deal with. Success depends on taking the proper mix of medicines, following the prescribed regimen and completing the entire course of treatment. Unfortunately, reinfection or recurrence is not always uncommon.

Functional Medicine and H.Pylori

Functional medicine emphasizes maintaining a balance between useful and dangerous gut bacteria. Antibiotic aftercare is important, as probiotics can increase the effectiveness of treatment by replenishing healthy bacteria. Lactobacillus casei, L. Reuteri, L. Probiotics such as Rhamnosus GG, and Saccharomyces boulardii have shown promise in supporting H. pylori treatment.

Functional Medicine and H.Pylori

Natural antimicrobial and antioxidant treatments can also fight H. pylori. Nigella sativa, also known as black seed, has gastroprotective properties and when combined with honey, it can effectively help eliminate H. pylori. Olive oil, mastic gum, sulforaphane -rich broccoli, turmeric, green tea, and licorice root all provide blessings against H. pylori due to their antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.

Functional medicine triple therapy – consisting of bismuth, berberine, and mastic gum – has shown great results in treating H. pylori. Post-treatment efforts may suggest a reduction in contamination. However, should improved antibody titers after treatment represent biofilm disruption, it is a positive sign and not the cause of the condition. Adjustments to treatment may also include accelerated dosing of triple therapy, an additional direction of conventional treatment, or the addition of other mentioned dietary supplements.

It is important to note that H. pylori infection is stubborn, and functional treatment advocates a 6-month regimen to promote an intestinal environment conducive to proper health after infection.

It is important to note that H. pylori infection is stubborn, and functional treatment advocates a 6-month regimen to promote an intestinal environment conducive to proper health after infection.


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