Helicobacter Pylori: Not Just A Third World Problem
This wonderfully detailed page has been written by Thyroid Patient Mary.
Many people with Helicobacter pylori bacteria have no outright symptoms which might be typical of H-Pylori, such as abdominal pain or ache, nausea, vomiting, frequent belching, or weight loss. Others may have symptoms that are more subtle, causing dysfunction of other functions of the body.
H.pylori is a sneaky bacteria with multiple prongs that give it a helix shape, helping it to embed in the mucosal lining of the stomach. It lowers stomach acid levels, which then allows parasites and other pathogenic bacteria to invade the body.
When I discovered that I had H.pylori, I started researching all I could on it. I learned that mainstream antibiotic treatments are not effective at eradicating the bacteria. I knew through testing that my body was fairly balanced with good bacteria, so I didn’t want to mess with that if antibiotics weren’t even a good treatment. So after all the research, I chose apple cider vinegar, triphala, oregano oil, coconut oil, licorice root extract, lactoferrin, and mastic gum to treat. (I believe that the triphala in particular was helpful because I had intense gas pains once that herb got into my system; activated charcoal capsules helped.)
Once I treated the H.pylori, my iron levels, which I had been struggling to raise for a year, shot up! I’m eager to see how I feel in six months because it can take time for the body to repair itself after H.pylori has been eradicated.
Also, I felt a great deal of shyness about the fact that I had H.pylori. But I realized how very common it is and knew that I needed to share this important information with others.
How is H. pylori acquired?
Mayo Clinic website states that, “H. pylori bacteria can be passed from person to person through direct contact with saliva, vomit or fecal matter. H. pylori can also be spread through contaminated food or water. The infection is usually acquired during childhood.”
Many feel that H. pylori is more common in meat from feedlots due to the unhealthy conditions of the animals, so the risk of contracting it from this kind is meat is higher.
Those who are at a higher risk include children, elderly, those without an optimal amount of good bacteria in their bodies, or those who are already ill.
Damage it can cause
Please read this valuable information by Caroline Lunger on H.pylori and the damage it can cause. Caroline has already covered many of the things I would include. Damage it can cause include:
Vitamin and mineral deficiencies, especially: B12, iron, vitamin D, lactoferrin
Lowered thyroid hormone conversion
Elevated Histamine levels
Low stomach acid
Neurotransmitter imbalance, including GABA
Liver and Gallbladder issues
Cancers of the stomach, liver and cervix
Teeth and sinus problems
Additionally, h-pylori can cause the following problems:
- H. pylori lowers Stomach Acid:
- H. pylori impairs Iron Absorption:
- H. pylori can cause low zinc/high unbound copper
How to Test
There are blood, breath, and stool testing for H.pylori. I received two blood tests, one from Lab Corp and one from my local hospital, and both came back negative! My positive testing for H.pylori was the MetaMetrix test through Genova.
- The MetaMetrix (Genova) GI Effects Stool Test is a comprehensive stool lab that tests for H.Pylori, opportunistic and pathogenic bacteria, yeast/fungi, parasites, inflammation, digestion, absorption, gluten-intolerance, short chain fatty acids, adiposity, and drug resistant genes (which is useful if you need to treat the above because it tells you which antibiotics and botanicals will likely be ineffective for you). See “Clinician Info” for a full list. This test has to be ordered by a doctor. As of 2013, the MetaMetrix test costs $99 upfront, IF you have insurance covering part of the test. The way they do the billing is confusing, but essentially they “have” to send you a bill two times for their insurance purposes, but don’t require you to pay it. Otherwise, I believe the test costs around $500. Please check with your doctor’s office first, as well as your insurance to see what coverage will be prior. **Please note that this test no longer automatically includes H.pylori testing, but it is available as an add-on. 6-2014
- The Nutrigenomic H.pylori test runs $110 (as of 2014). Other than Maryland or New York state residents, US residents can order it without a doctor.
- DirectLabs.com has an “H. Pylori stool-Genova kit
How to Treat
See the “My Gutsy article” by Caroline Lunger for more information – and of course, do your own research and talk with your doctor before starting on supplements, because some have contraindications. The supplements include:
- Oregano oil
- Golden seal
- Licorice (note that this herb can raise blood pressure because it tanks potassium, so we take the latter)
- Slippery Elm
- Oregon Grape
- Bismuth Citrate
- Bentonite Clay
- Baking Soda
- Mastic gum
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin D (see these studies here, here and here)
- Coconut Oil
- Manuka honey
- Garlic and cruciferous vegetables (although the latter should be used in moderation by those with hypothyroidism, and both avoided by those who have a sulfur detox pathway problem called CBS)
- And more!
Coincidentally, lactoferrin supplements can help eradicate H.pylori and raise iron levels as well.