Helicobacter Pylori and Low Stomach Acid
Excerpts from: Nutritional Causes, Prevention and Therapies
"stress" was a popular basis for stomach ulcers years ago,
Helicobacter Pylori (H. pylori) has become the ever popular cause for peptic and duodenal
ulcers since its discovery in the early 1980's.
Some doctors place the
bacterium's involvement as high as 90%, however medical drugs, alcohol, poor nutrition, high-carb and sugar diets, and an overload of toxins are a much bigger factor in the development of ulcers than given credit by conventional medicine.
is easily inhibited by raising stomach acid, provided this
is done before much damage is done by the bug, which is the reason why people
with normal acid levels are generally asymptomatic and don't get ulcers unless
they are on certain drugs or consume large amounts of alcohol. Coffee has been found to aggravate the symptoms of H.
Unfortunately, people with reduced acid levels often times suffer
from what they assume is high stomach acid (heartburn, bloating,
nausea, frequent burping), and as a result frequently take antacids. By doing so, they encourage greater H. Pylori
activity and thus increase the risk for ulcers or gastric cancers, with the bug
also being implicated for heart disease, gum disease, asthma, rosacea, and chronic headaches or migraines as well. If
patients had indeed high acid levels (as some physicians still have them believe),
then why do symptoms quickly improve when stomach acid levels are raised?
The confusion usually stems from the fact that esophageal reflux (GERD) causes
heartburn, from acid getting up into the esophagus, which doesn't have the
acid-protective mucus coating of the stomach. However, H. pylori reduces stomach acid.
The paradox IS that having enough stomach acid keeps the valve to the esophagus closed so it cannot be harmed by stomach fluids. Also when the stomach produces stomach acid it also produces bicarbonate of soda. Bicarbonate of soda is what protects the stomach lining from being damaged by the acid. Therefore, it stands to reason that IF the stomach isn't producing enough acid it also won't be producing enough bicarbonate of soda which also allows ulcers to form inside the stomach.
After the discovery of H. Pylori, and once medical science accepted it as being
a significant factor with ulcers, predictions were made that ulcers and related
stomach complaints would become a thing of the past. However, there are as many
patients as ever complaining of stomach problems, including those who had been "supposedly" "cured" of H. Pylori.
The reason is very simply low stomach
acid - which had not been corrected, even though that was the cause in
the first place. Antibiotic-resistant Helicobacter Pylori cases have now become
a commonplace occurrence as well, and there are also
plenty of patients who simply don't tolerate any of a number of antibiotics
used in the treatment of H. Pylori. That is because antibiotics are toxic, and while they kill H. pylori they will also wipe out good organism as well, leaving the door open to candida/yeast overgrowth.
Following are some "Natural Remedies" that have been
used with mixed results for H. Pylori:
Whether regular consumption of sulfur-containing
sources such as Garlic and Onions is of
any benefit for H. Pylori symptoms is unclear, as some individuals seem to
benefit, while others don't.
question mark applies to the regular intake of Licorice and Cinnamon,
larger amounts of Vitamin C, as well as Coconut oil, or spicy
foods such as Hot (Chili) Peppers which all
have shown to inhibit Helicobacter Pylori in clinical trials.
Probiotic-types of remedies (friendly bacteria) consisting of Lactobacillus
Acidophilus and Bifidus are an
important addition to any therapy for H. Pylori infection, which will help inhibit it, and counteract any headaches, early-morning nausea, or general
dyspepsia associated with low stomach acid alone, or following antibiotic
therapy, with the acidophilus being best taken at bedtime. Some patients only
tolerate the non-dairy lactobacillus acidophilus without the bifidus.
An optional adjunct remedy in the treatment of H. Pylori is Bismuth,
which is also part of over the counter products such as Pepto-Bismol. Cellular
bismuth and lithium levels routinely test below normal with low acid levels,
respectively to upper stomach involvement (bismuth), and lower stomach /
duodenal involvement (lithium).
Sulforaphane is a promising compound that
inhibits extracellular, intracellular, and
antibiotic-resistant strains of Helicobacter Pylori. This effect was identified
by scientists at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore
while investigating sulforaphane - one of a class of
chemicals called isothiocyanates - for its protective
effect against cancer.
Sulforaphane is found in
broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables such as cauliflower, cabbage, and
kale, with broccoli sprouts containing anywhere from 30 to 50
times the concentration of the chemical as contained in the mature plants.
Most patients who don't produce enough
stomach acid will continue to experience problems, even if antibiotic therapy or any other "natural" approach has successfully killed the it, but not everyone necessarily always suffers from "heartburn"-like
symptoms, or bloating.
Low stomach acid
can be a factor with headaches, chronic fatigue, non-specific aches and pains, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis and other calcium metabolism-impaired problems --
all the way to various cancers. Many of these complaints are rectified by
normalizing stomach acid, and from personal clinical observation, I'm convinced
that even several non-gastric types of cancers could be prevented, since they never
seem to develop in the presence of normal acid levels.
To help the symptoms, or until any of several possible causes for low stomach
acid are resolved, taking betaine hydrochloric acid with meals is indicated.
When nothing has been successful, or when there is intolerance to most of the remedies that are usually helpful with low-acid symptoms, then regularly eating 1 to 2 tablespoons of sauerkraut whenever symptoms occur is the best option. Sauerkraut has the unique ability to lower stomach acid levels when they are too high and increase stomach acid levels when they are too low. If a person cannot digest the cabbage in the sauerkraut they can drink the juice instead.