Have you ever heard about the so called “most successful pathogen in the human history”? It is a bacteria that is called the Helicobacter Pylori (H.pylori), and it’s around in the last few hundred thousand years. And there is nothing uncommon or weird for a human to have this bacteria living inside for their whole life, and not being aware of it.
According to a research done by the CDC, 66% of the world’s population are affected by this bacteria Helicobacter Pylori, which is shortly called H.pylori. In certain countries the statistics are even worse, 80% of the adults have it, and 10% of the children population in those countries have it. Whether you have this infection or not, you will not experience any symptoms from it. But if this bacteria lives inside your body, the risk of gastric cancer is elevated by 6 times. Besides that, the H.pylori sometimes is the main cause of some more dangerous diseases such as gastritis and peptic ulcers. Also this bacteria not only can cause the development of stomach ulcers, also it may cause the development of ulcers in the smaller intestine and your esophagus.
Probably you are already thinking, how is this bacteria so common, and yet so dangerous and harmful. You can simply get affected by it, if someone that already has it switches drinks with you or share utensils. There are a lot of medical treatments against this bacteria, but each one of them has its own side-effects, ups and downs. Lets take the antibiotics for an example, they will destroy a part of this bacteria and some will remain, but the good bacteria will also be destroyed in this process. But we are in luck, because Mother Nature has given us natural remedies that can effectively treat and eliminate this bacterial infection!
What is H. pylori?
If it was unclear to you what exactly was the H.pylori, then you should know that it is a bacteria with a spirally sharped structure. Also there is an infection and inflammation triggered in your duodenum and stomach. This is that type of bacteria that often is called the “ulcer bacteria”, because it is boosting the formation of cytotoxin (Vac – A, or vacuolating cytotoxin A), which is the one responsible for the precipitation of an ulcer somewhere in our digestive tract.
Where does this bacteria mostly live in our body? H.pylori most commonly finds its home in the mucosal layer, which is guarding and covering our tissues that are lining our stomach and our smaller intestine as well. When the inner layer of our stomach is successfully inflamed by this bacteria, that is the time when an ulcer is formed. According to the researches 90% of the duodenal ulcers (in the upper small intestine) and 80% of the gastric ulcers (in our stomach) are formed by the H.pylori.
According to the researches, experts concluded that the H.pylori bacteria is contagious, but it is still a little unclear how this bacteria is passed from one person to another. Because this bacteria is running inside families, and mostly it is living in a lot of crowded places or situations, and in some unsanitary conditions as well, and all of these facts are pointing towards the contagious nature of the H.pylori.
Signs & Symptoms
As we mentioned before, most of the people who have H.pylori inside them, won’t even notice and will not experience any type of symptoms.
But there are some times when the infection is showing itself, and here is a list of symptoms that may be caused:
- Abdominal discomfort
There are certain more dangerous symptoms that may occur:
- Decreased or loss of appetite
- Peptic ulcers
- Bad breath
- Anemia (low red blood cell count)
- Dark or tarry stools
- Nausea and vomiting that can include vomiting blood
- Abdominal pain
Causes & Risk Factors
There aren’t many causes for H.pylori, most commonly you can get it from the transmission person to person, by a direct contact with the vomit, saliva or the fecal matter of an individual that already is infected with the bacteria. So most common ways to spread this bacteria is sharing utensils and kissing. Also there is another way to pass it or spread it, through the consumption of contaminated food or water.
The riskiest period of getting this bacteria is the childhood, especially in the listed circumstances:
- Lack of reliable and clean water
- Living in a crowded place with too many people
- Living with a parent that is already affected by H.pylori
- You live in a country where crowded living and unsanitary places are a common thing
Conventional H. pylori Treatment
If you want to take a test and see if you are affected by the Helicobacter pylori bacteria, than you must visit the doctor and let him take a blood test, stool test or breath test.
Usually this bacteria is treated with several types of medications, and two of them must be antibiotics, which are most likely to get rid of the bacteria. The other medications which are prescribed are usually acid reducers. Why are multiple antibiotics needed? According to the researches, a single antibiotic is not able to kill the bacteria, therefore at least 2 antibiotics are prescribed for the treatment to be consumed at the same time.
Typically the H.pylori treatment includes acid reducers such as lansoprazole, esomeprazole, pantoprazole, omeprazole, and their dose is increased if the patient is experiencing heartburn or ulcers. Also one of the must commonly recommended ingredients is the bismuth subsalicyclate. If you are having a heartburn, your doctor might prescribe you histamine blocking medications as well.
Having said all this, you can see that if you treat it with medications, it means you will need to consume 14 or more medications, which is a handful of pills, every day for weeks. After about two weeks, your doctor will call you for another test, from which he will see if his prescription was successful to eliminate the H.pylori bacteria or not.
There are some situations where the patients still have the bacteria inside them, and they get another two weeks of consuming pills and medications. According to the statistics and researches 20% of the patients will get 2 more weeks of the treatment after their second test.
9 Natural H. pylori Treatments
If you are not willing to take these medical prescriptions then you can take a look at these natural ways to eliminate the H.pylori. Therefore we (the whole world population) must find more natural ways to eliminate the H.pylori, because this bacteria is constantly getting more and more resistant to antibiotics, and it is not likely that it will be slowing down.
Here is a list of the Top 9 scientifically proven natural treatments that will help you get rid of this infection for good:
1. Black Seed (Nigella Sativa)
According to many researches, the black seed has been proven to have numerous abilities to fight against this infection. It was also proven by experts that patients with H.pylori eliminated the bacteria faster and more effective with the consumption of omeprazole and 2 g of black seeds on daily basis, than the patients who received the standard therapy of two different antiboitocs and an acid blocker as well. Taking different doses of black seeds such as 1 gram or 3 grams were less effective than the dose of 2 grams. According to the researches the black seeds contain some anti-H.pylori properties which seem to be more effective than the so called “triple therapy” which we mentioned above. The black seeds also contain some gastro-protective and acid reducing properties.
Since the H.pylori is a bad bacteria or unwanted, than we can use the probiotics to naturally fight against it and eliminate it from our body. The Inflammation and Allergy Drug Targets journal published a 2010 study in which patients who had dyspepsia were given the H.pylori test, and they tested positive. In the study 13 out of 40 patients tested positive on this test, that they have H.pylori in their body.
Also there is another study from 2017 which actually has a good point, the antibiotics that are most commonly prescribed for the treatment of H.pylori (metronidazole, clarithromycin and amoxicillin) are not that effective due to the antibiotic resistance, which is present in more patients as the treatment continues and increases.
Therefore people often are taking antibiotics for the H.pylori treatment but they are killing the health-promoting and vital bacteria in their gut as well, and they are barely touching the H.pylori bacteria inside. According to this study, if people are consuming antibiotics to treat the H.pylori infection, then they should also take probiotics, because the probiotics will reduce the harmfulness of the antibiotics and boost the effect of elimination of the H.pylori infection as well.
Lactobacillus brevis, Lactobacillus casei and Lactobacillus fermentum are the 3 best and most specific probiotic strains which have been highlighted and recommended from the many researches, and it was proven that these 3 have the best abilities to eliminate the H.pylori bacteria.
3. Green Tea
The green tea, whether it is cold or hot, it is not just a popular beverage, it was also proven that this tea inhibits the H.pylori bacteria. There are some in vitro studies that have shown that H.pylori’s growth is reduced by the consumption of green tea, and the green ta can also prevent from gastric mucosal inflammation in case of H.pylori infection. According to the same study, this tea has the ability to prevent from gastritis which can easily be triggered by the H.pylori bacteria.
According to other studies, catechins, especially the epigallocatechin gallate that is contained in this tea, has one of the most powerful antibacterial properties, therefore it is able to fight against the Helicobacter pylori as we. One of the greatest sources of catechins is the green tea, which have been proven that they contain strong antiviral, anti-cancer, antiplaque-forming and antioxidant properties.
4. Broccoli Sprouts
The broccoli plants that are only a few days old, are called broccoli sprouts. One of the richest sources of the sulfur chemical known as sulforphane are the broccoli sprouts. And this so called sulforphane contains the most powerful detoxifying and antioxidant properties. The broccoli seed oil is produced and extracted from them. The Digestive Diseases and Sciences journal published a study in which 78% of the patients who were consuming the broccoli sprouts (14, 26 and 56 grams) two times on daily basis for one week, tested negative after the one week of consumption for the H.pylori test, and at the end of the whole study after a month more participants tested negative for this test.
Actually a study published in the journal Current Pharmaceutical Design from 2017 has shown that the sulforaphane that is contained in the broccoli sprouts can effectively fight against the gastritis triggered by the H.pylori, and also prevent from the gastrointestinal damage that can be caused from the harmful NSAIDs.
This is a mixture that is resinous and is collected by the honeybees, from many plants, and it is used only to keep the hive’s structure sound. According to the researches, more than 300 natural compounds were contained in the propolis. In these compounds are coumarins, polyphenols, amino acids, steroids, phenolic aldehydes and sequiterpene quinines. A lot more studies have proven that the extract from propolis, that is available as any supplement, has the ability to inhibit the growing of the H.pylori infection, due to its high content of phenolic ingredients.
One of the most powerful anti-inflammatories and most potent antibiotics from mother nature is the garlic. Whether you consume it raw or cooked, it will quickly eliminate the H.pylori bacteria. According to a 2016 study, patients who had H.pylori and who were given 2 garlic cloves on daily basis, which is about 3 g of garlic, to have with their lunch or dinner, had shown a very good improvement against the H.pylori bacteria. This once again shows that the garlic has powerful anti-bacterial properties which means that it is able to fight against H.pylori as well.
The consumption of the following herb extracts has shown a miraculous improvement in patients with H.pylori, since they are all able to inhibit the growth of the H.pylori:
- Salvia officinalis (Sage)
- Filipendula ulmaria (Meadowsweet)
- Hydrastis canadensis (Goldenseal)
- Agrimonia eupatoria
8. General H.pylori Diet
What to consume more:
- Flax and chia seeds also rich in omega-3s
- Wild-caught fish rich in omega 3-fat acids
- Probiotic-rich foods like kefir
- Raw honey, especially manuka honey, in moderation used in black/green tea
- Cruciferous vegetables, especially broccoli and broccoli sprouts
- Berries, specifically raspberry, strawberry, blackberry, blueberry and bilberry
What to avoid, or at least reduce its intake if you want to prevent from the H.pylori symptoms:
- Low-fiber grains
- Spicy foods
- Pickled foods
- Carbonated beverages
9. Reduce Stress
If you already have H.pylori bacteria, than stressing out will make the condition worse. Also people who are dealing with a lot of stress or even anxiety, have shown that they are more likely to develop stomach ulcers or stomach inflammation than others. Make sure that you avoid and reduce stress as much as possible every day. There are some strong methods that will effectively relieve from stress like tai chi, yoga, deep breathing, meditation and acupuncture.
H. pylori Prevention
Here are the best ways to avoid the H.pylori bacteria, and they were shown to be effective:
- Good Hygiene: Before every meal wash your hands, and wash them after you went to the bathroom as well. Also do not share glasses and utensils, with friends, family or strangers, because the direct contact with a person that is infected with the bacteria will transfer the bacteria to you immediately.
- Safe Drinking Water: It is important that you drink clean water, it may sound stupid because some people are living in developed countries, where clean water is hard to get, but whether you are old or young it is very important to have a safe source for clean water. Drinking water that was contaminated may also cause the development of H.pylori.
- Eat Well Prepared Food: Certain foods may also be contaminated with H.pylori, therefore you want to make sure that the food you consume is cooked well and prepare d thoroughly, therefore it is safe for consumption and clean.
If someone thinks or suspects that he or she might be affected by the H.pylori bacteria, than a test would be necessary as soon as possible.
Seek for urgent medical care if you have experienced any of the following symptoms:
- Bloody stools or black tarry
- Vomit that looks like a coffee ground
- Black or bloody vomit
- Severe or persistent abdominal pain
- Trouble swallowing
- Burning pain or persistent gnawing in the area of the ribs or below them, which occurs after drinking milk, taking antacids or after a meal
If you have tested positive on the H.pylori test but you haven’t been experiencing any of the symptoms or signs, then taking the treatment remains a conventional step, to take it or not.
If you are taking any prescribed medications, before you take any type of supplements it would be wise to consume with your doctor or a health specialist.
All across the world, one of the most important topics is the H.pylori, but not many people are familiar with this bacteria and some of them are not aware that they have it inside them, because none of them have experienced any negative symptoms. A small group of people are experiencing and dealing with minor symptoms but they think that it is nothing serious and that it is caused by some other health issues, not knowing that the right thing for them is the H.pylori treatment.
It is very important to get a H.pylori test if you have been experiencing some of the above listed symptoms. It would be a lot easier to move forward if you know, whether you do or you do not have this bacterial infection inside you, that way you will know whether you need a treatment or not.