Helicobacter pylori – A nasty infection
Helicobacter pylori, or H. pylori, is a bacterium that infects the human stomach. H. pylori infection can cause heartburn, reflux, gastritis, stomach ulcers, and even stomach cancer. Conventional treatment is usually a combination of multiple antibiotics and acid-suppressive medication, termed triple therapy or quadruple therapy. However, these protocols often fail, as H. pylori becomes increasingly resistant to antibiotics. Additionally, these treatments cause many unpleasant side effects, which prevents many people from completing the protocol properly.
H. pylori causes heartburn and reflux by increasing gastric acid secretion. It also releases noxious substances that can damage the lining of the stomach and oesophagus.
H. pylori can be part of a healthy stomach microbiome if kept in balance
Up to 50% of the population carry H. pylori, however only a small percentage of these people develop problems such as gastric ulcers. Why is this? One theory is that H. pylori is not necessarily pathogenic and can actually exist as a harmonious part of the normal microbiome of the stomach. It only causes inflammation and damage when it becomes overgrown due an imbalance in the numbers of different bacteria. In this case, supporting a healthy stomach microbiome could prevent the adverse effects of H. pylori infection, without needing to eradicate it entirely.
Probiotics can improve H. pylori treatment outcomes
Numerous studies have found that certain probiotics can improve outcomes in H. pylori infection; however, these results are strain specific – that is: not all probiotics which help if you have a H. pylori infection. Two strains that have demonstrated efficacy in this area are Lactobacillus reuteri DSM 17938 and Lactobacillus reuteri ATCC PTA 6475.
L. reuteri DSM 17938 and L. reuteri ATCC PTA 6475 may improve the symptoms of H. pylori infection by reducing the pathogen load and supporting a healthy stomach microbiome.
These strains have been found to reduce H. pylori load and significantly reduce the gastritis and other gastrointestinal symptoms associated with the infection. In addition, this probiotic combination improves eradication rates when used alongside standard therapy, while significantly reducing the side effects of therapy.
If you’re suffering from heartburn and reflux and you think you might have a H. pylori infection, talk to your healthcare Practitioner today. Treatment with the right probiotic strains could significantly improve your stomach health!