Q&A: Treatment for H. Pylori

by Dr. Julian Whitaker
Filed Under: Digestive Health, Q&As
Last Reviewed 03/25/2014

Could you please direct me to an alternative treatments for H. pylori?

Q&A: Treatment for H. Pylori

Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) is a bacteria with the unusual ability to thrive in the acidic environment of the stomach. It damages the protective mucus and burrows into the stomach lining where it triggers inflammation and irritation.

In addition to being the leading cause of gastritis and ulcers, H. pylori is also implicated in most cases of stomach cancer.

The conventional treatment for H. pylori is triple therapy: two antibiotics combined with an acid-suppressing drug. A one- to two-week course kills the bacteria, reduces symptoms and prevents recurrence in 9 out of 10 patients.

Like any drug regimen, this protocol has side effects. However, because it’s so effective and the drugs are taken for such a short period of time, I feel that the benefits outweigh the risks.

Natural Therapies Provide Value to Treatment for H. Pylori

There are a handful of natural therapies for H. pylori, but I would recommend them as an adjunct to triple therapy rather than a replacement.

Supplemental zinc has been shown to be as effective as Pepcid, a popular antacid, in reducing symptoms and promoting healing of ulcers. Research also suggests that zinc is even more effective when combined with carnosine (an amino acid combo). In addition to preventing and helping heal ulcers, zinc-carnosine also kills H. pylori. Japanese researchers found that when this supplement was added to triple therapy treatment for H. Pylori, bacterial eradication increased from 86 percent to 100 percent.

Zinc-carnosine has also been shown to reduce NSAID-related damage to the stomach by 75 percent and to the small intestines by 50 percent. The recommended dose is 75–150 mg per day.

Although cranberries are best known for preventing and treating urinary tract infections, they also protect the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Anthocyanins in cranberries work in a similar manner in both the bladder and the stomach: They stop bacteria from attaching and taking up residence. Like zinc-carnosine, cranberry extracts prevent infection and improve outcomes in patients using triple therapy. The dosage depends on the extract, but the average is 500–1,000 mg daily.

Other Natural Therapies to Consider

  • Deglycyrrhizinated licorice (DGL), chew one tablet 20 minutes before meals 
  • High-dose vitamin C, 5,000 mg daily
  • Green tea, several cups a day 

These natural therapies, which should be taken in divided doses, are helpful for anyone suffering with ulcers, gastroesophageal reflux disease (heartburn) and other GI problems. For chronic conditions, they are best taken on a daily basis. All of these supplements may be used individually or in combination formulas available from health-food stores.

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