You know, in the recent infamous Michael Pollan article on gut bacteria in the NY Times he seems to say that H. pylori isn't all bad news and even laments the human goal of eradicating it from our intestinal ecosystem:
[QUOTE="Michael Pollan"]One bacterium commonly found in the non-Western microbiome but nearly extinct in ours is a corkscrew-shaped inhabitant of the stomach by the name of Helicobacter pylori. Dominguez-Bello’s husband, Martin Blaser, a physician and microbiologist at N.Y.U., has been studying H. pylori since the mid-1980s and is convinced that it is an endangered species, the extinction of which we may someday rue. According to the “missing microbiota hypothesis,” we depend on microbes like H. pylori to regulate various metabolic and immune functions, and their disappearance is disordering those systems. The loss is cumulative: “Each generation is passing on fewer of these microbes,” Blaser told me, with the result that the Western microbiome is being progressively impoverished.
He calls H. pylori the “poster child” for the missing microbes and says medicine has actually been trying to exterminate it since 1983, when Australian scientists proposed that the microbe was responsible for peptic ulcers; it has since been implicated in stomach cancer as well. But H. pylori is a most complicated character, the entire spectrum of microbial good and evil rolled into one bug. Scientists learned that H. pylori also plays a role in regulating acid in the stomach. Presumably it does this to render its preferred habitat inhospitable to competitors, but the effect on its host can be salutary. People without H. pylori may not get peptic ulcers, but they frequently do suffer from acid reflux. Untreated, this can lead to Barrett’s esophagus and, eventually, a certain type of esophageal cancer, rates of which have soared in the West as H. pylori has gone missing.
When after a recent bout of acid reflux, my doctor ordered an endoscopy, I discovered that, like most Americans today, my stomach has no H. pylori. My gastroenterologist was pleased, but after talking to Blaser, the news seemed more equivocal, because H. pylori also does us a lot of good. The microbe engages with the immune system, quieting the inflammatory response in ways that serve its own interests — to be left in peace — as well as our own. This calming effect on the immune system may explain why populations that still harbor H. pylori are less prone to allergy and asthma. Blaser’s lab has also found evidence that H. pylori plays an important role in human metabolism by regulating levels of the appetite hormone ghrelin. “When the stomach is empty, it produces a lot of ghrelin, the chemical signal to the brain to eat,” Blaser says. “Then, when it has had enough, the stomach shuts down ghrelin production, and the host feels satiated.” He says the disappearance of H. pylori may be contributing to obesity by muting these signals.
But what about the diseases H. pylori is blamed for? Blaser says these tend to occur only late in life, and he makes the rather breathtaking suggestion that this microbe’s evolutionary role might be to help shuffle us off life’s stage once our childbearing years have passed. So important does Blaser regard this strange, paradoxical symbiont that he has proposed not one but two unconventional therapeutic interventions: inoculate children with H. pylori to give them the benefit of its services early in life, and then exterminate it with antibiotics at age 40, when it is liable to begin causing trouble.[/QUOTE]
I am a big fan of ginger. That stuff sits in the ground for months on end, you dig it up and leave it in a cupboard for months and still no bacteria grow on it. It's also really good for inflammation after a tough run or workout. It gets a mention in the natural medicine link. TBH though conventional medicine has saved my life on a couple of occasions so if I was struggling I would take the nuclear option as a last resort and worry about my symbiotic bacteria later.
Just wanted to update. The first 5 days on the antibiotics went smoothly. No side effects at all. The next 5 days were pretty rough. I was very dizzy which I guess is a normal side effect. I finished the antibiotics and I am feeling so much better. I've gone from daily pain, burning and bloating to nothing. I still get some sort of tummy trouble once a week, but I am on the road to healing! I've been able to add in probiotics through pills. I haven't tried real food probiotics yet, but want to as the healing continues.
[QUOTE=Momto3;1227126]The next 5 days were pretty rough. I was very dizzy which I guess is a normal side effect.[/QUOTE]
My friend has a kid recovering from a brain infection - heavy antibiotics through an IV - and he just made a quick trip to the doctor for nausea. Sounds like that kind of side effect (nausea/dizzy/vomiting) is pretty normal.
I am a doctor and hear a lot of about H. Pylori....and kudos to Drumroll for pointing out Dr. Braser's work.
First, having H. Pylori in your GI is not a disease process in itself. They say that about 50% of the world's population have it. With this said, I am not currently convinced of Dr. Braser's work, and many others in the field are not either. The implications he makes that lack of H Pylori leads to Barret's esophagus and to GERD have not bore out in many other strong studies, and even if it is true it is a moot point for me. Both of these conditions are relatively minor (both cause mild irritation, not death or severe pain), and he is only pointing out that a correlation exists. Both BE and GERD are multi-factorial, and rarely occur in people that were healthy to begin with. They are, in my opinion, minor diseases of the Western diet. Groks didn't get GERD.
With that said, there is a lot of other evidence that points to the loss of normal gut flora being a very big deal, in regards to allergy, GI health, cancer, and just about everything else. Apparently, human beings that evolved likely eating things covered in dirt, fungi, and bacteria get somewhat sick if they eat sterilized, processed, "triple-washed" food. It is MY tenant of medicine, and it's very, very simple:
[B]Every organism has evolved to live a certain way. It evolved with genes for amount of movement, for food, for living style, for social cohesion, etc....the MORE you force that organism off it's evolutionary path, whether it's a bacteria or a fish or a human, the more disease processes you will stimulate. Period. [/B]
In the case of Pylori, t it can infect a person without big symptoms. Many patients with it are asymptomatic, and live with a mild gastritis they are likely not even aware of. It is felt that normal stomach processes and flora will prevent Pylori from getting its meal ticket to giving ulceration, acute gastritis (think rolling on the floor in pain), and its other slew of fun symptoms. Its meal ticket to this is its ability to lower the stomach pH so significantly that it takes over, and even people like Dr Braser are starting to postulate that maybe THAT part is what has changed, that being its ability to overcome normal proton pumps, push out other flora, and create disease.
My take home would be that NEITHER herbs or antibiotics are the way to prevention. If acute infection exists, then of course ABs would be needed. As they say though, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
Prevention is a system-wide thing, just like all of health is. A probiotic is a good thing to have, but give me a guy that eats his own spinach from his backyard after a mild water soak over any of that any day. Don't make a sterile environment, don't eat sterile food, eat some dirt once in awhile. For all of the stuff a Grok would have done, we forget this big one more than ever. Take a systemic approach.
Grok didn't have lysol wipes, triple-washed baby carrots, and antibacterial fruit wax.
[QUOTE=TheyCallMeLazarus;1227696]Its meal ticket to this is its ability to lower the stomach pH so significantly that it takes over...[/QUOTE]
This is exactly why mom has such an issue with it. She takes Tums on a daily basis and was also on a PPI until her new doctor yanked her off of it. She still takes the Tums, despite my protests.
For all I know, I could have it, but I have no symptoms. Whenever I get heartburn, which is maybe once a year now, I take apple cider vinegar and it disappears within minutes.