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Do probiotics cure H pylori on their own or do you need antibiotics, too?

Do probiotics cure H pylori

One of our readers – Colin, from Manchester – has written in asking, ‘do probiotics cure H pylori’

Thanks, Colin: This is a great question and one I’m sure lots of people would love to know the answer to.

My response is both ‘yes they can’ and ‘no they can’t’.

I realize this is a weird response, so let me explain…

My initial research into H pylori and probiotics

In 2007-8, when I did my first batch of research to answer the ‘do probiotics cure H pylori’ question, I found quite a lot of data on the topic and presented it in The H Pylori Diet.

Because we’re now in 2016, I did some additional research this year to see if anything had changed.

Unfortunately, it hasn’t, and according to the scientific and medical literature, Colin’s question really needs to be modified to, “do probiotics cure H pylori on their own?”

Do probiotics cure H pylori on their own?

To summarise all the research I’ve read in a few lines is not easy, but it boils down to four main statements:

  • First, probiotics alone appear to have the ability to cure H pylori (but more studies are needed).
  • Second, probiotics used alongside antibiotics improve the effect of the antibiotics and cure more people.
  • Third, probiotics used alongside antibiotics also reduce the side effects of the antibiotic therapy.
  • Fourth, not all probiotics are effective when used as part of H pylori treatment – some are better than others.

I know, I know, this is a bit of a cop out, but it would be wrong for me to make outlandish claims that H pylori can be cured with probiotics alone.

An excellent review paper from 2011 written by Vitor and Vale at the University of Lisbon compared several studies.

The authors drew this conclusion:

“Probiotics diminish side effects and improve the efficacy of antibiotics, probably because they mimic the function of the human microbiota.”

Do probiotics cure H pylori – different types and species?

I’m often asked what specific types of probiotics are best to use when H pylori is present.

The answer is not easy and may depend on a person’s individual gut microbiome (the overall population of microbes in the digestive system).

If you take a look at the table below, which is taken from the aforementioned paper by Vitor and Vale, you will see that several probiotics show promise, the main ones being Lactobacilli, Saccharomyces boulardii, Streptococcus and Bifidobacter.

hpylori_probiotics

Do probiotics cure H pylori – practical recommendations

When we are working with clients, we focus on a four-step process to help them a) eradicate H pylori and b) overcome their symptoms and heal their digestive system.

It’s called the “4-R Program” and looks like this…

  • Step One: remove bad foods and bad bugs
  • Step Two: restore digestive function
  • Step Three: replace good bacteria
  • Step Four: repair the digestive lining

Step one is really important. We use a lot of herbs and nutrients to knock out the H pylori and bring stomach inflammation down.

We do sometimes add probiotics into the protocols in step one, but I don’t like to over complicate things.

I prefer to initially focus on removing foods that are causing digestive symptoms and to use substances like mastic gum, garlic extract, silver, curcumin, or Matula Herbal Formula to eradicate H pylori.

I describe exactly how we do this in my book, The H Pylori Diet, which you can check out here.

The take home point, and going back to Colin’s original question of can probiotics cure H pylori, is that I would never rely on probiotics alone to cure H pylori.

What specific probiotics could you use?

I have a few favourite brands, but I also like probiotic foods.

Pickled vegetable foods like sauerkraut and kimchi contain a lot of friendly bacteria, and cabbage juice itself is an old-wive’s remedy for stomach ulcers.

High quality yogurt, and even raw milk, has been shown to exert an anti-H pylori effect, too.

The problem wit these foods is that we do not have a specific protocol in terms of amount needed, timing, duration, etc.

Put simply, we don’t know how much saurkraut, kimchi or yogurt you need to eat, how often per day, how many times per week and for how long.

Unless you feel a strong negative reaction to these foods, there should be no problem eating them as part of a digestive-friendly diet, but I don’t think it’s wise to expect miracles from them.

Probiotic products

Specific probiotic supplements I like to use with my clients include the following:

  • Custom Probiotics Adult CP-1 as a general use probiotic
  • Seeking Health Saccharomyces boulardii (can work great with diarrhoea)
  • Seeking Health Probiota Women – if there is urinary tract issue alongside GI symptoms

It’s hard to recommend a probiotic that will work well for everyone simply because a) there are so many products on the marker and b) we’re all different.

Again, we also still have confusion over how much of a given probiotic supplement is needed to kill H pylori.

  • Is it one capsule per day? Two? Four?
  • And should it be taken with food or away from food?

We just don’t know, unfortunately (however we DO know what dose and duration of herbal products such as Matula, Gastromend HP, Silvercillin and others seem to work well for eradicating H pylori.

Added to the confusion is the fact that optimizing diet with the use of whole foods, fibre and other important nutrients may help increase good bacteria levels more effectively than supplementation.

Probiotics seem to enhance the quantity of good bacteria in the gut transiently but as soon as you stop taking them, levels fall back to baseline.

However if you eat foods that promote bacterial growth – those foods rich in fibre, for example – your bacterial levels will tend to thrive for much longer.

I hope this answers your question “do probiotics cure H pylori”, Colin, in a roundabout way!

Do probiotics cure H pylori… Probably, but we don’t know exactly how much to take, so it’s best to use a more holistic approach of dietary changes, herbs and nutrients.

The H Pylori Diet and Home Recovery Plan

It is because this topic is so confusing that I wrote The H Pylori Diet book, which lays out the precise eating plan I use with all my clients.

It includes foods to avoid, foods to eat, menu plans and recipes, not to mention the specific herbal protocols that knock out H pylori.

For a small monthly investment, The H Pylori Home Recovery Plan goes a step further by delivering more detailed content in a specific sequence right to your computer or mobile device.

You also get weekly calls and access to me, as well as community support to make sure you heal your digestion and other areas of health you don’t feel happy with right now.

The whole idea is to stop your confusion and restore your vitality in the shortest possible time, whilst teaching you to maintain optimal vitality for the rest of your life.

Best,

Dave

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