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H pylori and heart attacks – is there an association?

Is there an association between H pylori and heart attacks?

H pylori and heart attacks aren’t really the kind of things you’d associate with one another.  One if a tummy bug best known for its role in causing stomach ulcers, and the other is a serious, life threatening event.

But believe it or not, there’s an association between certain kinds of H pylori and heart attacks.

This post cuts to the chase, revealing how and why H pylori and heart attacks are related.

I also reveal a dozen important heart disease risk factors that your doctor wont tell you about – factors that you can easily do something about, starting today.

H pylori and heart attacks – some background

Not so long ago, I wrote a blog mini-series on the connections between H pylori and cardiovascular disease, as well as H pylori and heart disease.

Cardiovascular disease pertains to all diseases of the cardiovascular system such as high cholesterol and blood fats (triglycerides), high blood pressure, insulin resistance and so on.

Heart disease specifically relates to disorders of the heart and arteries supplying it. For example atherosclerosis is the process in which arteries become narrowed and blocked, leading to heart disease.

In that blog series, I presented a considerable amount of research showing how H pylori infections – notably the CagA H pylori strain – influence a whole host of cardiovascular and heart disease risk factors.

For example the research literature shows that:

  • H pylori increases blood pressure in some people and can cause hypertension
  • H pylori can increase blood sugar levels
  • H pylori causes insulin resistance
  • H pylori can increase cholesterol levels
  • H pylori increases homocysteine levels by causing vitamin B12 deficiency
  • H pylori increase generalized inflammation in the body

H pylori causes elevations in blood markers that are risk factors for heart disease such as fibrinogen and C-reactive protein

If you’d like to look at the information in these posts in more detail, start by reading the introductory article on H pylori and heart disease here.

Two massive problems relating to H pylori and heart attacks

The biggest problem with all this is that most doctors have no idea whatsoever that H pylori can result in these metabolic changes.

As such, the medical system simply doesn’t realize how H pylori – and digestive health in general – can increase your risk for developing potentially serious diseases elsewhere in your body.

The second enormous problem or challenge with H pylori and cardiovascular disease is that some of the changes seen in the cardiovascular system happen without obvious H pylori symptoms being experienced.

In other words, you can wander around without any obvious H pylori symptoms – heartburn, nausea, tummy pain, bloating, and so on – yet the stomach inflammation caused by H pylori can trigger cardiovascular changes.

Your cardiovascular function – blood pressure, insulin sensitivity, blood sugar and cholesterol levels – alters insidiously at the hands of a bacterial infection that you don’t even know is there.

As you might tell, I’m extremely passionate about making sure you’re aware of this!

Are there any studies on H pylori and heart attacks?

Contrary to popular medical opinion, there is scientific evidence showing a direct link between H pylori and heart attacks.

This isn’t surprising given that H pylori influences so many heart attack risk factors (blood pressure, insulin resistance and blood sugar levels, homocysteine, inflammation and oxidative stress).

A paper reported thirteen years ago in the medical journal Heart investigated whether H pylori influences heart disease and specifically, whether the risk is confined to infection with CagA strain.

The researchers found a significant association between CagA H pylori and heart attacks.

In subjects aged <65 years, H pylori CagA infection was associated with a 1.8-fold increase in heart attack risk, a figure that rose to 2.25-fold (more than double!) in patients <55 years of age.

However no such association was found in non-CagA H pylori infections, indicating that only certain H pylori strains seem to influence heart attack risk.

Interestingly, the risk was also higher in younger subjects.

The authors concluded:

The association of chronic Helicobacter pylori infection with risk of myocardial infarction (heart attack) appears to be restricted to CagA bearing strains. The association is age-dependent and stronger in younger subjects.” 1

A further study reported in the Journal of Infection, also reported a link between H pylori and heart attacks, which they termed “acute coronary syndromes”.

Researchers found that 87.9% patients who suffered heart attacks for the first time were infected with H pylori.

These people were without any previous diagnosis of heart disease.

The incidence of H pylori infection in a matched control group was 66.7%.

After adjusting for age, a statistically significant association was found between H pylori seropositivity (H pylori antibodies in the blood) and acute coronary syndrome, versus control subjects.

The researchers concluded:

We confirmed a significant link between H pylori infection and acute coronary syndrome (ACS). H pylori infection is likely to be a risk factor for acute coronary syndrome.” 2

Meta-analyses on H pylori and heart attacks

A meta-analysis study, which pooled data from 13 different studies with a total study population of some 5,503 patients, found a significant increase in the number of heart attacks in heart disease patients who tested positive for the CagA H pylori strain.

The researchers concluded:

This meta-analysis shows the presence of a significant association between seropositivity to CagA and the occurrence of acute coronary syndromes (heart attacks).”

[Franceschi, F. et al. Are Cag-A Positive Strains of Helicobacter Pylori Associated With Increased Risk of Ischemic Heart Disease? A Meta-Analysis. 2007. Helicobacter. Abstract: P023.

Meta-analyses are important because they don’t just rely on data from one study.

The paper mentioned above pooled and reviewed data from thirteen different studies.

When statistically significant findings pop out of a meta-analysis, they are generally deemed to be more reliable than individual studies.

What can we conclude about H pylori and heart attacks?

It would appear from the analysis of thirteen independent studies that H pylori infection – or at least the CagA strain – increases the risk of heart attacks in some people.

As I always state in my articles, I am NOT saying that H pylori causes heart attacks on its own.

I am NOT suggesting that H pylori will cause heart attacks in everyone infected.

What I AM suggesting is that some H pylori strains MAY increase the risk of folk developing heart disease and heart attacks in some people.

H pylori and heart attacks – the bigger picture

At the top of this post, I said I’d provide some heart disease / heart attack risk factors your doctor probably won’t tell you about.

As you’re probably aware, the medical system – and thus the general public – has been blinkered in assuming that heart disease is caused by excess total or LDL cholesterol.

As I explain in my H pylori and Heart Disease book, this is only partly true, and the information you’re not aware of due to lack of education from doctors CAN harm you.

It’s known that around half the people who have heart attacks don’t have any of the classical or traditional heart attack risk factors.

They’re not overweight, they’re not especially stressed, their cholesterol and blood fat levels are normal, they don’t smoke and they don’t have diabetes.

So what could trigger a heart attack in these people, over and above genetics and the traditional risk factors?

Twelve little known heart disease risk factors

Here are 12 more risk factors I’ve come across in the literature. Note that you take total control of them all:

  • Problems with methylation due to vitamin B12 or folate deficiencies
  • Magnesium deficiency
  • Vitamin C deficiency (essential for healthy blood vessels)
  • Lysine and proline deficiency (amino acids that are important for the integrity of blood vessels
  • Changes in sex hormone levels (oestrogen, progesterone and testosterone)
  • HRT – hormone replacement therapy in menopausal women
  • Iron overload (may affect between 1 in 7 and 1 in 250 people)
  • Gluten sensitivity and coeliac disease
  • Excessive blood sugar due to poor diet and inflammation
  • Excessive intake of polyunsaturated oils (vegetable and fish oil)
  • Chronic infections that trigger inflammation, including Chlamydia pneumonia, Porphyromonas gingivalis (bacteria responsible for gum disease) and Epstein-Barr virus
  • Heavy metal toxicity (mercury, lead and cadmium for example)

By changing your diet appropriately, ensuring your nutrient intake and status are optimized, identifying and removing chronic infections and toxicities, you can vastly reduce your risk of developing cardiovascular disease and heart attacks.

If you’re interested in learning more about these risk factors, and what to do about them, it’s well worth reading my book, H Pylori: From Heartburn To Heart Attacks.

H pylori and heart attacks summary

H pylori has the ability to increase cholesterol, blood pressure, insulin resistance, homocysteine, inflammation, oxidative stress and other heart disease risk factors.

It should come as no surprise, therefore, that there’s an association between H pylori and heart attacks.

Although research is sparse, the studies that have been done do show a positive association between H pylori and heart attacks.

As with all the cardiovascular complaints, it appears that the CagA H pylori strain is more strongly linked with heart attacks.

Because heart disease is the number one cause of death in most western countries, I feel it’s really important to look more deeply into its causes.

Stress, infections, toxins, nutrient deficiencies and hormone imbalances are the underlying triggers.

On top of genetic predisposition, these factors cause the high cholesterol, high blood pressure, insulin resistance and so on that are blamed by the medical system.

In other words, when it comes to heart disease, western medicine blames and tries to treat the wrong level of causation.

Learn how to eat a heart healthy diet AND eradicate H pylori without drugs

By now you probably know I wrote a book detailing how to get rid of H pylori AND many other digestive problems using natural, drug-free protocols.

It’s called The H Pylori Diet and you can grab a copy here if it’s of interest.

Get tested for the CagA H pylori strain

It appears that CagA H pylori strains pose the biggest threat when it comes to cardiovascular disease.

You’re able to test whether you have this particular strain at home using a stool test.

I’m biased, but I think this test is really, really important because docs will NOT run tests to identify different strains in general practice.

Strain identification only tends to be done in the research setting.

Let’s hear from you!

Do you have a story about H pylori and cardiovascular health you’d love to share?

Or is there anything else on your mind that we can help with?

Let us know by leaving your comment below!

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