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H pylori and heart disease – a surprising connection

The mysteries of H pylori and heart disease

The relationship between H pylori and heart disease is one of medicine’s best-kept secrets.

I’ll bet nobody – not even your doctor – has told you about the links between H pylori and heart disease.

Yet the scientific literature points to some pretty interesting associations between H pylori and heart disease.

This blog series shows you how H pylori can influence your cardiovascular health, and also teach you how to minimise your risk.

A surprising connection between H pylori and heart disease

As you probably know, H pylori is a stomach infection associated with nausea, heartburn, GERD, stomach pain, bloating, ulcers and other digestive complaints.

Doctors typically don’t tend to associate H pylori and other digestive problems with symptoms or disease elsewhere in your body.

And to be honest, that’s what I thought when I was diagnosed with H pylori.

But back in 2007-8 when I was writing The H Pylori Diet, I began unearthing studies linking H pylori infections to cardiovascular disease.

When I say cardiovascular disease, I mean things like heart attacks, strokes, high cholesterol, blood pressure, type II diabetes and so on.

At first I was only mildly interested because my focus was on digestive problems rather than cardiovascular disorders.

Then, after a while, I realized I’d accumulated a pile of studies showing how H pylori and heart disease are “joined at the hip” in some people.

The reason I say “some people” is that the association between H pylori and heart disease seems to depend on which H pylori strain is infecting you.

What I AM and am NOT saying about H pylori and heart disease

Let me be clear, I’m NOT saying that H pylori causes heart disease in everyone, or anyone for that matter.

There are many other factors, including diet, stress, nutrient status, heavy metals, specific types of cholesterol, and so on.

I AM saying it’s possible that carrying certain H pylori strains may lead to, or exacerbate, cardiovascular problems in some people.

As you’re about to see, H pylori can cause changes in immune function, inflammation levels and nutritional status that can cause problems elsewhere in your body.

Your cardiovascular system is one such body compartment that seems particularly vulnerable.

Scientific literature shows links between H pylori and heart disease

When I pulled all the research on H pylori and heart disease together, I was pretty stunned.

I realized that certain H pylori infections represent a real risk factor for the development and severity of heart disease.

The specific H pylori strains that seem to cause the most problems in this area of health are VacA and, in particular, CagA.

With more focused research, I found more and more research and realized I had to share the information because nobody else seems be talking about this stuff.

It all culminated in my book, titled H pylori: From Heartburn to Heart Attacks.

It’s a fairly gloomy title but I just want people like you to know what’s going on so you can take the appropriate steps to minimize your and your family’s risk!

In this blog series, I’m going to show you some of the research I uncovered, and by the end you’ll have little doubt that H pylori and heart disease are intimately connected.

H pylori and heart disease research

H pylori – especially the CagA strain – is associated with a higher risk, incidence or severity of the following cardiovascular disorders:

  • Atherosclerosis (the process by which arteries become blocked)
  • High blood pressure (hypertension)
  • Angina
  • Heart attacks
  • Strokes

Politicians, medics and pharma companies, can you please tell me and everyone else why nobody’s talking about this?

CagA H pylori strains are associated with the following changes, all of which are heart disease risk factors:

  • Chronic inflammation
  • Elevated C-reactive protein levels (CRP – a blood marker for inflammation)
  • Elevated fibrinogen (another blood marker for inflammation)
  • Homocysteine (a known heart disease risk factor)
  • Vitamin B12 deficiency, which leads to increase homocysteine
  • Reduced antioxidant levels, including vitamins C and E
  • Changes in blood cholesterol and fat levels
  • Increased insulin resistance
  • Altered blood sugar levels

The H pylori and heart disease diagram

The following diagram is adapted from an authority medical website and shows 22 traditional and non-traditional heart disease risk factors. You can find the original here.

H pylori and heart disease risk factorsI asked Lisa, my graphics genius, to colour in red the risk factors that are influenced by H pylori infections, shown below.

H pylori and heart disease

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It turns out that H pylori appears to influence 12 of these 22 risk factors (about 54%).

What does this mean?

Well, it means that H pylori influences more than HALF the know heart disease risk factors.

But most doctors  – including cardiologists – won’t tell you this because they typically don’t read medical journals.

Interesting points about H pylori and heart disease

The interesting thing about inflammation, CRP, fibrinogen, homocysteine, vitamin B12, antioxidants, cholesterol, sugar and insulin levels is this:

You can modify and optimize them through nutrition and lifestyle, and by getting rid of H pylori.

You don’t need drugs, although for a short time, certain drugs may be helpful.

I assume this is why politicians, medics and the pharma companies aren’t very interested in this kind of information.

How to use this blog series on H pylori and heart disease

The blog series is split into several easy-to-read posts.

Each post is a snapshot of a chapter from my e-book, H pylori: From Heartburn to Heart Attacks.

In each post I’ve provided links to the other articles in the series.

I recommend you read them in sequence given below.

I also recommend you get the book, not because I’m a salesman but because I want you to have the information at your fingertips, for a lifetime.

The book contains info that is not included in the blog posts on how to use diet, lifestyle and supplement modifications to minimize your heart disease risk.

The best sequence for reading this H pylori and heart disease series

The post you’ve just read is the best starting point – congratulations on reading it!

Next, I recommend you read the posts in this sequence (if you can’t link through to the articles, it just means they’re not “live” yet.)

1 Research linking H pylori and cardiovascular disease

2 H pylori and high blood pressure (hypertension)

3 H pylori and insulin resistance, diabetes and cholesterol (metabolic syndrome)

4 H pylori and inflammation

5 H pylori and oxidative stress

6 H pylori, vitamin B12, folic acid and homocysteine

Questions or stories about H pylori and heart disease?

It’s over to you – do you have any comments, questions or stories relating to H pylori, digestive health or even cardiovascular disease?

If so, we’d love to hear from you and you’re very welcome to join the discussion by leaving a comment, below.

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