Whatever you do, please don’t ignore your children if they frequently complain of digestive problems, if they catch frequent colds, or have other ongoing health complaints.
Children are mini adults, so any effect H pylori has on adults can be felt by kids, too.
Possibly more problematic is the fact that H pylori might well contribute to growth abnormalities in children due to nutrient deficiencies (iron, B12, folate, zinc and so on).
I feel it’s imperative not to ignore kids when they complain of tummy trouble as the problems could be setting them up for health challenges throughout life.
H pylori presents a challenge to children’s health just as it does in adults.
H pylori infections can cause heartburn, bloating, indigestion and stomach pain in children.
H pylori may lead to skin conditions, poor concentration and co-infections such as parasites and yeast and fungal overgrowth (Candida).
One of the biggest concerns is that H pylori may affect children’s growth and development, including both physical and cognitive impairment.
H pylori can prevent proper digestion of food in both adults and children, leading to reductions in nutrient absorption (particularly vitamin B12, iron and possibly folate).
When children do not receive these nutrients it makes sense that their development may be affected.
Iron is needed for energy, and B12/folate are needed for the production of new DNA, fats and proteins (in a process called methylation).
H pylori can be passed from parent-to-child
If you are a parent who has been diagnosed with H pylori, you should know that the bacteria can be passed from person-to-person and research indicates that identical H pylori strains are often found in parents and children within the same household or family unit.
I have worked with families where all members of the household all had H pylori. Some of the household members had symptoms, where others did not.
Failure to identify H pylori in the household member without symptoms may lead to reinfection in people who are initially treated successfully.
H Pylori doesn’t necessarily cause obvious symptoms
In my book, H Pylori: From Heartburn to Heart Disease, I show you how H pylori infections can possibly trigger diseases such as heart disease and stomach cancer without causing any of the obvious symptoms listed on the medical websites (e.g. heartburn, acid reflux, bloating, etc.)
But you and your family aren’t going to be at risk because you’re getting this information now so you can do something about it!
Somewhat bizarrely, the insidious damage from H pylori infections can begin in childhood.
Research shows that H pylori can lead to oxidative stress in children.
Oxidative stress underpins the development of every disease, but may not lead to obvious symptoms.
Here is an excerpt from my book on H pylori and cardiovascular health:
“A brand new study, hot off the press, examined oxidative stress indices in school children. The researchers divided school children into three sub-groups:
1. H pylori infected children:
i. Group 1a included children with H pylori and iron deficiency.
ii. Group 1b included children without H pylori, but with iron deficiency.
2. Non-infected children with iron-deficiency.
i. Healthy controls.
The researchers found that oxidative stress indicators were elevated in children who were infected with H pylori.
They also reported that chronic oxidative stress may cause the breakdown of protein in children’s bodies (a process that probably occurs in adults as well, perhaps explaining why some people experience weight loss when they have H pylori).
Here is the study conclusion:
“An increased level of oxidative stress was found in H pylori infected school children. Furthermore, the findings from this study indicate that prolonged oxidative stress may enhance protein degradation in children.”
Inflammation and oxidative stress
Inflammation and oxidative stress underpin virtually all symptoms and disease.
Therefore, if we see oxidative stress levels increase in schoolchildren who are infected with H pylori, it stands to reason that we must listen to them when they complain of digestive problems.
We can’t simply consider H pylori in children as a bug that simply causes a few digestive problems.
Childhood H pylori infections can pose a significant threat to long-term health if they are not dealt with properly.
Testing is key
If your son or daughter is experiencing digestive symptoms, skin conditions and sleep/mood/energy/concentration problems I highly recommend a test for H pylori (and other gut bugs).
(and get them off gluten, cow’s milk, and other allergy causing foods immediately).
Ideally a digestive test should include markers for parasites, yeast and fungal overgrowth and gluten intolerance, as well as friendly bacteria like Lactobacilli and Bifidobacter.
When you fix gut and nutritional status, a child’s growth and development is optimised.
I believe children should be tested using non-invasive tests (not endoscopy or blood as these procedures can be stressful for the child).
The breath test and particularly the stool test are the best options.
I also believe it’s beneficial to use a comprehensive stool test that also identifies other chronic digestive infections along with yeast and fungal overgrowth and gluten intolerance.
Why? Because these things can cause the same problems as H pylori.
The youngest person I worked with (under supervision of his parents) was Alexey, a three year old child adopted from a Russian orphanage.
A stool test revealed he had a parasite called Cryptosporidium, which he likely picked up from contaminated orphanage water.
A gentle cleanse, supported by his parents, helped Alexey overcome his digestive symptoms very quickly.
Please don’t take your kids’ health for granted
If you suspect your son or daughter might have a food intolerance or chronic digestive invader such as H pylori, Candida or parasites, please don’t ignore it.
We’re here to help and if you’d like to discuss comprehensive testing, please drop us an email.
But before you even do that, get your kids off gluten and cow’s milk for 2-3 weeks and see what improvements happen (you might be surprised!)
As always, we’d love to hear from you if you’re having challenges, so don’t be shy – drop us a line.