This interesting study clearly demonstrates the profound influence of H pylori infection on health. Children infected with H pylori do not grow as well as those who are not infected.
“Persistent Presence of Helicobacter pylori slows growth rate in Children.”
Mera RM. Pediatr Infect Dis J. 2012
Children whose Helicobacter pylori infection was eradicated quickly grew faster than those who were not treated early, according to a study from Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tenn.
Robertino M. Mera, MD, PhD, and colleagues in the division of gastroenterology, hepatology and nutrition examined data from 295 school-age children from rural communities in Nariño, Colombia, who were separated into two groups: 150 who were treated for H. pylori and 145 who were not.
Children in the treatment group who tested positive for H. pylori were treated with lansoprazole, amoxicillin, metronidazole and bismuth for 14 days, and they were re-treated if they remained positive 3 months after baseline. Six months after baseline, height and weight measurements were taken, and presence of H. pylori was evaluated; children were measured every 3 months and checked for H. pylori every 6 months using a urea breath test. Children were followed for an average of 3.7 years.
Researchers concluded that children from the treatment group were 2.98 cm taller on average, even after adjusting for other fixed variables such as sex, father’s education and number of siblings. Similarly, children in the treatment group were 1.1 kg heavier on average, even with fixed variable adjustment.
“This study showed a significant and durable effect of clearing H. pylori infection on increased height and weight,” the researchers said. “Although treatment is only recommended for certain indications, this study suggests that in terms of growth, school-age children may benefit from being treated for H. pylori infection.”
This is the third study in this group of children, according to Mera. The first study showed the growth gap in a prospective cohort study in infants, and that there was no “catch up” of growth after being infected by H. pylori for a long time.
“We have been following this particular group of school-age children for several years now, and we have shown that the treatment, when effective, produces a startling growth difference when compared to infected children or those that do not clear the infection,” Mera told Infectious Diseases in Children. “In this latest study, we also have shown a weight difference, which is difficult due the large variability of weight in children.”
Dave Hompes’ Comments:
H pylori infection can significantly alter the digestion and absorption of food. H pylori can reduce the amount of stomach acid produced, which makes it much harder for patients to digest important nutrients such as fats, proteins, vitamins and minerals.
Indeed, research cited in my book, The H Pylori Diet clearly shows that vitamins such as vitamin B12 and folic acid, along with minerals such as iron, are not absorbed as well in some H pylori patients.
Furthermore, research clearly demonstrates that low stomach acid – which can result from H pylori infection – may inhibit the proper digestion and absorption of amino acids and fat.
Because these nutrients are required literally to build muscles, bones, skin and all the other structural tissues that comprise our bodies, it is no surprise that children’s growth is stunted if H pylori bacteria are present for any length of time.
Because H pylori always causes inflammation in the stomach or small intestine, the body will need to make more stress hormones, such as cortisol, which acts as a natural anti-inflammatory (like a fire-fighter). Cortisol itself disrupts the digestive process and high levels of this hormone encourage the breakdown of body tissues rather than helping a child build new tissue needed for optimal growth.
Finally, there have been suggestions that the presence of H pylori and other digestive pathogens such as the worms Strongyloides and Ascaris as well as microscopic parasites like Giardia lamblia may result in a “failure to thrive” in children. This is a situation where puberty does not take place, or is significantly delayed.
Does Your Child Have H pylori?
If your child has H pylori, we highly recommend that you ensure that it is safely eradicated irrespective of whether he or she has digestive symptoms.
H pylori seems to have the ability to cause disruption to many functions in a child’s body that extend way beyond heartburn and acid reflux. I personally believe that you simply cannot risk the wellbeing of your children by NOT taking action.
As well, H pylori is usually accompanied by other chronic digestive infections, including other bacterial overgrowth, yeast and fungal overgrowth and parasites. We have found that running the appropriate testing to identify why your child is experiencing symptoms is a critical part of resolving the situation.
Can We Help?
We have designed a range of products and services to help you if your child has H pylori (or any for of digestive distress).
The first thing we recommend is that you get your child on an anti-inflammatory diet. Details of how to do this can be found in The H Pylori Diet.
The second thing we recommend is that you run a comprehensive stool test to find out EXACTLY what is going on and WHY your child has symptoms. H pylori is one of many digestive invaders that can cause symptoms and it is very common to see multiple invaders in the same person.
We have seen more than 35 different digestive invaders in the last 5 years in our clients’ test results.
Finally, if you would feel more comfortable speaking to an expert, please feel free to check out our 40% discounted initial telephone consultation service.
I truly hope this article has been useful and valuable for you.