Several studies reveal the presence of H pylori in gallbladder tissue but it’s not clear whether the H pylori itself causes gallbladder disease. H pylori can cause severe damage in the stomach and intestine of infected individuals, leading to peptic and duodenal ulcers, as well as gastric cancer. It is plausible that the infection can also damage gallbladder tissue.
Furthermore, H pylori infection can cause stomach acid levels to drop, which may have a domino effect on the hormonal signals optimizing gallbladder function. As such, a sluggish gallbladder may develop, leading to inflammation and gallstones.
I have personally noticed a very strong association between gallbladder surgery and H pylori diagnosis in people over the last half-decade of work in this area. I believe a lot of gallbladder surgery could be avoided if the necessary common-sense steps were taken to optimize gallbladder function first.
Researchers from the Russian Academy of science looked at 24 biopsy specimens of the gallbladder mucous membrane from the patients with gallstone disease and 24 specimens of bile obtained from patients with noncalculous cholecystitis. The researchers reported some interesting findings:
Some of this may appear as scientific jargon to you. To summarize, the researchers detected various strains of H pylori in different sample types. It would appear that certain strains, but not others, could well be associated with different gallbladder issues.
The vacAs1 and vacAs1/m2 H pylori strains were frequently present in people with gallstones, but the BabA and CagA strains were not.
However in the bile samples from patients with chronic noncalculous cholecystitis, CagA and BabA, along with vacAs1/m2 were detected.
J. V. Valeeva. Genotypying of H. pylori strains isolated from inflammatory diseases of the gallbladder. European Helicobacter Study Group. XXIII International Workshop on Helicobacter and Related Bacteria in Chronic Digestive Inflammation and Gastric Cancer. Rotterdam, September 16–18, 2010. P.335.
Dave Hompes’ Comments
Here is yet another study demonstrating a possible role of H pylori infection in gallbladder disease. Whilst we cannot deduce from such studies that H pylori infections definitely cause gallbladder disease, we must look at the situation with an open mind.
First, H pylori can cause severe damage in the stomach and intestine and it’s entirely plausible the same damage can occur in the gallbladder.
Second, in many cases H pylori bacteria reduce stomach acid levels in chronic cases, leading to atrophic gastritis. Low stomach acid reduces the efficiency of the gallbladder, leading to “sluggish” function, which in turn may enhance the formation of gallstones.
Third, in my experience, a large proportion of H pylori patients undergo gallbladder surgery, providing anecdotal evidence of a link between the infection and poor gallbladder health.
Fourth, not all H pylori bacteria are created equal. Some strains appear to be more virulent than others. The relationship between each person and his or her respective infection likely creates the symptom or disease outcome.
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In love and light,
Dave Hompes & The Hompes Method team