You may think that stress triggers stomach ulcers, a type of peptic ulcer. But consider this...
In 1982, a scientist named Barry Marshall proved that the helicobacter pylori bacteria (known as H. pylori bacteria) cause most peptic ulcers, even those in your stomach. Initially, the medical community branded Dr. Marshall as a quack. No one believed bacteria could survive in your stomach's highly acid environment. But his theory proved scientifically sound. And now, newer research suggests H. pylori bacteria infections play a role in autoimmune disorders, heart disease, and even cancer.
Dr. Marshall made this important discovery nearly 30 years ago. Yet here we are in 2011 and most folks still think that stomach ulcers come from worrying too much. If that were true...they'd be much easier to get rid of.
But the H. pylori bacteria are stubborn and crafty...
In fact, experts estimate that about 30 percent of men and women in the U.S. have H. pylori bacteria in their gut. Most don't even know it! And that's dangerous, because over time these bacteria burrow into the protective mucosal lining of your stomach. This allows acid to eat away at the sensitive walls of your stomach, creating an ulcer.
To make matters worse, H. Pylori bacteria has grown very resistant to antibiotics in recent years. That's why you must take two, even three, heavy-duty antibiotics to get rid of an ulcer. Plus, your gastroenterologist probably throws in a Proton Pump Inhibitor (PPI) like Prevacid to keep your stomach acid down. But even then, the odds that you'll completely eradicate H. pylori aren't very good.
Now here's the good news...
Two key vitamins may help get rid of these harmful bacteria -- for good. In fact, in a recent study, patients who added these two vitamins to their standard medical treatment boosted their cure rate by a staggering amount!
Standard treatment falls short
In a recent study, Turkish researchers recruited 200 patients infected with H. pylori bacteria. They divided the patients into two groups. One group received a standard triple drug therapy. This means for 14 days they took:
- 1,000 mg of amoxicillin 2x a day
- 500 mg of clarithromycin (another type of antibiotic) 2x a day
- 30 mg of Prevacid 2x a day
Now -- you know just thinking about this heavy drug cocktail makes me break out in purple spots.
First of all, antibiotics upset your stomach's natural balance of bacteria. Sure -- they wipe out the bad bacteria, such as H. pylori. But they also wipe out the GOOD bacteria. This can lead to all sorts of on-going problems.
Second, as you know, I am not a fan of PPIs. These drugs block your body's natural production of stomach acid. They also appear to increase your risk of getting a recurrent infection with C. difficile. They also increase your risk of fractures. And the longer you take them, the greater your risk could be.
As a naturopath, you know that I want to see you get off of these drugs -- like, yesterday! Here's what may help...
Vitamins boost immune response
The Turkish researchers gave the second group of patients some added ammunition against the bacteria. Along with the standard treatment, these patients took 500 mg of vitamin C (twice a day) plus 200 IU of vitamin E (twice a day) for 30 days.
Researchers then again tested the patients for H. pylori bacteria four to six weeks after beginning the treatments. They found that many more patients who took the vitamins in addition to the drugs cured their infections.
In fact, 37 percent more vitamin takers COMPLETELY CURED their infections compared to the standard therapy group.
The researchers believe that these two powerful antioxidants help reduce oxidative stress in the mucus lining of your stomach. Plus, they believe taking these vitamins boosts your immunity so that your body more effectively targets harmful bacteria.
Add to your arsenal with probiotics
If you have a peptic ulcer and your gastro doc puts you on these meds, make sure to take vitamins C and E. And don't forget about probiotics. Taking probiotics will help to replace the "good" bacteria wiped out by the antibiotic treatment. And you'll want to get off that PPI as fast as you can as well.
In many cases, I have found combining mega doses of probiotics (with DGL (DeGlycerrhizinated Licorice), the ulcer clears up on its own without antibiotics. And remember, mega doses of probiotics are ok -- you can't overdose on this stuff! (Although, some folks are sensitive to probiotics. Remember, you can be sensitive to anything.)
Lastly, to find a doctor adept at treating ulcers naturally, go to The American College of Advancement in Medicine's web site at acam.org. They have a search box that will help you locate an experienced naturopath in your area.