Diagnosed with H. Pylori and Intestinal Metaplasia

Dear Dr. Dean,

Six months ago I had my gallbladder out. That did not help, and now I am more miserable than before. I have been diagnosed with H. pylori and Intestinal Metaplasia (Barrett’s esophagus). I do not know yet how severe the HP or IM is, and whether it is in my esophagus, or stomach.

I met with my doctor today to discuss my biopsy results, and he put me on antibiotics and other routine medications used for H. pylori (I am already taking an expensive antacid, which has not helped!!).

I am sick, scared, and do not REALLY know what to do to get better.

I decided to search for an alternative treatment for my HP and IM, and found Life Enhancement on the Internet! I spent some time on the phone with a really nice lady regarding my diagnoses. I ordered a bottle of Bye-Lori, and two back order bottles of Bye-Lori Plus.

I want to get well, I want to feel better. I understand I need to completely change my diet, but other than that? What do I do about the Intestinal Metaplasia? Can I heal my body so this doesn’t turn into cancer? What do you recommend?

THERESE, Sidney, Nebraska

Dear Therese,

Barrett’s Esophagus, or Intestinal Metaplasia, is characterized by precancerous changes in the lining of the lower esophagus and upper gastric mucosa. It was originally attributed entirely to gastroesophageal reflux (GERD) of the acidic contents of the stomach—but is now known to be related to infection with H. pylori,1 in association with other contributing causes, such as bile reflux,2 low levels of vitamin C,3 high levels of oxidative stress,4 and cigarette smoking.5 The metaplastic changes can, over time, progress to dysplasia, and ultimately to cancer—although these changes are not invariable, and it is now believed by many scientists that these changes are reversible.6,7

The most important aspect of the treatment is to eradicate H. pylori, and the most effective way to accomplish this is with mastic gum. Mastic gum has been used for centuries to support stomach health. Modern research supports the use of mastic to aid proper gastrointestinal and digestive function. In addition, research has shown that mastic gum may help with issues associated with benign gastric ulcers8 and duodenal ulcers. In one double-blind clinical trial, researchers found that oral doses of one gram per day of mastic over a period of two weeks helped with pain in 80 percent of patients with duodenal ulcers. The study also found endoscopic evidence that mastic assisted the healing of gastric mucosal tissues. Animal studies have found that mastic possesses cytoprotective (cell protective) and anti-secretion properties, and that it can reduce gastric mucosal damage.9

Researchers writing in the December 24, 1998 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine reported that mastic has strong implications associated with the treatment of H. pylori. In the report the authors stated, “Even low doses of mastic gum—one gram per day for two weeks may be helpful.”10 The researchers conducted in vitro tests that revealed mastic gum was helpful in 99.9 percent of H. pylori when tested against seven different strains of NCTC 11637 (a standard reference strain) and six clinical isolates, including three others. Of note was the finding that mastic was equally supportive even at very low concentrations. These results suggest that mastic has definite activity when involved with H. pylori.

Another substance that may be very beneficial for you is L-carnosine. As far back as 1936, carnosine was shown to be effective in both treating and preventing gastric ulcers. In a more recent study, oral carnosine significantly inhibited erosions in both the stomach and duodenum,12 and has been effective in inhibiting H. pylori.13 In Japan, a complex of zinc and carnosine (generic name, Polaprezinc) is approved as an anti-ulcer drug.14

To sum up, relax. Intestinal Metaplasia appears to be reversible—especially after H. pylori infection resolved. You don’t have a gall bladder anymore, so bile reflux will no longer be a contributing factor. H. pylori is eradicable with mastic gum and L-carnosine. Other risk factors are controllable such as cigarette smoking, vitamin C, and excessive oxidative stress. Make sure you’ve got plenty of antioxidants and protective nutrients in your diet, as provided by a good multivitamin, multimineral formulation, fat- and water-soluble vitamin C, lipoic acid, and a bioavailable glutathione. Other supplements that may help to heal your gastric and esophageal mucosa include aloe vera, slippery elm, glutamine, and deglycerrhizinated licorice (DGL).

I hope these suggestions will help.

Ward Dean, M.D.

References

  1. Sakaki N, Kozawa H, Egawa N, et al. Ten-year prospective follow-up study on the relationship between Helicobacter pylori infection and progression of atrophic gastritis, particularly assessed by endoscopic findings. Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2002;16(Suppl 2):198–203.
  2. Sobala GM, O’Connor HJ, Dewar EP, et al. Bile reflux and intestinal metaplasia in gastric mucosa. J Clin Pathol. 1993;46:235–40.
  3. You WC, Zhang L, Gail MH, et al. Gastric dysplasia and gastric cancer: Helicobacter pylori, serum vitamin C, and other risk factors. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2000;92:1607–12.
  4. Zullo A, Rinaldi V, Hassan C, et al. Ascorbic acid and intestinal metaplasia in the stomach: a prospective, randomized study. Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2000;14:1303–9.
  5. Correa P, Fontham ET, Bravo JC, et al. Chemoprevention of gastric dysplasia: randomized trial of antioxidant supplements and anti-helicobacter pylori therapy. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2000;92:1881–8.
  6. Satoh K. Does eradication of Helicobacter pylori reverse atrophic gastritis or intestinal metaplasia? Data from Japan. Gastroenterol Clin North Am. 2000;29:829–35.
  7. Walker, MM. Is intestinal metaplasia of the stomach reversible? Gut. Jan 2003; 52(1): 1–4.
  8. Huwez FU, Al-Habbal MJ. Mastic and benign gastric ulcers. Gastroenterol Jpn. 1986;21:273–4.
  9. Al-Habbal MJ, Al-Habbal Z, Huwez FU. A double-blind controlled clinical trial of mastic and placebo. J Clin Exp Pharm Physiol. 1984;11:541–4.
  10. Al-Said MS, Ageel AM, Parmar NS, Tariq M. Evaluation of mastic, a crude drug obtained from Pistacia lentiscus. J Ethnopharmacol. 1986;15:271–8.
  11. Huwez FU, Thirlwell, D. Mastic gum kills Helicobacter pylori. N Engl J Med. 1998 Dec 24;339(26):1946.
  12. Truitsina IE, Shabanova M, Chikunova BZ, Shavratskii Vkh, Formaziuk VE, Sergienko VI, Stvolinskii SL, Boldyrev AA. Characterization of the anti-ulcer effectiveness of carnosine. Patol Fiziol Eksp Ter. 1997;4:17–20.
  13. Suzuki H, Mori M, Seto K, Miyazawa M, Kai A, Suematsu M, Yoneta T, Miura S, Ishii H. Polaprezinc attenuates the Helicobacter pylori-induced gastric mucosal leucocyte activation in Mongolian gerbils a study using intravital videomicroscopy. Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2001 May;15(5):715–25.
  14. Matsukura T, Tanaka H. Applicability of zinc complex of L-carnosine for medical use. Biochemistry (Mosc). 2000 Jul;65(7):817–23.

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