Should probiotics star in Helicobacter pylori therapy?

By Annie Harrison-Dunn

- Last updated on GMT

Few subjects actually cured of Helicobacter pylori with probiotic therapy, review finds
Few subjects actually cured of Helicobacter pylori with probiotic therapy, review finds

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There are some promising results but no firm conclusions when it comes to using probiotics against the stomach germ Helicobacter pylori, a review finds.

The review pointed towards the stimulation of acid by the probiotics as the main mechanism for this. However no “exhaustive data” ​was available due to poor study design.

Multicenter, high-quality, double-blind, randomised controlled trials were now needed to explore the potential of the most promising strain, Lactobacillus reuteri​, they wrote in the journal Gastroenterology Clinics of North America​.

Helicobacter pylori​ is a bacteria found in the sticky mucus that lines the stomach. About 40% of people in the UK have it, according to the UK’s National Health Service (NHS).

probiotic Lactobacillus bulgaricus bateria

While about 90% of those do not experience any problems, about 15% of the infected get ulcers either in the stomach (gastric ulcer) or in the small intestine’s duodenum (duodenal ulcer).

The germ has also been linked to a slight increase in the risk of stomach cancer, although treating H. pylori​ simply to reduce this risk would be ineffective, according to NHS advice.

The researchers from Baylor College of Medicine in the US, Otto-von-Guericke University in Germany and University of Parma and University of Sassari in Italy behind this latest review looked at 16 papers on different probiotic strains as both a ‘cure’ for and adjuvant therapy of H. pylori.

For Lactobacilli​ strains they said overall the probiotic affected affect H. pylori ​colonisation through acidity changes. Meanwhile some strains of lactobacilli may also exert strain-specific antimicrobial effects.

However, they concluded “few subjects were actually cured”.

Source: Gastroenterology Clinics of North America
Vol 44, Iss 3, pp. 565–575, doi:10.1016/j.gtc.2015.05.005
“Is There a Role for Probiotics in Helicobacter pylori Therapy?”
Authors: M. P. Dore, E. Goni and F. Di Mario 

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Probiotics is the future

Posted by Claire,

I was in a probiotics conference few weeks ago in Australia. There were 100s of doctors, physicians and probiotic experts. And I just want to share one tid-bit from the whole conference. One of the leading experts there Eric Bakker put it this way "Our gut these days with all the antibiotics, NSAIDs and the lifestyle we lead is like a dry dead river".

Everyone should take probiotics and based on the studies I guess it should be given a chance in the therapy. There is a great video Eric Bakker did on youtube Probiotics Vs Antibiotics which I recommend everyone should watch.


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Probiotics 'A Healthful Aid' against H. Pylori

Posted by Helen Knowles,

As: "Probiotic combinations can reduce adverse effects induced by H. pylori eradication treatment and, thus, have beneficial effects in H. pylori-infected individuals."
And: "Long-term intakes of products containing probiotic strains may have a favorable effect on H. pylori infection in humans, particularly by reducing the risk of developing disorders associated with high degrees of gastric inflammation."
And:"The role of probiotics in the treatment of gastrointestinal infections is increasingly being documented as an alternative or complement to antibiotics, with the potential to decrease the use of antibiotics or reduce their side effects." I think the results speak for themselves and the public need to know what strains of e.g. yogurt drink they can use to help themselves with gastric problems.
From: J Microbiol Immunol Infect. 2014 Oct;47(5):429-37. doi: 10.1016/j.jmii.2013.03.010. Epub 2013 Jun 10.
"Clinical application of probiotics in the treatment of Helicobacter pylori infection--a brief review."
Patel A1, Shah N2, Prajapati JB2.

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