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Diet and H. Pylori Bacteria

author image Clay McNight
Clay McNight is currently a nutrition writer with Demand Media Studios.
Diet and H. Pylori Bacteria
Details of H. Pylori. Photo Credit: DTKUTOO/iStock/Getty Images

The H. pylori, or Helicobacter pylori, bacteria is a pathogen that exists in the stomachs of about two-thirds of the world's population. Having this bacteria increases your risk of developing stomach cancer and gastric ulcers. Medical research has shown that vitamin C, vitamin E and honey can combat H. pylori.

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H. Pylori Background

H. Pylori illustration.
H. Pylori illustration. Photo Credit: DTKUTOO/iStock/Getty Images

H. pylori may be most well-known for its role in causing peptic ulcers. The National Cancer Institute reports that H. pylori is responsible for most ulcers occurring in the stomach and upper small intestine. In 1994, H. pylori was classified as a cancer-causing agent by the International Agency for Research on Cancer. This pathogen has been identified as the primary cause of gastric cancer, or stomach cancer. Gastric cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the world. Although the overall occurrence of gastric cancer is decreasing, the National Cancer Institute estimates that 21,600 people in the United States will contract gastric cancer, and 10,990 of those will die, during 2013.

Vitamins C and E

Vitamin C may inhibit H. pylori growth.
Vitamin C may inhibit H. pylori growth. Photo Credit: Images

A 2012 study published in the "Journal of Clinical Pharmacy and Therapeutics" found that supplementing vitamins C and E, while taking antibiotics, helped eradicate H. pylori by decreasing oxidative stress and strengthening the immune system. A 2009 study published in "Heliobacter" also found that adding vitamins C and E to traditional anti-microbial therapy resulted in a 91 percent H. pylori eradication rate. A 2003 population-based study published in "Cancer Science" found that vitamin C supplementation may protect against the progression of gastric mucosal atrophy caused by H. pylori. Another 2011 study published in the "Indian Journal of Pharmacology" also found that high doses of vitamin C could inhibit H. pylori growth.

Sources of Vitamin C and E

Red bell peppers.
Red bell peppers. Photo Credit: James McQuillan/iStock/Getty Images

Vitamins C and E can both be consumed in high amounts as dietary supplements. Good sources of dietary vitamin C include red peppers, orange juice, oranges, grapefruit juice, kiwi, green peppers, broccoli, strawberries and brussels sprouts. Foods high in vitamin E include wheat germ oil, sunflower seeds, almonds, sunflower oil, safflower oil, hazelnuts and peanut butter. Because vitamin E is found in lower relative amounts, and present in fewer dietary sources, it may be the more beneficial of the two nutrients to supplement.

Benefits of Honey

Fresh honey.
Fresh honey. Photo Credit: George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images

A 2006 study published in "Sultan Qaboos University Medical Journal" found that honey possesses potent anti-bacterial properties that are effective against the H. pylori bacteria. Another 2011 study published in the "Asian-Pacific Journal of Tropical Biomedicine" had the same findings and noted that manuka honey, in particular, is suitable for the treatment of ulcers.

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