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Food (+Herbs) That Can Destroy H. Pylori, the Bacterium Responsible for Stomach Cancer and Acid Reflux

If you guys read my blog, you know I’m currently obsessed with broccoli sprouts and try to use them in my salads or smoothies frequently. Not only do broccoli sprouts turn on the NRF-2 gene pathway which can turn off genes that lead to cancer, but they have shown promising benefit in being able to eradicate Helicobacter Pylori, better known as H. Pylori.

WHAT IS H. PYLORI

H. Pylori is a corkscrew shaped bacterium that affects 50% of the American population and about 1/3-2/3 of the rest of the world. This little bug is classified as a carcinogen, or cancer-causing, by the World Health Organization as well as the International Agency for Research. It is strongly linked to the development of stomach issues like gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD) and stomach cancer. Sadly, due to antibiotic resistance, the proton pump inhibitors and antibiotic combo given by allopathic medicine is not as effective as it once was and many patients are now failing the standard treatment. Since everyone is different, the efficacy of a particular therapy may vary with each patient, environment, genes, age, food and hygiene.

STANDARD TREATMENT:

As mentioned above, the standard treatment for H pylori eradication is to administer a proton pump inhibitor, like Nexium or Prilosec. Unfortunately these medications have risks associated with them-like the new study that just showed a 25% increased risk of death after a year of use. These acid blocking agents are paired with a several antibiotics for two to three weeks.

WHY WE SHOULD ALL BE EATING BROCCOLI SPROUTS:

My very favorite, and probably the MOST natural alternative to wiping out this pesky bacteria is BROCCOLI SPROUTS! When you chew or cut the sprouts, they release a stress chemical that eventually forms sulfurophane, the potent anti tumor agent and natural antioxidant, that fights H pylori. Studies show that this biochemical appears to trigger cells in the body, including the gastrointestinal tract, to produce enzymes that protect against free radical damage and inflammation.

In a small pilot study published in 2009 in Cancer Prevention Research, the researchers found that eating 2.5 ounces of broccoli sprouts every day for two months may protect against H pylori. They did note that the levels of a very specific byproduct called HpSA released by H pylori, had decreased by 40% in the stool of these patients but reappeared after they stopped the broccoli sprouts two months later. This indicates that broccoli sprouts prevent full colonization but by themselves, don’t eradicate the bacterium. I don’t know about you, I would choose broccoli sprouts over a proton pump inhibitor. Nexium also does not often eradicate H pylori and comes with a host of other side effects.

In earlier animal studies performed at Johns Hopkins University, mice infected with H pylori ate broccoli sprout smoothies for eight weeks daily. The H pylori in their stomachs decreased by 100 fold while there was a concomitant four fold increase in enzymes like sulforophane that protect against oxidative damage!

In another study published in 2004, consumption of oral broccoli sprouts was temporarily associated with eradication of H pylori infection in only three out of nine patients.

It looks like it may be more ideal to prevent rather than ridding yourself of the bug, so what else can you do?

OTHER NATURAL ALTERNATIVES YOU WONT HEAR FROM YOUR DOCTOR 

My best advice is to pair some of these options with daily broccoli sprouts

  1. Pau D’Arco: This South American leaf also revs up the NRF-2 pathway just like broccoli sprouts! The results of a 2014 study published in the Journal of Toxicological Sciences found that the activation of NRF-2 could mediate the beneficial effects of Pau D’Arco in the intestine and with inflammation. It is also antibacterial, antiviral and anti fungal. It is known to fight candida and cancer. That is one of the main reasons I chose to put it in Microbiome Master, which has been successful at eradicating antibiotic resistant H Pylori in a handful of patients.
  2. Cranberries: This fruit is native to North America and has been shown to keep H pylon at bay. They work by preventing bacteria from adhering to cell walls-like in the bladder or stomach, hence why they are known for treating urinary tract infections. This is also why they are beneficial in preventing H pylori from taking hold in the stomach mucosa. In one study, a 90 day trial of cranberry juice compared to placebo in 189 patients, exhibited an increase in eradication rates of H pylori.
  3. Garlic: Garlic and its active ingredient, Allicin, produce organosulfphur compounds that deter oxidative damage by scavenging free radicals. Allicin is also revered for its potent antibacterial activity. Again this is another reason garlic was chosen for my gut cleanse, Microbiome Master.
  4. Curcumin: Although In-vivo tests in humans are lacking, one study did show benefit for long term cucurmin, the active ingredient in turmeric, in aiding in healing peptic ulcers and possibly, H pylori. Ulcers measuring up to 1.5cm were found in the duodenum of the stomach were treated with 300mg, five times a day of turmeric. 4 weeks of treatment revealed no ulcers in 48%. After 12 weeks, 76% had no ulcers!
  5. Ginger: Ginger has been used for centuries for ailments like nausea and dyspepsia due to its anti inflammatory and anti ulcer properties. Ginger has been shown in one study to restrict the growth of H pylori by inhibiting hydrogen and potassium released for gastric acid secretion. Gingerols and extracts, present in ginger, inhibit the development of H pylori in vitro in 19 clinical strains.
  6. Pistachia or Mastic Gum: This gum is produced by the Pistachio lentiscus plant in the Greek isles. It has been studied since the 1980s for its positive effects on the ulcers and stomach ailments. Mastic gum seems to work by inducing protrusions, or poking holes, in the cells of H pylori! A 2011 study proved that mastic gum prevents H pylori inflammation by inhibiting our white blood cells’ reaction in vivo. However, other animal and human studies have not replicated these findings.
  7. Artemisinin: This antimalarial drug has shown remarkably strong activity against H pylori infections. It was proven to have activity in vivo in a study published in 2012
  8. Zinc/Probiotics/Digestive Enzymes: Since H pylori is able to take hold of us due to lowered immunity, anything that helps us reset the bacterial balance and digestive properties in our guts will aid in an immune boost and also help fight this bacteria. Probiotics help to tip the bacterial balance in a favorable manner so that the improper bacteria can be recognized and disposed of. Digestive enzymes should not be supplemented forever but do help the body breakdown nutrients especially if the pH or digestion is off. Zinc works in tandem because it is necessary to help produce hydrochloric acid, which triggers our own natural digestive enzymes. Zinc also works to protect the stomach lining. It helps in wound healing and is anti inflammatory.

Check out my Microbiome Master in the Dr Jess which has eradicated H pylori in antibiotic resistant patients before!

You are becoming your own best doctor!

Dr Jess

 

REFERENCES:

  1. Zhang L, Ma J. Pan K, Go VL, Chen J., You WC Efficacy of cranberry juice on Helicobacter pylori infection: a double blind, randomized placebo controlled trial. 2005; 10:139-145
  2. Shmuel, H. Domniz, N. Yahav J Non-Pharmacological treatment of Helicobacter pylori: World Journal of Gastrointestinal Pharmacology and Therapeutics
  3. Prucksunand C, Indrasukhsri B, Leethochawalit M, Hungspreugs K, Phase II clinical trial on effect of the long term turmeric on healing of peptic ulcer. Southeast Asian J Tropical Medical Public Health 2001: 208-215
  4. Malady GB Pendland SL, Yun GS, Lu ZZ, Soia A, Ginger and the ginger’s inhibit the growth of Cag A+strains of Helicobacter pylori. Anticancer Research. 2003: 23: 3699-3702
  5. Goswami S, Bhakuni RS, Chinniah A, Pal A, Kar SK, Das PK Anti-Helicobacter pylori potential of artemisinin and its derivatives. Antimicrobial Agents in Chemotherapy 2012

How the Nutrient in Broccoli Sprouts Can Change Genes To Protect Against Cancer

All of us know broccoli when we see it but how many of us know what broccoli sprouts are? I know I didn’t grow up eating them and have been surprised to find out the amazing health benefits of this little but powerful veggie. And this isn’t the only veggie that has the magic….

 

Why Should I Care About Sulforaphane?

I know, I know, why should you care about sulforaphane? Well, it just so happens that it is VITAL. Some of its most important jobs are enhancing brain function, promoting healthy weight, autism, reducing the risk of cancer, neurological diseases, diabetes, and heart disease. Sulforaphane is an organosulfate that provides valuable sulfur that is the building block of so many reactions in our body. Sulforaphane is antioxidant, antimicrobial, anticancer, anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective. Lots of great reasons to understand this powerful compound!

Dr. Thomas W Kensler described it as “the most potent naturally occurring inducer of Nrf2 signaling.”

What sulforaphane does is activate and up regulate certain genetic pathways or transcription factors, like Nrf2. Nrf2 is a transcription factor that affects what genes are turned on or off. When I began to see this published in medical journals, I was really impressed. Everyone is beginning to see how nutrition CAN target genes (better known as nutrigenomics) and can therefore, prevent against common killers like cancer. In fact, sulforaphane has been found to be effective against several types of cancer! More and more evidence shows that it is also acts against cancer on several levels, from development to progression. In a study published in Cancer Therapy in May 2010, sulforaphane was found to inhibit breast cancer stem cells. Not even chemotherapy can inhibit cancerous stem cells.

Sulforaphane has shown a potential therapeutic role for protection of cells from DNA damage. It also showed that it could induce modulation of the cell, meaning death if the cell was diseased or old, or protection against cancer and proliferation of cancer cells. In fact, one study out of Harvard demonstrated signifiant improvement in autistic children treated with sulforaphane. They showed an improvement in social interaction, abnormal behavior, and verbal communication.

As previously mentioned, sulforaphane helps to activate Nrf2. It has been shown to be protective against cancer and can modify genes associated with chemoprevention. It does this by ramping up cellular defense mechanisms and detoxification pathways. Basically this little Nrf2 factor turns on genes that activate our cellular military. Their job is to go out and patrol our tissues, blood, organs and each cell to make sure everything is running smoothly with no mutiny anywhere in the body.

Where Do I Get Sulforaphane?

Broccoli, cauliflower, bok choy, Brussels sprouts, and cabbage are all rich in what is known as sulforaphane. In fact, all cruciferous vegetables contain sulforaphane! But it doesn’t just happen to occur naturally in plants.

Sulforaphane is only created when the plant is damaged as a stress mechanism. An enzyme called myrosinase is released that then reacts with another compound called glucoraphanin. The result is sulforaphane. You may be wondering how this is a defense mechanism for the plant? Well sulforaphane is actually toxic in high doses, even in humans, especially if large quantities of cruciferous vegetables are eaten raw. So  chewing or chopping up the vegetables trigger them to release sulforaphane.

Can I Eat Cruciferous Vegetables If I Have Thyroid Dysfunction?

Trust me when I say that cruciferous vegetables do not CAUSE thyroid dysfunction. In small and normal quantities, sulforaphane creates a hormetic effect. Remember the poison is in the dose in the natural world concerning herbs, so called poisons and foods. Sometimes, as in the case of sulforaphane, we can gain beneficial effects from something that would be toxic in higher doses. Everything in moderation!

In high doses or if cruciferous veggies are eaten predominantly raw in someone who is susceptible to thyroid disease, goitrins can form in the body. These goitrins interfere with the production of normal thyroid hormones, leading to hypothyroidism. The trade off with this is that cooking the cruciferous veggies past 138 degrees Fahrenheit deactivated the enzyme that helps to make sulforaphane. So the best way to get a satisfactory dose is by eating it raw in small amounts or by eating broccoli sprouts.

One thing you can do to prevent any negative effects from goitrins is to take adequate doses of iodine and selenium. Plus sulforaphane is pretty powerful-you only have to eat 3-5 servings per week to see the anticancer benefits! In fact, one study found that “dose” reduced the cancer risk by 30-40%.

The Highest Dose of Sulforaphane

Now that you know about sulforaphane, you may be wondering what the best source is and how much you need to reap the wonderful benefits! The highest dose is found in vegetables that are more immature and the content actually weans as the plants mature. Thats why young broccoli sprouts have a much higher content than just regular broccoli. They contain 10-100 times the level of glucoraphanin and sulforaphane. This little vegetable is really the panacea of healing.

There are supplements with sulforaphane and broccoli sprouts, but I always believe if you can get the nutrition from food, or the most natural way possible, it is much more bioavailable or absorbable. Try adding broccoli sprouts to your salad or even smoothie every week. Remember you only need 3-5 servings a week to ensure you’re getting the detox, anticancer and immune benefits. Don’t forget to speak with your trusted healthcare professional if you have a thyroid disorder prior to gobbling up too many cruciferous vegetables!

Way to be your own best doctor!

Much love

Dr Jess

 

 

Exposure of primary mouse hepatocytes to sulforaphane resulted in activation of Nrf2 and significant elevation of protein expressions responsible for excretion of arsenic into extracellular space. SFN has the ability to potentially excrete heavy metals like arsenic.

 

 

 

REFERENCES:

  1. www.sciencedirect.com/science/articles/pii/s0014579306002316
  2. www.drperlmutter.com/good-news-nrf2/
  3. www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080//10408398.2016.1259983?journalcode=bfsn20
  4. Sulforaphane and other Nutrigenomics Nrf2 Activators: Can the Clinician’s Expectation Be Matched by the Reality? www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/26881038/