This is a personal account of how I cured myself of H. Pylori with natural remedies and treated gastritis with some meds prescribed by my doctor. I share this with you as my symptoms and experiences were rather different than most of the stories I found online when I was intensively looking for a way to relieve the suffering induced by this nasty bacteria.
I eventually got rid of Helicobacter (aka Bacter from Hell) Pylori and gastritis but some of my discoveries along the way may surprise you. Hopefully you will benefit from this information, months of research and trial and error, and over a thousand of dollars spent on various supplements and drugs. There is also an interesting update at the end.
My Symptoms and Search for Answers
Come to think of it, it all started months before the onset of serious symptoms of H. Pylori. Half hour to an hour after meals I was experiencing a dull stabbing pain in the upper and sometimes in the lower left abdomen. This pain would sometimes disappear for weeks and reappear what seemed out of nowhere.
Eventually I started feeling very lethargic and could hardly drag my feet around the office. My appetite was considerably reduced and even though I would put a full plate of food in front of me I was only able to eat about a third of my meal until I felt full. At that time I blamed it all on sleepless nights and the stress that my wife and I had to endure over a complicated pregnancy and birth of our first baby.
It all came down on me in one day. After feeling very weak I decided to have some coffee at the office and I was immediately experiencing funny bubbling noises in my stomach and seconds later I ended up on a toilet seat which felt like a violent Pompeii eruption. My body could not handle any more acid. I knew something was wrong and it couldn’t just be stress and sleepless nights anymore. Next day I went to see my my doctor at PAMF in Palo Alto, CA.
Numerous people online describe how their doctors never suspect and do not test for H. Pylori. Most will diagnose ulcers and prescribe antacids, which tend to exacerbate the problem. I suppose I was lucky as among other tests my doctor recommended a stool test for this bacteria. Two days later the lab results confirmed infection of H. Pylori. My doctor called me to explain that the bacteria was present and it could be the culprit behind my intestinal discomforts. He invited me back in to suggest a treatment.
I was pretty shocked. If you know me, I am a health orientated guy. My diet is good, I walk quite a bit, I wash my hands all the time, in fact I am a bit of a germaphobe (thanks to my RN wife). How could this bacteria ever find real estate in my intestines was beyond me. My only suspicion was that I could have brought it back from my trip to India and Nepal a couple of years ago.
Traditional Medicine Treatment for H Pylori and Gastritis
Before I went back I did a lot of research and knew right away my doc will suggest taking a prevpac, which is a combo of acid pump inhibitors, aka protonics, (to reduce the extra acidity produced by the stomach and allow the ulcers and sensitive stomach lining to heal), an a couple of different antibiotics (to fight the bacteria itself).
After reading about the side effects and questionable effectiveness of prevpac I knew I would do everything in my power to look for more natural remedies. After all, I was not interested in merely treating the symptoms but wanted to know what caused the bacteria and how I could have contracted it. I wanted to go to the source and then find a total cure.
I went to my doctor and explained that I do not intend to take the prevpac and instead listed some supplements I was planning on taking. He basically gave me a “good luck” look and we agreed to meet again when I come back for a retest and my prevpac.
H. Pylori is Not a Mystery
H. Pylori or Helicobacter Pylori in full has certainly been receiving a lot of attention lately and has acquired quite a bad reputation. While deservedly so, it is also shrouded in many myths , accused of sorcery and conspiring against the state. What I am saying is that it is not as “evil” as one may be led to believe. After all, according various research and stats over 50% of world’s population is unknowingly in cahoots with it. In fact, according to Wikipedia, over 80 percent of individuals infected with the bacterium are asymptomatic and it has been postulated that it may even play an important role in the natural stomach ecology. You hear that? No symptoms or the darn thing may even be beneficial! After all, you don’t see half of the town at the clinic complaining with stomach aches so any common sense would dictate there is something else going on.
H. Pylori and Stress Relationship
Prior to 1982 the medical establishment mostly thought stomach ulcers were merely a by-product of “stress and lifestyle.” But things changed after a “ground braking” discovery of two Autralian scientists Robin Warren and Barry Marshall who showed the bacteria Helicobacter pylori plays a key role in the development of both stomach and intestinal ulcers. In fact, they determined that H. pylori infection can trigger an ulcer by stimulating acid production in the stomach, leading to damage to the stomach or intestinal lining. They even went as far as infecting themselves and experiencing the results in order to prove their theory.
I suppose its worth a Nobel prize but these esteemed gentlemen did not answer one crucial question – How in the world this this bacteria end up inside of our stomach lining in the first place? I am not saying I know myself but I have a hunch which I’ll share with you in my last paragraph. First, let’s torpedo two big problems – H Pylori and gastritis. Naturally, we must first tackle the source so we must wipe the bacteria before we can eliminate the pain, you agree? Let’s get started.
H Pylori Elimination Protocol via Natural Remedies
Since most of these supplements have been widely described elsewhere on the web I will only touch upon the basics. See product links on Amazon or iHerb for specifics (Note: iHerb offers good rates and fast delivery for international shipping; using the links below 1st time shoppers get 10% off their order.)
1. Monolaurin – a 12-carbon long fatty acid, derived from coconut oil but prepared into a mono-ester of lauric acid, which is found in coconut milk and breast milk (yep, the real nature’s miracle). 2 pills (600mg each) twice a day. Total of 2400 mg per day. (Amazon product link or iHerb product link)
2. Probiotic VSL #3 – a concentrated pro-biotic, containing 8 different strains of beneficial bacteria. Much research suggests, a potent (broad range of beneficial bacteria) pro-biotic alone can cure H. Pylori and accelerate the healing process. I took two capsules a day. (Amazon product link or an iHerb product which is cheaper and seems to be close in potency.)
3. InterFase Plus – is a “disarming” agent, a special enzyme formula that was designed to disrupt the bio-film to which H Pylori bonds and allows the Monolaurin and Manuka Honey to do its work. This sounded good to me and made sense because my doctor was skeptical of any natural treatment because H Pylori hides behind the bio-film which, in his view, was impenetrable by any natural supplements. (Amazon product link or a cheaper iHerb product that claims to do the same.)
A note from InterFase Plus manufacturer: “Biofilm consists of microorganisms encased within a self-produced matrix of exopolysaccharides and exoproteins that strongly adheres to interfaces and resists dislodgement. Microorganisms residing within biofilms are highly resistant to antimicrobials including antibiotics and bacteriocins produced by probiotics. InterFase Plus is a unique enzyme formulation with EDTA that is especially designed to disrupt the biofilm matrix that embeds potential gastrointestinal pathogens.”
4. Manuka Honey Active 16 – touted for its antibacterial qualities. I took a teaspoon on empty stomach three times a day before major meals and also one before bed time. It tastes great, its rather expensive and effectiveness is questionable but since its such a “miracle” I took it anyways to be sure. Make sure to go for the 15+ or a bigger factor. (Amazon product link or iHerb product link)
5. Mastic Gum, 500 mg, 60 Count – a powder exuded from the branches and trunk of the mastic tree that grows in the eastern Mediterranean and North Africa. There are many claims online this is another miracle supplement but honestly, the more I read the more I found out it does nothing to inhibit the bacteria itself. However, according to the science of Ayurveda, mastic gum can help reduce inflammation by strengthening the inner lining of the gut and making a protective layer that guards against the damage of hyper-acidity during the h pylori infection. It is also said to be a digestive stimulant, adaptogenic, and among other things – an aphrodisiac. (Amazon product link or iHerb product link)
Additional things I took:
Licorice Drops – Licorice root is well known around the globe for its anti-inflamatory, gastritis relieving properties and inhibiting of H Pylori growth. Literature talks about the compound called carbenoxolone synthesized from glycyrrhizin which plays a key role in healing gastric ulcers along with reducing gastric secretions and promoting development of intestinal mucus lining. If you’re prone to high blood pressure, get the DGL kind. (Amazon product link or iHerb product link)
Olive Leaf – another natural antibiotic. I took one by Gaia Herbs, two a day before food. At least for me it produce a string detox effects so this it was yet another reason to drink more water. Get the ones in photo-capsules. (Amazon product link or iHerb product link)
Organic Apple Cider Vinegar 16 OZ (with mother enzyme) – aids digestion and there is some evidence that, unlike all other vinegars, this one has an alkalizing effect and inhibits growth of the bacteria. (Amazon product link. iHerb doesn’t carry it, try and get it locally)
Other Options/Alternative Protocol
Ashwagandha – I did not take it while recovering from h pylori but had I known what I know now (after using it for a while later in my life), I would have made it a priority. Ashwagandha is considered to be the “super adaptogen” and provides enormous amounts of benefits to the body. You’ll need something to calm the nerves and anxiety during this ordeal and this is the herb to do it. It is said it reduce cortisol levels and could help reverse states of brain and nervous system degeneration. (Amazon product link or iHerb product link)
Turmeric/Curcumin – I personally did not take it but this is an easily available spice in most continents but there’s some good evidence that turmeric is effective against peptic ulcers, H Pylori and a host of other gastric ailments. If you live in an area where you can not obtain most of the items on this protocol then do more research and give it a try. As a note of caution, start slow as some report that turmeric is such a potent anti H Pylori agent, it can cause a strong detox effect but others find it to be quite a relief and experience the opposite – complete wellness after a while. So start with half a teaspoon one hour before meal every day for a few days, then increase to one teaspoon and continue on. The study suggest “2 capsules [of regular turmeric/not extract] (250 mg each) 4 times daily, 1 h before meals for 4 and 8 weeks.” You can also make a turmeric tea and drink that too but like I said – watch your doses and don’t over do it. If you don’t get the product I suggest from Amazon and choose to buy it locally then take it with a pinch of black pepper for better bio-availability. As I’ve recently learned myself – every culture has herbs to heal from all diseases and they are usually found in one’s “backyard.” (Amazon product link or iHerb product link)
When to Take What Sequence…
Monolaurin – two pills (600mg x 2) twice a day. Total of 2400 mg per day. Take two in the morning with breakfast, two at night with dinner. You’ll need a 30 day supply, 45 better to be sure.
Manuka honey – one teaspoon 20-30 minutes before each meal on an empty stomach, one more before bed on an empty stomach.
Mastic gum – take two pills (2 pills x 500mg each) on empty stomach in the morning, and two in the evening. A total of 2000 mg per day.
InterFase Plus – take one capsule twice a day (2 capsules as recommended on the product) on empty stomach before or between meals.
Take VSL probiotic right before meals or together but not after. Two capsules a day. You’ll need one bottle of 60 caps.
Basically, you get up in the morning and take Mastic gum with plenty of water (hydration is key). Wait at least half hour then take Manuka and wait a bit as well if you can. Take the probiotic and eat a healthy meal, take Monolaurin with your meal. Between first and next meal take the InterfasePlus. If you are willing to go the entire route then you can take any other supplements like olive leaf, licorice with food, and aloe after your meals to help digestion and ease the sooth the stomach.
Yes, I know, this takes “pill popping” to a whole new level but hey, it still beats popping the antibiotics and the rest of the stuff on the protocol suggested by my physician.
My Results of the Protocol
While taking these supplements and following a strict diet (no meat, no dairy and no gluten products) I started feeling the effects in about a week. My appetite came back and body weakness started dissipating. I progressively felt better every day. The pain was reduced from rather unpleasant to nagging but it didn’t go away. Six weeks later I had finished my self-prescribed supplement course and even though I still had slight abdominal pains I decided to get retested.
Lone and behold, when results turned up two days later they showed that Halicpbacter Pylori bacteria was gone. Holy cow was I pleasantly surprised! After all, some people say they try these supplements without results but I guess it was luck time for me. Honestly, I really think most people just do not have the time or patience to go through this protocol.
The Healing Process
Little did I know getting rid of pain will be the toughest and longest stretch of my journey. Luck or not, the bacteria was gone but it was far from over for me as now it was healing time for the h pylori ravaged guts. So off to the doc’s office again to see his baffled face and also request a referral to the GI specialist to address the pain.
The GI doc was very surprised to hear my story and said “Perfect!, I have a patient who cannot tolerate the prevpac and she would really benefit from a more natural method… would you mind sharing the supplements and the protocol?” Honestly, that just floored me. A doc asking me for advice about the info that is readily available online? I suppose he just needed a guinea pig as myself for proof that the protocol is valid and effective. Regardless, I was happy to contribute to the education of our doctors. 🙂
After complaining to GI specialist about my nagging abdominal pains she explained that the extra acid unleashed by the H Pylori bacteria caused some damage to the inner lining of my gut and she suggested I try some protonix which is basically an acid suppressing drug that has minimal side effects. So she prescribed to take PANTOPRAZOLE (Protonix) 40MG EC TAB. Three weeks on that produced very very marginal results. I would venture to say the drug was not effective.
We agreed beforehand that if protonix didn’t help, the next step was going to be the endoscopy to peek inside my intestines to see what’s really happening there. So I signed up and showed up at the hospital. RN was preparing to put me out via general anesthesia but I really wanted to drive back home myself (otherwise someone would have had to pick me up and drive my drunk brain home) so I asked how bad the pain was of procedure. From 1-10 the nurse said it was 4. This was enough to go commando and weather the pain, plus I wanted to see the monitor and the camera inside my stomach.
After applying some anti gagging gel to my throat we were in! It all lasted only about three minutes. The conclusion was, I had no ulcers but the inner lining in my gut was irritated from bile that was coming up my stomach and irritating the inner lining. In general this is known as Bile reflux – a backflow of bile into the stomach from the bile tract (that connects to the liver and gallbladder).
After asking what could have been causing this reflux the GI doc couldn’t really explain properly and I was left to seek my own answers. Anyways, the next step was the prescription of Carafate (SUCRALFATE (CARAFATE) 1GM/10ML ORAL SUSP) which taken 20 minutes before food coats the stomach and protects it from acidity of bile.
Two weeks on Carafate was welcomed with a decent improvement but not full recovery. Mild nagging pain would still occur after more greasy or spicy meals. Then my friend, who also had H Pylori infection a year earlier, suggested I take Vitamin E and also D. I did more research, it all made sense so I went and got some quality vitamins. We moved back to Europe two weeks later and about a month later I noticed all of my symptoms and aches were entirely gone… period, done, finished.
Note on the Vitamin D: Studies have shown that people infected with H Pylori tend to be Vitamin D deficient. Whether it is the H Pylori that depletes the vitamin or the deficiency itself invites H Pylori is still in question, however what’s important is that the is a direct relationship between the two. There is a study demonstrating that high doses of Vitamin D can kill H Pylori via natural antibiotic in the body called cathelicidin peptide LL-37.
H Pylori, Gastritis and the Quality of Your Drinking Water
One of the things I can not encourage you enough is to drink LOTS of water – water is essential in washing out acids and toxins in your system. Remember your chemistry class – H2O is essential for chemical processes to take place. It is vital you do NOT drink sterile or soft water (purified by Brita or any other filter). I believe drinking only purified water (void of calcium and magnesium) contributed to my gastro problems. Read this about drinking deminirelised water: (http://www.lenntech.com/health-risks-demineralized-water.htm) I was totally oblivious to this and was sold by all the impurities hysteria so we only drank filtered water. According to the study in the link: “Recent epidemiological studies suggest that low mineral drinking water may be a risk factor for hypertension and coronary heart disease, gastric and duodenal ulcers, chronic gastritis, goitre, pregnancy complications and several complications in infants. A study of this kind conducted in 1992 by Lutai on two populations living in areas with different levels of dissolved minerals showed that the population of the area supplied with water low in minerals showed higher incident rates of these disease. Children living in this area exhibited slower physical development and more growth abnormalities, pregnant women suffered more frequently from oedema and anaemia.”
My Lessons and Conclusion
Throughout my ordeal on looking for a more holistic approach to deal with H Pylori and gastritis I did an immense amount of research and thinking. As mentioned earlier, my gastro intestinal problems really coincided with a time in my life when my wife and I were going through a tremendous amount of stress related to pregnancy. Weeks later I even had an appendectomy due to the flare up of my appendicitis. I believe this too was related to stress rather than diet or anything else. Also a very peculiar fact is that all of my symptoms completely vanished after my stress levels dropped upon moving back to my home country in Europe.
My parting thoughts are these: proliferation of H Pylori as well as gastritis is a product of stress. My hunch is that H Pylori came up to my stomach via excess bile produced by stress. Here’s what a new stress study found to support this theory:
The study proves for the first time how cortisol controls the recycling of bile acids. Obviously, if you get too stressed out, you will be making excess bile and sending it to your gall bladder, a system that can get overloaded. This will cause excess bile to dump into your small intestine and start refluxing back towards your stomach. This will cause heat or burning across your lower ribcage, as bile moves backwards through your small intestine and into your stomach.
My final advice would be this: before you spend hundreds of dollars on drugs, supplements and any other magic potions to cure your symptoms you must first address your lifestyle and stress levels. My case proved that it didn’t matter what kind of supplements I took if I didn’t reduce my stress levels. This protocol mentioned above will work to eliminate the h pylori bacteria but your stomach aches may not go away that easy.
Hope this helps and I wish you much patience. If you have any stories of your own or any further questions then feel free to chime-in in the comments below. If you go for this protocol let me know how you do!
UPDATE WITH AN INTERESTING NOTE: It’s been about five years since I had to battle with H Pylori. For the past year I’ve been experiencing some gastrointestinal problems. Nothing like the one with h pylori, no gastritis, no pains, just adrenal fatigue, food sensitivities, and really bad insomnia, possibly due to some inherited methylation issues or leftovers of Lyme’s disease (yeh, imagine that, I managed to get that one too). So in search for answers I though, what the heck, let’s test for H Pylori too. So I submitted both blood and stool test. Holy cow!!! Two days later my blood test came back positive for H Pylori antibodies and in a very high count but two days later my stool test came back negative.
So what’s going on? Well, I then learned that blood test can be an inaccurate indicator because it only looks for H Pylori antibodies; it does not indicate the current infection. As the source indicates: “h pylori serology [blood test] is “useful in detecting a newly infected patient, but it is not a good test for follow-up of treated patients because it does not indicate present infection with h pylori. The antibody titer may remain elevated for a long time after h pylori eradication.”
Stool test is more accurate because active infection from bacteria can actually be detected this way. The most accurate test is the biopsy during endoscopy. So it appears I DO NOT have H Pylori again but my body has naturally developed antibodies because I did not treat the infection with antibiotics! What this means is that there is a natural immunity and I’m WAY less likely to get it again over someone who inoculated the bacteria with triple antibiotic. Cool, eh? Yet another reason to go the natural route and use this protocol.