Safely Reduce a Common Cause of Stomach Distress
By Carl Goldman
The most common culprit behind gastritis and peptic ulcer disease is infection with the Helicobacter pylori bacteria.1-7
H. pylori are so pervasive that almost 50% of the public are walking around with this bacterium in their stomach right now—and most don’t know it.6,8
Even though H. pylori can lead to painful gastritis and ulcers,7 it often causes no symptoms at all.5 This silent invasion is especially dangerous because infection with H. pylori is also the primary cause of stomach cancer,9 a deadly malignancy.8,10 This makes management of H. pylori critical not only for treating and preventing painful ulcers, but also for lowering the risk of gastric cancer.
Most physicians treat H. pylori infections with a powerful antibiotic combination.11 Although effective in approximately 80% of cases, the rise in antibiotic resistance has been associated with an increased failure rate in standard therapy for H. pylori.12,13
Japanese researchers have found a better way to help control H. pylori over the longer term. By combining two unique nutrients, they can reduce and manage H. pylori. Added to this nutrient protocol is a specific beneficial strain of Lactobacillus reuteri that also reduces the presence of H. pylori.
The goal of this natural approach is to safely heal and repair the stomach lining, lower inflammation, and minimize the presence of H. pylori, thereby reducing chronic stomach problems along with the risk of ulcers and cancer.
Powerful Stomach Protection
H. pylori is a spiral-shaped bacterium that winds its way into the stomach’s protective mucous lining where it can live for years. Over time, H. pylori steadily erodes the stomach’s essential mucous barrier, leaving it exposed to harsh acids that result in distress ranging from gastritis to cancer.7
Japanese scientists pioneered the use of a unique combination of the mineral zinc with the amino acid-derived carnosine molecule that provides powerful actions against H. pylori and safely restores stomach health.14,15 Called zinc-carnosine, this compound offers physical protection for vulnerable stomach linings, while quelling much of the inflammation seen in gastritis and peptic ulcer disease.
This zinc-carnosine combination—a prescription drug in Japan and other countries—also has powerful effects against H. pylori. This means that it not only soothes an aching belly, but also offers protection against stomach cancer.
A second way of helping control H. pylori in the body is through the use of a specialized version of a heat-treated organism called Lactobacillus reuteri, strain DSMZ 17648. Through a unique mechanism, this form of Lactobacillus reuteri forms clumps with H. pylori organisms, promoting their excretion from the body and lowering their levels in the stomach. Used in combination, these natural products may be expected to relieve stomach pain related to gastritis and peptic ulcer disease, promote natural healing, and prevent gastric cancers related to H. pylori.
Studies show that zinc has numerous potent protective effects on the stomach.16,17 When it is linked with carnosine, those effects far surpass what either molecule can accomplish on its own. This unique combination solves multiple stomach problems, unlike single-purpose medications or over-the-counter treatments.
With its unique mechanism, zinc-carnosine gets delivered directly to the stomach wall, exactly where it is needed most. Once there, it sticks specifically to ulcer lesions, releasing its contents, which can heal the ulcer.15,18
Together, zinc-carnosine complex offers a comprehensive approach to addressing gastritis and peptic ulcer disease:
- It repairs damaged mucous lining, stimulates mucous secretion, and promotes healing.19,20
- It reduces inflammation.21
- It inhibits the growth and damaging effects of H. pylori.15,22,23
In one study, 25 patients diagnosed with gastric ulcers took 75 mg of zinc-carnosine twice daily for 8 weeks.24 By the end of the study, subjects experienced:
- 63.6% reduction in heartburn,
- 80% reduction in belching,
- 66.7% reduction in nausea, and
- 76.9% reduction in abdominal distention.
In almost 91% of subjects, stomach pain at night had completely disappeared, healing was observed in 65% of subjects during endoscopic assessment, and almost 71% showed reduced stomach tenderness.24
A second study published at the same time demonstrated that zinc-carnosine outperformed cetraxate, a drug that is commonly used to treat ulcers.25 This was a multicenter double-blind comparative study that involved 299 patients with gastric ulcers who were evaluated endoscopically.
In the group taking 150 mg of zinc-carnosine, 60.4% had ulcer healing that was confirmed using an endoscopy, compared with just 46.2% of the cetraxate drug recipients, a statistically significant difference.25
In a third study, the important outcome being measured was H. pylori status.22 Here, 66 patients with proven H. pylori infections received the most common therapy of two antibiotics, plus the proton pump inhibitor lansoprazole (Prevacid®). Half of the subjects were also randomly assigned to receive, in addition, 150 mg of zinc-carnosine twice daily.
Among subjects who completed the study, H. pylori was eradicated in 86% of subjects taking the three drug combination therapy alone. In the group also taking zinc-carnosine, H. pylori was eradicated in 100% of subjects!22
Clearly, these impressive results have now been repeated numerous times, and all have shown significant improvements in symptoms and in endoscopic examinations after 8 weeks of continuous treatment with zinc-carnosine at doses of 75 to 150 mg twice daily.
Lactobacillus reuteri Removes H. pylori
Meanwhile, a special form of heated-treated Lactobacillus reuteri strain DSMZ 17648 is also generating considerable excitement in the prevention of gastritis, peptic ulcer disease, and ultimately, stomach cancer.
Lactobacillus reuteri strain DSMZ 17648 was selected from among 700 different strains of Lactobacillus species, primarily for its unique ability to bind to H. pylori organisms under conditions found in the stomach. Lactobacillus reuteri strain DSMZ 17648 binds to H. pylori organisms, which are then passed harmlessly from the gastrointestinal tract, an action that decreases the amount of these bacteria in the stomach—entirely without antibiotics and their risks.26
One way to determine whether or not H. pylori is present in the stomach is with a urea breath test, which measures a product ofH. pylori metabolism in the subject’s breath. Two separate human studies have used this test to determine the effect of Lactobacillus reuteri strain DSMZ 17648 on H. pylori.26,27
In both studies, subjects either took two tablets of Lactobacillus reuteri strain DSMZ 17648 twice a day for 2 weeks, or a placebo. And in both studies, the supplement significantly reduced the amount of H. pylori as indicated by the urea breath test, while the placebo had no effect.
It’s important to note that even though these subjects had proven H. pylori infections, none of them had any symptoms. Since H. pylori is known to contribute to stomach cancer even in patients without symptoms,8,28 the ability of Lactobacillus reuteri strain DSMZ 17648 to lessen H. pylori makes these studies especially important.
People who are taking antibiotic therapy for H. pylori should not stop the antibiotics until they are finished, and should not use zinc-carnosine and the L. reuteri as a replacement for antibiotic therapy. However, for greater efficacy, these natural ingredients can be used in combination with standard antibiotic therapy.22
Stomach pain is widespread and may represent gastritis or peptic ulcer disease. Both conditions are closely associated with H. pylori infection, which is also implicated in stomach cancer.28 While mainstream medicine utilizes powerful antibiotics and stomach acid reducers to eliminate H. pylori, painful stomach symptoms sometimes persist.29
Zinc-carnosine and Lactobacillus reuteri strain DSMZ 17648 are natural products that attack the sources of gastritis and peptic ulcer disease without affecting beneficial stomach acid, and without antibiotics.
Zinc-carnosine, sold as a drug in Japan, produces a physical barrier between erosive stomach contents and the damaged stomach wall, preventing further injury. It also reduces inflammatory responses and has been shown to reduce infection with H. pylori.
Lactobacillus reuteri strain DSMZ 17648 physically binds to H. pylori, causing them to aggregate or “stick” together.26 They are then passed out of the gastrointestinal tract, helping to lower the load of organisms in the stomach.
Both of these compounds have produced significant symptom relief and reduction in H. pylori in people with gastritis and peptic ulcer disease.
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- Wu TS, Hu HM, Kuo FC, et al. Eradication of Helicobacter pylori infection. Kaohsiung J Med Sci. 2014;30(4):167-72.
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- Malfertheiner P, Megraud F, O’Morain CA, et al. Management of Helicobacter pylori infection--the Maastricht IV/ Florence Consensus Report. Gut. 2012;61(5):646-64.
- Lopes D, Nunes C, Martins MC, et al. Eradication of Helicobacter pylori: Past, present and future. J Control Release. 2014;189:169-86.
- Lee YC, Chiang TH, Chou CK, et al. Association Between Helicobacter pylori Eradication and Gastric Cancer Incidence: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. Gastroenterology. 2016;150(5):1113-24.e5.
- Peek RM, Jr. New Biology to New Treatment of Helicobacter pylori-Induced Gastric Cancer. Dig Dis. 2016;34(5):510-6.
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- Bohr URM, Malfertheiner P. Eradication of H. pylori Infection: the Challenge is on if Standard Therapy Fails. Therapeutic Advances in Gastroenterology. 2009;2(1):59-66.
- Hsu PI, Wu DC, Chen WC, et al. Randomized controlled trial comparing 7-day triple, 10-day sequential, and 7-day concomitant therapies for Helicobacter pylori infection. Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2014;58(10):5936-42.
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- Matsukura T, Takahashi T, Nishimura Y, et al. Characterization of crystalline L-carnosine Zn(II) complex (Z-103), a novel anti-gastric ulcer agent: tautomeric change of imidazole moiety upon complexation. Chem Pharm Bull (Tokyo). 1990;38(11):3140-6.
- Matsukura T, Tanaka H. Applicability of zinc complex of L-carnosine for medical use. Biochemistry (Mosc). 2000;65(7):817-23.
- Varas Lorenzo MJ, Lopez Martinez A, Gordillo Bernal J, et al. Comparative study of 3 drugs (aceglutamide aluminum, zinc acexamate, and magaldrate) in the long-term maintenance treatment (1 year) of peptic ulcer. Rev Esp Enferm Dig. 1991;80(2):91-4.
- Rodriguez de la Serna A, Diaz-Rubio M. Multicenter clinical trial of zinc acexamate in the prevention of nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drug induced gastroenteropathy. Spanish Study Group on NSAID Induced Gastroenteropathy Prevention. J Rheumatol. 1994;21(5):927-33.
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- Hiraishi H, Sasai T, Oinuma T, et al. Polaprezinc protects gastric mucosal cells from noxious agents through antioxidant properties in vitro. Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 1999;13(2):261-9.
- Yoshikawa T, Naito Y, Tanigawa T, et al. Effect of zinc-carnosine chelate compound (Z-103), a novel antioxidant, on acute gastric mucosal injury induced by ischemia-reperfusion in rats. Free Radic Res Commun. 1991;14(4):289-96.
- Shimada T, Watanabe N, Ohtsuka Y, et al. Polaprezinc down-regulates proinflammatory cytokine-induced nuclear factor-kappaB activiation and interleukin-8 expression in gastric epithelial cells. J Pharmacol Exp Ther. 1999;291(1):345-52.
- Kashimura H, Suzuki K, Hassan M, et al. Polaprezinc, a mucosal protective agent, in combination with lansoprazole, amoxycillin and clarithromycin increases the cure rate of Helicobacter pylori infection. Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 1999;13(4):483-7.
- Suzuki H, Mori M, Seto K, et al. Polaprezinc attenuates the Helicobacter pylori-induced gastric mucosal leucocyte activation in Mongolian gerbils--a study using intravital videomicroscopy. Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2001;15(5):715-25.
- Amakawa T. Clinical Effect of Z-103 Tablets against Gastric Ulcers: Phase III Clinical Study. Jpn Pharmacol Ther. 1992;20(1):199-223.
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- Holz C, Busjahn A, Mehling H, et al. Significant Reduction in Helicobacter pylori Load in Humans with Non-viable Lactobacillus reuteri DSM17648: A Pilot Study. Probiotics Antimicrob Proteins. 2015;7(2):91-100.
- Mehling H, Busjahn A. Non-viable Lactobacillus reuteri DSMZ 17648 (Pylopass) as a new approach to Helicobacter pylori control in humans. Nutrients. 2013;5(8):3062-73.
- Ford AC, Forman D, Hunt R, et al. Helicobacter pylori eradication for the prevention of gastric neoplasia. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2015(7):Cd005583.
- Vakil N, Hahn B, McSorley D. Recurrent symptoms and gastro-oesophageal reflux disease in patients with duodenal ulcer treated for Helicobacter pylori infection. Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2000;14(1):45-51.
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