H pylori can cause severe and debilitating symptoms, or very mild symptoms, depending on the person who has the bacteria and the strain of bacteria involved. Not everyone is affected equally. Typical symptoms include general malaise, fatigue, mood problems as well as widely recognised digestive symptoms like heartburn, reflux (GERD), bloating, nausea, vomiting and bad breath.
Doctors often prescribe antacid medications or laxatives for these symptoms; sometimes they will have the foresight to run testing for H pylori and other digestive infections. If H pylori is found triple therapy antibiotics are typically prescribed to kill the H pylori. This form of therapy has recently been shown to be only 50-70% effective, however.
Even when H pylori has been confirmed as having been eradicated, a patient’s symptoms often remain. This confuses doctor and patient alike. Diet is rarely considered in these situations, but in actual fact, common foods that are consumed on a daily basis by many people can cause exactly the same symptoms as the Helicobacter itself.
Food #1 – Gluten
Gluten (more accurately, gliadin) is a protein molecule that is found in the grains wheat, barley, rye and spelt. All foods that contain these grains have gluten in them (e.g. bread, pasta, cakes, biscuits, cereals, pizza). Many people are gluten-intolerant and in my experience gluten is the number one problem food. Gluten causes inflammation in the small intestine, much like H pylori. In many cases, simply eliminating the gluten can dramatically reduce symptoms. Sometimes people cannot eradicate H pylori until they have been on a gluten-free diet for at least 60-days.
Food #2 – Coffee
I love coffee, but unfortunately in any form coffee is an irritant to the digestive system. Many people report having heartburn, reflux and other digestive symptoms when they drink coffee. It is best to reduce coffee consumption if H pylori bacteria are present.
Food #3 – Soy
Soy foods have in recent times been touted as being healthy and, in some cases, miracle foods. However this information is far from the truth. In fact, soy is not a healthy food for most people. Even in Japan it is the number one allergy causing food. It can have a direct impact on the digestive system and cause similar symptoms to H pylori (it causes me to have wind, bloating and loose stools). Many people experience significant improvements when they eliminate soy in all forms. Several other foods, including cow’s milk and vegetable oils, should also be avoided if H pylori is diagnosed.
A complete list of these foods as well as the appropriate diet and herbal protocol for H pylori sufferers is available in the Overcoming H Pylori Naturally eBook at http://www.h-pylori-treatment.com.