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  • A lot of you suffer with disturbing problems such as diarrhea, constipation, gas, belching, bloating, nausea, reflux, esophagitis, stomach ulcers and fatigue related to anemia. These symptoms might be tied to H. pylori, the ulcer bug. Complications of untreated Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) lead to severe reflux, dysphagia, peptic ulcer disease, stomach cancer and gastric lymphoma.

    Without a pill to fix you, this leaves little hope for relief, even if you're restricting yourself to chicken soup and a glass of water! It's clear to me we need something other than conventional treatments and pharmaceuticals which have limited effectiveness and adverse reactions.

    H. pylori can easily survive stomach acid, in fact it thrives in it. People often look surprised when I tell them that H. pylori can infect you all over, and plays a role in the pathogenesis of rheumatoid arthritis, ITP (idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura), Hashimoto's thyroiditis and iron deficiency anemia.

    Treating H. pylori is tough. Today, the standard of treatment is dubbed "triple therapy" and includes two antibiotics (usually amoxicillin and clarithromycin) along with a PPI (proton pump inhibitor like omeprazole). Unfortunately, there's a high rate of relapse. You can improve your odds of beating this infection if you take probiotics. More on that soon, but first, I want you to really wrap your head around this destructive pathogen.

    H. pylori causes mineral malabsorption and vitamin B12 deficiency which contributes to dementia, irritability, memory loss, arrhythmias and hypothyroidism. The mere presence of H. pylori activates your immune system causing it to stay on guard 24/7 and that pours a cytokine waterfall of inflammatory compounds all over your body. Then you become flooded with antibodies. The immune system activation appears to stir up bad superantigens and molecular mimicry which confuses your body. It will cause you to lose "tolerance of self" so you attack yourself. You develop an autoimmune disorder which can be different for everyone. Lupus for you, rheumatoid for her, Crohn's for him, and so forth. Infections combined with genetic SNPs are often the root cause of an autoimmune disorder.

    Recently, researchers evaluated 33 different trials that involved 4,459 participants with H. pylori. They wanted to know whether probiotics had any beneficial effect. They compiled statistics on 3 groups: People who took a dud pill (placebo), people who took antibiotics (triple therapy), and people who took probiotics with their antibiotics.

    Individuals who had took probiotics with the triple therapy had a much higher success rate in treating the H. pylori overgrowth and experienced fewer adverse events. In fact, it helped people who had already done the antibiotic course unsuccessfully! Four probiotic strains stood out: Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus casei, Lactobacillus gasseri, and Bifidobacterium infantis. This is so awesome and it's simple! Taking a probiotic supplement with these strains (about 4 to 6 hours after your antibiotic) may ultimately beat this infection. I've posted a longer version of this article at my website if you'd like to learn more about soothing symptoms while treating the infection.

  • Improving health is often very simple: quit smoking, eat wholesome food, avoid toxic substances and get good sleep and regular exercise. We are given clues when we violate nature’s laws—they are called symptoms. Instead of simply hitting the snooze alarm on those walk-up calls, we should discover and care for the underlying cause.

    Heartburn (or acid reflux, GERD, etc.) is a case in point. It is typical to treat the condition with acid-blocking drugs. Patients initially feel relief from the drugs, but the approach is shortsighted because stomach acid itself is not the real problem. Nature demands we have stomach acid, so the real issue is that the stomach acid has gotten somewhere it doesn’t belong—e.g. into the esophagus or through the protective barrier in the stomach.

    Acid-blocking drugs do serve a valid purpose while a patient has a serious ulceration, relieving pain until tissues heal. It is a Band-Aid. But if we don’t find out why the acid got in the wrong place, the ulceration will ultimately reappear. Furthermore, the drugs have only been approved safe for limited use—two to four weeks. When people take them for longer, they may experience serious side effects such as hip fracture, dementia, depression, high blood pressure, liver disease, erectile dysfunction, and much more. The effects are no surprise because stomach acid protects the body from invaders and assures proper digestion of needed minerals and nutrients.

    One fundamental cause of heartburn is hiatal hernia—a structural malfunction wherein the stomach protrudes through the diaphragm, trapping stomach juice in the esophagus which is not acid-resistant. You can prevent this condition by avoiding: smoking, obesity, improper weightlifting, frequent constipation, constrictive clothing, and chronic coughing. Non-surgical manipulation by a chiropractor or massage therapist can resolve the malfunction. (An acid-suppressing drug obviously cannot.)

    A muscular valve (sphincter) normally keeps the stomach contents from going back uphill. If the valve is weakened, acid may get into the esophagus and cause irritation. Poor diet, inadequate digestion, food sensitivities, reduced nerve supply from misaligned spinal vertebrae, insufficient vitamin D, poor balance of friendly bacteria, and resulting yeast overgrowth are some potential reasons for sphincter failure.

    A very common cause of heartburn is, in fact, low stomach acid. Without adequate acid, stomach contents don’t proceed to the next step of digestion. The stomach juice, therefore, continues to accumulate, increasing the odds that some weak acidic juice will get into the esophagus. Taking bitters before a meal and assuring that we have a good balance of beneficial bacteria to ward off the acid-suppressing bug H. pylori will boost stomach acid.

    Improve Digestion With Lifestyle Approaches

    Other lifestyle approaches improve digestion and are FREE: reduce stress and eat when you are calm; slow down; chew thoroughly; eat smaller meals; avoid sugar; eat more raw food (the enzymes are still active); wait two hours after eating before exercising; and find alternatives to anti-inflammatory painkillers which damage the digestive lining.