The Good, The Bad and The ugly Truth Behind Low Stomach Acid

The Good, The Bad and The ugly Truth Behind Low Stomach Acid
Whats really behind your heartburn, acid reflux and GERD? Could it be low stomach acid? What about H.Pylori? What if I told you it could be both.
The myth behind thistle bacteria is that it doesn’t affect that many people…wrong, the truth of the matter is that marathon 50% of the world's population is living with this inside their GI tract RIGHT NOW!
When we think of H. Pylori we think of it as harmful, naturally we would want to get tested if we are showing symptoms, but what if we are either not showing symptoms or we are being misdiagnosed? 
You see the knowledge we have regarding this particular type of bacteria is that if you have it, it is bad. It’s been linked to ulcers and stomach cancer… not pleasant. But what we don’t hear about is that it has also been linked to a very important role with regards to our immune system and gut flora. 
Helicobacter Pylori was virtually unknown until 1982, that makes it still relatively new in terms of research. There is directive in to those who’ve tested positive and certain GI disorders and can lead townhouse body inflammation (hello autoimmune disease)  Did you know that 80-100% of those with duodenal ulcers also tested positive for this bacteria, same goes for 70% of people with gastric ulcers. 
So how does all this tie in with low stomach acid? Well those with low stomach acid may be at higher risk than those with normal stomach acid. The problem with this is that there is a rise of low stomach acid and a rise in disease associated with it. So which came first the chicken or the egg? H. Pylori can surprise already low stomach acid, it’s a vicious cycle. Not to mention that if you have low stomach acid you are not properly digesting your food nor are you absorbing the much-needed nutrients.
So how do we recognize the signs of H. Pylori? 

learn what signs to look for

Nausea Loss of appetite Burping Bloating Weightloss Burning or ache in abdominal region, worse on an empty stomach

This list does sound an awful lot like many other lists having to do with a variety disorders so how do you know which is which? My advice is to get tested. If you know anyone who has had this issue you could have come in contact with it, although the way in which it is spread is not fully known as of yet. 

Some good tests:
Breath test (C urea)
Blood test for H. Pylori antibodies
Stool antigen test (like BioHealth 401H)
Intestinal biopsy (histology, culture, rapid urease test, PCR)

What you need to know about these tests

Each test has it’s positives and negatives as far as reliability. You want to make sure that you are getting an accurate test. Reliability and cost are two main issues for concern. Since there is no real “gold standard” for a lot of the testing available a combination of methods may your best approach. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) from an intestinal biopsy seems to be the most sensitive and specific, but it’s pretty invasive because it requires an instrument to be inserted down your throat. I prefer the Stool antigen test from a BioHealth 401H
So you test positive then what? As I have said before you need to be your own health advocate. Many physicians will only treat it if there are ulcers (diagnosed) present. Unfortunately you can have this bacteria and not have an ulcer present. This is cause for concern since even without the diagnosis of ulcers H. Pylori may increase your chances of developing other diseases or disorders such as chronic gastritis, stomach cancer and of course the afore mentioned ulcers.
There are many remedies you can tackle, the natural route such as bismuth subcitrate, deglycyrrhizinated licorice, and mastic gum resin. But most H. pylori infections in the modern medicine setting are primarily treated with a powerful cocktail of antibiotics. like amoxicillin, lansoprazole, and/or clarithromycin along with an antacid regimen (usually some PPI). While this can and does work, antibiotics as a viable means for treating H. pylori may not be so effective in the future.
Plus if you know the gut and are reading all the buzz about a healthy micro biome you are aware that heavy dose antibiotics will wreak havoc on the healthy bacteria essential for our well being. 
one study actually linked antibiotic eradication of H. pylori to fungal growth in gut mucosa. Our gut bacteria isn’t just good guys (symbiotic) and bad guys (pathogenic), we have a few hat lay somewhere in the middle. One thing is for certain, we need as many strains as possible and antibiotics do a good job of wiping those out. While short term damage may not be significant, the long term affects could be detrimental to your health and quality of life. 
That settles it then, H. Pylori is the devil… but wait a sec. According to Chris Kresser (you can hear his talk on this subject here)  He believes that it could help prevent certain health issues. If introduced early on in life it could have a positive effect rather than when exposed later in life and ending up with large amounts of inflammation.
Timing really is everything.
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