Antioxidants KO Bacteria.

stomach-acheVitamin C does a lot more than fend off the common cold. This premier antioxidant now appears to attack nasty bacteria linked to heartburn and ulcers.

The most prevalent bacteria outside the human body, Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) can infect three-quarters of the world’s population. And once it gets inside the body, H. pylori knows tricks other bacteria don’t know about.

While stomach acid is usually strong enough to kill most pathogens, H. pylori shields itself from harm with a special enzyme called urease, which reacts with waste materials to neutralize acid. Protected by this enzymatic process, H. pylori is then able to work its way through the layer of mucus that protects the lining of the stomach from acid.

If this bacteria flourishes, the stomach makes extra acid to attack it—doing nothing to harm the wily H. pylori. The result? You suffer indigestion and heartburn, while eventually an ulcer can form, allowing stomach acid to enter the body and eat away at blood vessels.

This can cause serious bleeding, and if the damage continues for too long, partially digested food and bacteria travel into your stomach cavity. This causes a painful condition known as a perforated ulcer, leading to severe inflammation that requires surgery to correct.

Obviously, the sooner you can knock out H. pylori, the less risk you have of developing painful indigestion and damaging ulcers. New research finds that vitamin C—and sometimes vitamin E—can effectively eradicate this bacteria.

Conventional medicine’s first line of attack in treating ulcers is using antibiotic drugs. Research with people infected with H. pylori shows that taking vitamin C (250 mg twice a day) allows them to lower their drug dosage.

In a more recent study this kind of drug therapy effectively knocked out only 60 percent of H. pylori bacteria—less than the 80 percent eradication rate medicine aims to achieve. But adding the  antioxidants C and E neutralized 91 percent of this bacteria!

Think you’ve got an ulcer?  The best clue is fiery, stabbing pain between your navel and breastbone right after eating, though sometimes you can suffer ulcer pain on an empty stomach. Endoscopy (putting a tiny camera down your throat), breath and blood testing, or stool samples are the most common diagnostic tools for ulcers.

Dr Ann Louise’s Take:

Ever since I read about the work of Fred Klenner, M.D. who used intravenous vitamin C back in the 1940’s to treat polio and other “incurables,”  I have been a staunch believer in vitamin C. It has been used since then by integrative medicine docs to challenge cancer and heart disease as well as chelate heavy metals like mercury. So, I am not surprised that good old vitamin C can wage war against H. pylori.

Everybody needs vitamin C.  The body does not produce it on its own. I personally would recommend a lot more vitamin C than this study suggests, anywhere from 3,000 – 10,000 mg throughout the day. I use UNI KEY Time-C because it also contains Lysine (an antiviral amino acid) and Magnesium (a potent detoxifier).

Some of vitamin C’s other claims to fame are its ability to strengthen and build healthy collagen (so good for a wrinkle-free complexion) as well as maintain elasticity in the arteries.

Whatever you do, don’t buy into those heartburn commercials. Taking antacids or drugs  to tamp down stomach acid may only contribute to the growth of H. pylori.

Avoid irritating beverages— coffee and regular tea, soft drinks and other caffeine sources only aggravate an ulcer. Instead, drink plenty of pure water—half your body weight in ounces daily.

And don’t forget how prevalent H. pylori is these days. This bacteria can be carried in drinking water (even coliform tests can miss H. pylori) and has also been found in supermarket chicken, fish, pork, and seafood.

No one is sure why H. pylori causes ulcers in some people and not others. One answer is that probiotics, beneficial bacteria, help keep harmful bacteria—even this one—in check.

In addition, cabbage family vegetables like broccoli contain the antioxidant sulforaphane and fiber that help control H. pylori. Research shows that drinking cabbage juice daily helps relieve ulcers in only 10 days.


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