When Bacteria Go Bad…

July 25, 2013
Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS

Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS

Award-winning nutritionist and New York Times bestselling author.

bacteria h. pylori cancer connectionStudies show superbugs may trigger the most fatal form of cancer.

As a whole, bacteria play a very important role in protecting our health – our bodies contain trillions of bacteria and microorganisms that reside on our skin, in our mouths and especially in our digestive tract. Believe it or not, bacterial cells in the human body outnumber human cells 10 to one!

However, modern medicine’s heavy antibiotic use not only destroys the bad “pathogenic” bacteria, but also unintentionally destroys the beneficial bacteria, or probiotics, in the digestive tract.  Over time, certain strains of bacteria have morphed into antibiotic resistant “superbugs” – like MRSA, E.coli and the focus of the newest research, H.pylori.

Over the last decade, a growing number of studies, like the latest published July 10 in the journal Carcinogenesis by Dominique Michaud, a professor of epidemiology at Brown University, have suggested a connection between bacterial infections and the development of pancreatic cancer.

Pancreatic cancer is the most deadly form of cancer with a 96% mortality rate – the American Cancer Society estimates that it will be responsible for the death of over 38,000 Americans in 2013 alone.

The Brown University study links two bacterial infections in particular, Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) and Porphyrmononas gingivalis (P. gingivalis), making people infected with these pathogens more prone to developing pancreatic cancer.

While there are several theories that may explain the connection – inflammation, an altered immune system, or the activation of a pancreatic tumor and/or cancer pathways –protecting yourself against these dangerous forms of pathogenic bacteria  is the first step for practical prevention.

H. pylori

In the body, H. pylori is linked most commonly to stomach ulcers and often manages to outsmart the body. The stomach’s natural acid, HCl, kills off most harmful pathogens in the digestive tract. However, H. pylori shields itself with a special enzyme called urease, making it free to proliferate and damage the protective lining of the stomach. As H. pylori increases, the stomach secretes extra acid to attack the invading bacteria which only creates indigestion, heartburn and gastritis. Antacids can tamp down this excess stomach acid, but doesn’t stop H. pylori. In fact, it can even contribute to the growth of even more H. pylori.

Practical prevention
As the most prevalent bacteria in the world, H. pylori is everywhere! One way that you can pick up H. pylori is from the feces of an infected person, making hand washing (really scrubbing between your fingers and under your nails) all the more important. It can also be conveyed in contaminated drinking water and certain foods. Make sure to drink filtered water and always, always eat well-cooked meat, poultry and seafood!

The body’s beneficial bacteria, probiotics, inhabit the digestive tract and help to keep H. pylori under control. Many studies show that taking probiotic bacteria can alleviate H. pylori complications. Make sure to include probiotic-rich foods like plain yogurt in your diet regularly and supplement daily with a good probiotic. My daily probiotic of choice is Flora-Key, which provides 10 billion beneficial bacteria per serving.  It’s safe for children and contains five strains including gas-fighting L. plantarum, acidophilus and bifidus, plus a special prebiotic substance known as FOS to help stimulate the growth of beneficial bacteria to ward off future pathogens.

If you’re experiencing digestive issues, including heartburn and indigestion, testing is key to find the cause. An Expanded GI Panel can evaluate both stool and saliva samples to test for H. pylori and other pathogenic bacteria, parasites, common allergens and intestinal function markers. To order your at-home test kit, visit Expanded GI Panel Information.

P. gingivalis

P. gingivalis is a bacterial infection involved in gum disease and poor dental hygiene. In all of my years of research, I have found that detoxifying “hidden” bacteria in your teeth and gums is absolutely essential to the health of your entire system. The tricky thing about bacteria in your mouth is that many times infection doesn’t show up on standard x-rays. It can be hidden under a crown or in the empty cavity where you had a tooth pulled.

Oil Pulling
One of the best things you can do on a daily basis is oil pulling. A 2007 study in the Journal of Oral Health and Community Dentistry found that oil pulling reduced gingivitis by 52-60% and plaque by 18-30%  – Compare that to mouthwash (15% and 20-26% respectively) and tooth brushing (8-23% and 11-27%)!

Here’s what to do:

  • Put about 2 teaspoons of oil (such as sesame oil or coconut oil) in your mouth.
  • Work the oil around in your mouth for 20 minutes, sloshing it from side to side, sucking and pulling it through your teeth. You can spit it out intermittently but make sure you put more oil back in your mouth to continue the process.
  • Spit it all out and rinse with a large glass of water to remove any oil residues.

According to Dr. Bruce Fife in his book Oil Pulling Therapy, “When you put oil in your mouth, the fatty membranes of the microorganisms are attracted to it. As you swish the oil around your teeth and gums, microbes are picked up as though they are being drawn to a powerful magnet. Bacteria hiding under crevices in the gums and in pores and tubules within the teeth are sucked out of their hiding places and held firmly in the solution. The longer you push and pull the oil through your mouth, the more microbes are pulled free. After twenty minutes, the solution is filled with bacteria, viruses, and other organisms.” This is why it’s so important to spit it out rather than swallow it!

Regardless of potential serious health risks like cancer, digestive wellbeing opens the door to enhanced immunity, soaring personal energy and trouble-free digestion. For more information on cleansing and fortifying your system against superbugs and other gut-wrenching woes, take a look at my book The Gut Flush Plan.

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Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS, is an award-winning New York Times bestselling author of more than thirty books including The Fat Flush Plan series and her latest book, Radical Metabolism. She’s been rewriting the rules of nutrition for more than 40 years and is internationally recognized as a pioneer in the field of diet, detox and women’s health issues. 

For a FREE daily dose of tips and strategies for maintaining healthy weight, conquering insomnia, and much more…check out my Radical Health Tips.

I’d like to meet and greet you on my Facebook groups, so won’t you check us out at the Radical Metabolism RevolutionFat Flush Nation, or my Inner Circle!

1 Comment

  1. Devi

    A relative of mine suffered from stomach ulcers for years and got better right away from antibiotics. He didn’t know about the other ways of healing at the time.


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