I came across this article about the safety of bismuth, or otherwise known as Peptobismol. We’ve known about this medicine as a remedy for stomach aches or gas. But we may not have realized that it also has antibacterial properties in treating Helicobactor Pylori (H. Pylori).
H. Pylori is a bacteria believed to be one of the main causes (90-100%) of duodenal ulcers, residing in the first part of the small intestines. It also is a cause of 70-80% of gastric ulcers of the stomach. It’s estimated that about half the population have this bacteria. It can cause chronic inflammation and irritation in the stomach wall. Up to 15% of those infected with H. Pylori develop peptic ulcers. If left untreated, it can raise ones risk of stomach cancer.
There are several factors that can raise ones risk for ulcer. These are:
NSAIDS (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories) such as Advil (Ibuprofen), Celebrex, Naproxen, or Bextra are a few examples. One hundred million prescriptions are written in the U.S., and over 16,000 people die each year due to NSAID-related gastrointestinal side-effects.
Irritating beverages such as alcohol, coffee and tea can prevent healing. Smoking, emotional stress, and food allergies can increase stomach acid production.
There are many options for treating and preventing ulcers other than triple antibiotic therapy. They include:
Licorice/DGL- Licorice soothes and protects the mucous membrane lining of the digestive tract. Licorice root in its deglycyrrhizinated form (DGL) has the glycyrrhizic acid removed, which is the portion associated with high blood pressure and fluid retention. DGL has been shown to be as effective as the popular over the counter ulcer drug, Tagamet. Licorice also contains flavonoids that are believed to inhibit the growth of H. Pylori. The chewable form is the most effective (350-500mg total) taken 15-20 minutes before meals. Chew it thoroughly and take as little water as possible since direct contact with the intestinal lining is what heals the gut. The peak effectiveness can be seen in 8-16 weeks.
Mastic Gum- This is a resin from an evergreen tree found in Greece, Turkey, Italy and the surrounding areas. It has been shown to help balance stomach acid levels and destroys H. Pylori (at least in a test tube). One double blind clinical trial showed significant improvement in duodenal ulcer sufferers who took 1 gram of mastic gum for 2 weeks compared to placebo users. I have seen it work very well for heartburn, nausea and ulcers.
Peptobismol- I recommend one dose (about 500mg) twice daily for its anti-H. pylori effects.
Glutamine- This is an amino acid that studies have confirmed complete healing and relief of ulcers. Cabbage juice is rich in glutamine and has a long history of healing ulcers. Either 1 quart a day for 10-14 days or 1.6 grams of a supplement form (empty stomach) daily for 2-4 weeks has significant results.
Other ulcer fighting foods include olive oil, broccoli sprouts, cranberry and cod liver oil.
If you have symptoms of heartburn, dull ache in the upper abdomen, bloating, belching or nausea, talk to your practitioner about getting tested for H. Pylori. There are many alternative options for treatment.
Bismuth compounds have been used for centuries in medicine. The discovery of H. pylori in 1983 led to renewed interest in bismuth compounds, because these were found to successfully treat the infection in combination with antibiotics. However, in the 1970s bismuth salts, used at high doses for prolonged periods, were found to lead to neurotoxicity….