Dear Pharmacist: I took the stool test you recommended called “GI Effects” by Metametrix Labs, and it’s positive for high levels of a bacteria called H. Pylori. My doctor is treating me aggressively since it causes ulcers and stomach cancer. I’m so glad you recommended this test, it sheds light on all my symptoms. What natural supplements can help? — S.N., Gainesville, Fla.

Awesome, it’s great to hear good feedback, and that you’ve discovered the underlying cause of your pain. Nothing bugs me more than people getting treated with 17 different antibiotics and long-term acid blockers, which may help temporarily but tend to wreak a lot of havoc in some individuals because of the drug mugging effect and high incidence of intestinal hyperpermeability (termed leaky gut). Most people take a breath test to find H. pylori, you don’t necessarily need a stool test.

Lots of you reading this are infected with Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) and don’t know it because you only associate with ulcers, reflux, bloating, nausea or a deep gnawing pain in your stomach. Oh no, there are many more symptoms, including frequent belching (it’s almost uncontrollable), a change in appetite (usually reduced), unexplained weight loss, joint or muscle pain, chronic fatigue and lots of psychological symptoms. Seriously, the bug best known for causing gastric and duodenal ulcers can also mess with your head. H. pylori can put you in a brain fog where you feel like you can’t figure anything out, make clear decisions or concentrate well. It can even contribute to depression.

Now, what are you going to do since you’ve been diagnosed with H. pylori infection. Follow your physician’s advice, and discuss all my suggestions below. Ask him about the following natural treatments, in no particular order:

-- Mastic gum: Shown in a 2010 Phytomedicine study to eradicate H. pylori, the researchers used 350 milligrams three times daily for 14 days.

--Cranberry juice: Not the sugary beverages, I mean pure cranberry juice (or supplements). You can make your own at home too.

--Probiotics: These supplements don’t eradicate H. pylori but restoring your friendly microflora reduces colonization of bad bacteria. I’d supplement, versus eating yogurt.

--Coconut Oil: This contains “monolaurin,” a natural anti-fungal and anti-microbial; this is a totally harmless approach to help eradicate H. pylori. Include about two teaspoons a day in your diet.

--Broccoli sprouts: They contain “sulforaphane” compounds which repair gastric mucosa even after it’s been damaged by H. pylori. A 2011 study suggests broccoli sprouts helps reduce risk of H. pylori induced gastric cancer. Also, in Cancer Prevention Research 2009, researchers concluded that “Daily intake of sulforaphane-rich broccoli sprouts for two months reduces H. pylori colonization...” There is no correlation with alfalfa sprouts. Health food stores sell broccoli extracts called “I3C” and another version called “DIM.”

--Oregano and garlic: Two spices you should cook with to your hearts content. You can also buy supplements of “Oregano Oil” and “Aged Garlic Extract” if you want a more potent dose.

This information is not intended to diagnose, treat or cure your disease. Suzy Cohen is a registered pharmacist. To ask her a question or to learn more about your health, visit

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