H. pylori and MGUS

June 28 2007 post. First of all, what is Helicobacter pylori? Medicinenet (http://tinyurl.com/2pfag6) defines it as follows: Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) is a bacterium that causes chronic inflammation of the inner lining of the stomach (gastritis) in humans. This bacterium also is the most common cause of ulcers worldwide. H. pylori infection is most likely acquired by ingesting contaminated food and water and through person to person contact. Some time ago I came across a study on H. pylori and MGUS conducted at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and published in "The American Journal of Gastroenterology" in June of 2002 (http://tinyurl.com/2whd55). The abstract concludes the following (talk about a shocker!): RESULTS: "Sixty-nine patients with MGUS were included in the study. Of these, 57 had undergone evaluation for H. pylori infection for various GI symptoms. Thirty-nine of 57 patients (68.42%) with MGUS also had evidence of H. pylori infection. In 11 of these 39 patients (28.21%), eradication of H. pylori infection with an appropriate regimen led to normalization of the serum protein electrophoresis and resolution of the gammopathy. CONCLUSION: The results of our study give increased credibility to the theory that in a proportion of patients the pathogenesis of MGUS involves chronic antigenic stimulation and H. pylori is implicated. The search for H. pylori infection and an attempt to eradicate the bacterium in positive cases seem to be appropriate in patients diagnosed with MGUS."

Now, before those with MGUS get all excited and start running to the lab to be tested for H. pylori, let me say that a subsequent report by a Mayo Clinic research team, published in the December 2002 issue of the "British Journal of Haematology" (http://tinyurl.com/29gv3f), contradicts those findings. The Mayo researchers found that there was not a significant difference between a group of MGUS patients (93 people) and a control group (98 people) who tested positive for H. pylori. And, after being treated for the H. pylori infection, those with MGUS still had MGUS.

I read a couple of abstracts about individual patients with H. pylori. A German study (http://tinyurl.com/392t9m) published in 2006 examined the case of a patient with dyspepsia associated with H. pylori-related erosive gastritis, in addition to Russell Body formation (an inclusion body found in plasma cells) and MGUS: "Following H. pylori eradication, gastritis and dyspepsia gradually resolved but MGUS persisted for at least 22 months." Does that mean that the patient’s MGUS disappeared after 22 months? Since I didn’t and don’t have access to the full study, I have no idea. And a 2003 Greek study (http://tinyurl.com/2noehq) looks at the case of a patient with a long history of chronic gastritis and gastric ulcers with recurrent gastrointestinal hemorrhage who developed a gastric plasmacytoma. The patient took antibiotics to get rid of the H. pylori, and within three months the plasmacytoma had disappeared. The study, which (again) I was unable to access, looks at a possible causal link between the patient’s infection and plasmacytoma.

Okay, so what happens even if you test positive for this nasty bacterium? If you are a curcumin-taker, apparently you don’t have to worry about it too much. Consider the following: a 2002 study shows that curcumin inhibits the growth of H. pylori: http://tinyurl.com/29fc9r; a 2003 German study (http://tinyurl.com/25scz9) concludes that curcumin, due to inhibition of NF-kappaB activation and cell scattering, should be considered as a potential therapeutic agent effective against pathogenic processes initiated by H. pylori infection.

A more recent Italian study, published in "Helicobacter" in 2007 (http://tinyurl.com/2hw7xg), examined 25 H. pylori-positive patients (twelve men ranging in age from 31 to 76) with functional dyspepsia. The Italian patients were given a dose of curcumin and a few other substances for one week, as follows: curcumin 30 mg b.i.d., bovine lactoferrin 100 mg b.i.d., N-acetylcysteine 600 mg b.i.d., and pantoprazole 20 mg b.i.d. (B.i.d. means twice daily, by the way, from the Latin bis in die). The study concludes: "This novel therapy was not effective for H. pylori eradication. However, despite the bacterium persistence, significant improvement of dyspeptic symptoms and reduction of serologic signs of gastric inflammation were observed after 2 months at the end of the 7-day treatment schedule."

In my opinion, there are a few weaknesses in this study. The length of treatment (7 days) was too short. From the abstract, in fact, it is not clear (at least to me) if the patients continued with the treatment for two months or if they stopped after the first week. Even if the former were the case, though, 60 mg of curcumin a day is such a small quantity that I am not surprised that the novel therapy didn’t work. For the sake of comparison, I am taking 8,000 mg a day! However, what is rather significant is the fact that even after being treated with such a tiny amount of curcumin (plus the few other substances) these infected patients showed significant improvement in a two-month period. There are other curcumin and H. pylori studies, but these should suffice.

I am not taking sides on this issue. I have read only the abstracts of all these studies, plus I am not a scientist, just a researcher (with a Ph.D. in a non-scientific subject) who happens to have SMM. However, I admit that this Helicobacter business intrigued me enough to bring it up in April with my haematologist. And, in order to leave no stone unturned, I requested to be tested for Helicobacter pylori. At least, I will know if I have it or not. I am beyond MGUS by now, but you never know.

Update, March 2008: my H.pylori test (taken February 26, 2008) was negative. Quelle surprise! I should have had this test done in the pre-curcumin era. Oh well!

6 thoughts on “H. pylori and MGUS

  1. Sue

    Hi. I was tested for H. Pylori 6 years ago and had high levels. It has never been treated, even though it causes numerous symptoms. Doctors just avoid making any responses when I address the subject of H. Pylori. I have read that all kinds of illnesses and symptoms are caused by H. Pylori and actually wonder if it can cause Myeloma. When the bone marrow biopsy shows no storage iron, or a patient has anemia, it could certainly be caused by H. Pylori, which absorbs Vitamin C and inhibits absorption of Iron. After treating H. Pylori, it probably takes a long time for the MGUS to disappear unless the MGUS is being caused by other things in addition to H. Pylori. The only thing that I know is that I rarely get any truth from any doctor. I was diagnosed with Smoldeing Myeloma when I had 26 percent plasma cells in a bone marrow biopsy in 2007. My horrible symptoms then and since tell me that I have full-blown Myeloma, but my lab numbers are being shown as not indicating that. My blood was being monitored with the Kappa and Lambda Light Chain serum test, because the Kappa and Lambda Light Chain, Free test shows no elevations. Freelight does not show in my urine or blood, unless my labs are being deliberately altered. The Kappa and Lambda Light Chain test last showed well over 400 Kappa and a Kappa/Lambda ratio of 9.1. It kept rising. Now I cannot even get a doctor to order the correct test. I have an HMO and could be one of the people in the movie/documentary, “Sicko.” I obviously need to write my own book. Thanks for listening.

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  2. Mary T

    I was diagnosed with MGUS last year and am now participating in an NIH study to see who progresses to SMM or MM. I am in a high risk group because I have mgA, it is over 1.5 and my light chains add to my risk factor.

    Since conventional medicine has no way to stop progression, I have been looking at other ways. I see that you take 8000 mg of curcumin daily. Is this the same thing as turmeric? My doctor suggested it last year for inflamation and I have been taking 1000mg daily since then, but my level is raising.

    I have looked at the Gerson cancer therapy and consulted an alternative doctor who tested me and said I am allergic to most foods in all 4 food groups. He also suggested chelation therapy for heavy metal contamination. My primary doctor then tested me and said I show no food allergies or metal contamination.

    Both of these programs seem drastic enough that I hesitate to do this to my body unless there is real evidence that they are successful in fighting cancer, or preventing it.

    Do you know anything about these or other alternative treatments to prevent cancer?

    Thanks,

    Mary T

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  3. Alex.Whiteside

    My wife Kay has been off all meds for three months and her blood has returned to normal-we dont need the bone marrow transplant
    Kay has had H.Pylori( as have I )
    Kay is taking 2 x 4000mgm CURCUMIN+ 2X 1000 mgm Fish Oiland + 3 x cloves of Garlic-Some months back Kay started taking
    16 Apricot pit/day) I had take : We have no side effects and Kays
    results have been fantastic_We thank whoever was responsible:
    I am beginning to feel that viruses and bacteria are responsible for more cancer than we credit-possibly 90% or more ?
    Stay Well Everyone-Alex.Whiteside

    Reply
  4. Anna Baker

    As an occasional alternative to using butter (which of course is the most tasty!) – what about trying coconut butter which has its own therapeutic uses? It is also excellent for moderate fat frying, to which the curcumin could be added for health and flavor. The late bioscientist Dr. Johanna Budwig favored coconut butter over butter for cancer patients.

    Reply

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