Approximately 50% of the world's population is infected with Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori). This infection is caused by a gram negative bacterium which infects the stomach and the first part of the small intestines.(1)
One standard treatment protocol is the administration of antibiotics: Amoxicillin and Metronidazole, such Flagyl,a protom-pump inhibitor: Omeprazole, such as Prilosec, which blocks the secretion of stomach acids, and bismuth.
An article, "The Efficiency of Helicobacter pylori Eradication Regimen With and Without Vitamin C Supplementation" appeared in the September 2009 issue of Digestive and Liver Disease. It was a report of the clinical trial conducted by H. Zojaji, MD, and his research team at the Taleghan Research Center of Gastroenterology and Liver Disease, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences in Tehran, Iran. Vitamin C in gastric juice and in vitro (in test tubes) has been shown to inhibit the growth of H. pylori. The purpose of the study by Zojaji et al was to investigate the effect of the addition of Vitamin C to the eradication protocol on H. pylori eradication rate. (2)
The clinical trial was conducted on 312 patients who were diagnosed with H. pylori and had been referred to the Taleghan Research Center. The patients were randomly divided into two groups. There were 162 subjects in Group A. This group of patients received Amoxicillin 1 gram and Metronidazole 500 mg twice a day, Bismuth 240 mg twice a day, and Omeprazole 40 mg four times a day, in two divided doses. There were 150 patients in Group B who received the same treatment but with the addition of 500 mg Vitamin C per day. All of the patients received pharmacological therapy for two weeks. Four weeks later, all of the patients were given a urea breath test. (2)
A total of 140 individuals in Group A and 141 individuals in Group B completed the study. On analysis, 48.8% of the patients in Group A responded to the treatment and had a negative urea breath test result. However, 78% of the patients in Group B responded to the treatment and had a negative urea breath result.
"We recommend further prospective clinical trials to confirm the results of our study. Because of the safety of the supplement and its ease of administration and availability, Vitamin C could be added to H. pylori eradication regimens", concluded Dr. H. Zojaji. (2)
(2) Digestive and Liver Disease Volume 41, Issue 9, September 2009
Maryann Gromisch is a registered nurse with clinical experience in medical and surgical nursing, critical care, and gastroenterology.