Infection with a particular strain of Helicobacter pylori, a strain of bacteria associated with stomach ulcers, may increase the risk of heart disease. Experts first pinpointed Helicobacter pylori as a probable cause of stomach ulcers about 17 years ago.
Without proper treatment (which usually involves antibiotic therapy), H. pylori infection can trigger a low-grade inflammatory illness which persists for years. Chronic infections like these may place a subtle but steady strain on the body's cardiovascular system. Most recent studies investigating a link between the bacterium and heart disease have looked at a broad range of H. pylori strains, and have produced conflicting results.
Italian researchers sought to discover if infection with one of the most virulent strains of H. pylori (containing the CagA gene) was especially related to incidence of heart disease.
The investigators discovered that "a total of 38 of 88 patients and 15 of 88 controls were infected by CagA-positive Helicobacter pylori (43% versus 17%)." In contrast, they found that CagA-negative strains were clearly not related to (incidence of) ischemic heart disease.
The study authors caution that, at this point, their research cannot prove that CagA-positive H. pylori causes or contributes to heart disease, only that it is associated with an increased incidence of the disease. But they note that other investigators are examining similar associations between heart disease and chronic infections with organisms such as Chlamydia pneumoniae, cytomegalovirus, and the herpes virus.
Circulation May 1998;97
Dr. Mercola's Comment:
I think that this is fascinating that we are finding so many infectious causes of illness. Unfortunately traditional medicine will want to resort to antibiotics to treat this infection when far more effective and safer long term solutions are available.
Please see my comments in the question and answer section regarding H. pylori treatment. Very simply all one needs to do is take good bacteria, drink 12 glasses of pure water per day.
I fully believe that the treatment I have advocated for ulcers will more than likely lower this organism's risk of causing heart disease.