Objective: Probiotics and cranberry have been shown to inhibit Helicobacter pylori in vitro owing to bacteriocin production and high levels of proanthocyanidins, respectively. These effects have been confirmed in clinical trials with H. pylori-positive subjects. The aim of this study was to evaluate whether regular intake of cranberry juice and the probiotic Lactobacillus johnsonii La1 (La1) may result in an additive or synergistic inhibition of H. pylori in colonized children.
Methods: A multicentric, randomized, controlled, double-blind trial was carried out in 295 asymptomatic children (6-16 y of age) who tested positive for H. pylori by (13)C-urea breath test (UBT). Subjects were allocated in four groups: cranberry juice/La1 (CB/La1), placebo juice/La1 (La1), cranberry juice/heat-killed La1 (CB), and placebo juice/heat-killed La1 (control). Cranberry juice (200 mL) and La1 product (80 mL) were given daily for 3 wk, after which a second UBT was carried out. A third UBT was done after a 1-mo washout in those children who tested negative in the second UBT.
Results: Two hundred seventy-one children completed the treatment period (dropout 8.1%). Helicobacter pylori eradication rates significantly differed in the four groups: 1.5% in the control group compared with 14.9%, 16.9%, and 22.9% in the La1, CB, and CB/La1 groups, respectively (P < 0.01); the latter group showed a slight but not significant increase when compared with the other treated groups. The third UBT was carried out only in 19 of the 38 children who tested negative in the second UBT and H. pylori was detected in 80% of them.
Conclusion: These results suggest that regular intake of cranberry juice or La1 may be useful in the management of asymptomatic children colonized by H. pylori; however, no synergistic inhibitory effects on H. pylori colonization were observed when both foodstuffs were simultaneously consumed.