Exploring alternative treatments for Helicobacter pylori infection

World J Gastroenterol. 2014 Feb 14;20(6):1450-69. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v20.i6.1450.


Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) is a successful pathogen that can persist in the stomach of an infected person for their entire life. It provokes chronic gastric inflammation that leads to the development of serious gastric diseases such as peptic ulcers, gastric cancer and Mucosa associated lymphoid tissue lymphoma. It is known that these ailments can be avoided if the infection by the bacteria can be prevented or eradicated. Currently, numerous antibiotic-based therapies are available. However, these therapies have several inherent problems, including the appearance of resistance to the antibiotics used and associated adverse effects, the risk of re-infection and the high cost of antibiotic therapy. The delay in developing a vaccine to prevent or eradicate the infection has furthered research into new therapeutic approaches. This review summarises the most relevant recent studies on vaccine development and new treatments using natural resources such as plants, probiotics and nutraceuticals. In addition, novel alternatives based on microorganisms, peptides, polysaccharides, and intragastric violet light irradiation are presented. Alternative therapies have not been effective in eradicating the bacteria but have been shown to maintain low bacterial levels. Nevertheless, some of them are useful in preventing the adverse effects of antibiotics, modulating the immune response, gastroprotection, and the general promotion of health. Therefore, those agents can be used as adjuvants of allopathic anti-H. pylori eradication therapy.

Keywords: Helicobacter pylori; Natural products; Nutraceuticals; Probiotics; Treatment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use
  • Brassica
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Complementary Therapies
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Garlic
  • Gastric Mucins / chemistry
  • Helicobacter Infections / therapy*
  • Helicobacter pylori*
  • Honey
  • Humans
  • Phototherapy / methods
  • Phytotherapy / methods
  • Probiotics / therapeutic use*
  • Propolis
  • Tea
  • Wine


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Gastric Mucins
  • Tea
  • Propolis