May 12, 2013

Low Iron: H.pylori, Lactoferrin and Low Stomach Acid

In my sleuthing to try to discover why my iron levels have been rising so poorly in the past year, despite dosing by patient-proven methods, I have pieced together some valuable information.   
  1. H.pylori causes low stomach acid (also, this).
  2. H.pylori impairs iron absorption in infected individuals. 
  3. Low lactoferrin levels can contribute to low iron levels. 
  4. There is some evidence that bovine lactoferrin supplements can help eradicate H.pylori
Low stomach acid is frequently discussed on the Stop the Thyroid Madness patient to patient discussion groups, since many hypothyroid patients struggle with low stomach acid and therefore struggle to raise low iron levels.  Janie writes about low stomach acid here.

These pieces to my own low iron puzzle make sense, especially in light of the fact that my ferritin levels more than doubled after just 5 weeks of taking my iron supplements with not just Vitamin C but also ACV, prompted by Janie!  

Also, there is evidence that H.pylori can cause or at least contribute to intestinal permeability, increasing inflammation and food sensitivity/allergies. 

The previously linked article lists the following options for eradicating H.pylori:
  • Clove
  • Berberine
  • Licorice (note that this herb can lower potassium levels and can raise blood pressure)
  • Wild Indigo
  • Slippery Elm
  • Myrrh
  • Barberry
  • Oregon Grape
  • Bismuth Citrate
  • Bentonite Clay
Caroline Lunger's blog post on My Gutsy, which I highly recommend for information on H.pylori, also contains an extensive list of possible methods for eradicating H.pylori, some of which include:
  • Herbs, such as: triphala, cats claw, ginger, thyme, oregano oil, golden seal, turmeric,
  • Baking Soda
  • Mastic gum
  • Vitamin C
  • Coconut Oil, olive oil
  • Manuka honey
  • Garlic and cruciferous vegetables (although the latter should be used in moderation by those with hypothyroidism, and both avoided by those who have a sulfur detox pathway problem called CBS)

Testing for H.pylori

In Caroline Lunger's blog post, she lists this lab test as well as a link for why it is the most reliable one.  It runs $110.  Other than Maryland or New York state residents, US residents can order it without a doctor. 

There is also the MetaMetrix GI Effects Stool Test which tests for not only H.Pylori, but also opportunistic and pathogenic bacteria, yeast/fungi, parasites, inflammation, digestion, absorption, gluten-intolerance, short chain fatty acids, adiposity, and drug resistant genes (which is useful if you need to treat the above).  This test has to be ordered by a doctor.

The MetaMetrix test costs $99 upfront.  My understanding based on my experience is that IF you have insurance that covers in part, Genova (whom MetaMetrix is under) knocks off the $99 you sent in with the samples, then they bill your insurance with the information you submitted with your samples.  But, for insurance purposes they "have" to send you an additional bill for almost $500 more.  According to my doctor's office, they send this bill twice, then drop the additional fees, as long as you have insurance covering in part. 

Honestly, I think they are banking on the fact that some people are going to send in that extra $500 without asking.  I have friends on the patient-to-patient groups who have done this.