Cranberry juice or probiotics clear the stomach of children of a bacterial strain known to cause ulcers and cancer, new research reports.
Results from the multicentred, randomised, double-blind, controlled trial involving 271 children with Helicobacter pylori infection, published in the journal Nutrition, suggest that drinking cranberry juice or taking Lactobacillus johnsonii La1 (La1) may eradicate the bacteria.
"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," wrote lead author Martin Gotteland from the Institute of Nutrition and Food Technology at the University of Chile in Santiago.
H. pylori is the only bacteria that can survive in the acidic environment of the stomach and it is known to cause peptic ulcers and gastritis.
Infection with H. pylori also causes gastritis, and infected persons are said to have a two to six-fold increased risk of developing mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue (MALT) lymphoma, and gastric cancer compared with uninfected counterparts.
Previously, in vitro studies have reported that cranberry juice or probiotics can inhibit the adhesion of many pathogenic bacteria in the mouth, urinary tract, and gastro-intestinal tract.
The new study supports this and strengthens the science by showing that cranberry and probiotics produced meaningful benefits in children.
Gotteland and co-workers recruited the children, aged between six and 16, and randomly assigned them to one of four groups: placebo juice plus heat-killed La1 (control), cranberry juice plus La1 (CB/La1), placebo juice plusLa1 (La1), and cranberry juice plus heat-killed La1 (CB). The cranberry juice (200 ml, Cran Chile) and La1 (80ml, Chamyto, Nestlé Chile SA), or placebo versions were given daily for three weeks.
A significant reduction in H. pylori was observed all three active groups, with the La1, CB, and CB/La1 groups showing eradication rates of 14.9, 16.9, and 22.9 per cent, compared to only 1.5 per cent in the control group.
While the combined approach (CB/La1) did produce higher levels of eradication, the researchers stated that this was not statistically significant from administration of only cranberry or the active probiotic.
"The hypothesis that cranberry juice and La1 might act against H. pylori in an additive or synergic manner was supported by the fact that the molecules implicated in the inhibition of H. pylori, proanthocyanidins and bacteriocins, respectively, differ in their chemical structure and probably also in their mechanisms of action," wrote Gotteland.
"Synergy against H. pylori, for example, has been observed using cranberry and oregano extracts. However, no synergic effects were observed in our study."
Last year researchers from Tel Aviv University reported that cranberry juice may enhance the power of antibiotics to clear the stomach of women of H. pylori.
Results from the randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial involving 177 patients with Helicobacter pylori infection, published in the journal Molecular Nutrition & Food Research, suggested that drinking cranberry juice during and after a weeklong antibiotic course enhances the eradication of the bacteria by about 10 per cent.
However, no beneficial effect was observed in men.
Source: Nutrition (Elsevier)
May 2008, Volume 24, Issue 5, Pages 421-426
"Modulation of Helicobacter pylori colonization with cranberry juice and Lactobacillus johnsonii La1 in children"
Authors: Martin Gotteland, M. Andrews, M. Toledo, L. Munoz, P. Caceres, A. Anziani, E. Wittig, H. Speisky, G. Salazar