It is well established that diet plays a crucial role in stomach cancer and citrus fruits juices such as oranges, lemons, grapefruits and limes have been associated with a lower risk of stomach cancer and treatment of a number of infectious diseases such as Helicobacter pylori infection.
It is known that Helicobacter pylori infection is associated with chronic gastritis, peptic ulcer, and stomach cancers. Therefore, a number of studies have focused on the potential of Citrus fruits and their derivatives against H. pylori under laboratory conditions.
Due to the increased side effects of the conventional medication and the development of antimicrobial resistance, a number of natural compounds have been tested as potential alternatives for the treatment of H. pylori infection.
Approximately 50per cent of the world population is infected with H. pylori, with prevalence rates ranging from 20per cent to more than 80per cent in certain countries. Although the route of transmission of H. pylori remains unclear, the faecal-oral route represents an important pathway for its spread.
Now, a recent investigation reported the potential use of bergamot juice against H. pylori and the potential therapeutic combination between bergamot juice and three antibiotics (amoxicillin, clarithromycin and metronidazole).
Bergamot juice was effective against H. pylori strains, both alone or in combination with antibiotics, and could, therefore, be used as a novel strategy for the treatment of antibiotic resistance.
The current treatment for H. pylori uses a combination of antibiotics and antiacid agents to kill the infection while reducing the acid in the stomach. Nevertheless, due to increasing antibiotic resistance, eradication rates were reduced to between 70 and 80 per cent over the last few years.
Citrus bergamia, also called bergamot, is a less known fruit tree mainly growing in the southern coast of Calabria region (Italy). It is considered as a hybrid between sour orange and lime or between sour orange and lemon. Over the years, bergamot juice has gained attention from the scientific community due to its potential health effects.
For the study, the research at Italy tested the effect of bergamot juice against two references American Type Culture Collection strains of H. pylori (ATCC 43504 and ATCC 49503) and 32 other H. pylori recovered from individuals who suffer from indigestion undergoing digestive endoscopy.
The 2017 study entitled “Effectiveness of Citrus Fruits on Helicobacter pylori.” was published in the journal, Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine.
The 2.5per cent concentration of bergamot juice inhibited the growth of the H. pylori recovered from individuals who suffer from indigestion by 50per cent, while 5per cent of bergamot juice reduced H. pylori viability to 90per cent.
Furthermore, the concentration-dependent killing was observed with bergamot juice against all the tested strains. But bergamot juice gave less killing against H. Pylori with increased antibiotic resistance compared to the non-resistant ones.
They concluded that either alone or in combination with antibiotics, they could represent useful sources to help eradicate H. pylori and avoid gastric ulcer relapse.
Although exactly how bergamot juice boosts the action of antibiotics in killing H. Pylori is not known, they suggested that the synergistic effect may be due to the initial damage of the outer wall of the H. Pylori by the plant compound, which would increase the permeability of the bacteria to the antibiotic.
Even though citrus fruits and their bioactive compounds could represent appropriate sources for the development of novel effective compounds against H. pylori, they suggested that additional tests on its toxicity still need to be done.
Several studies have highlighted the health-promoting properties of Citrus fruits. Citrus fruit juices could be useful for the prevention of kidney stone formation, whereas grapefruits have been proven to lower blood pressure and interfere with calcium channel blockers.
Moreover, different citrus fruits such as mandarins, oranges, grapefruits and lemons have been shown to fight H. pylori by multiple studies. For instance, research by Jagiellonian University has suggested that grapefruit extract can help to heal stomach ulcers.
The Polish researchers used an extract of the fruit’s seed to reduce the size of stomach ulcers in rats. They found the extract had strong antibacterial and antioxidant properties, which calm the gastric tract and aid the healing process. The findings were presented in Chicago at the Digestive Disease Week 2005 conference.
The research suggests that the antioxidant properties found in grapefruit and the ability of this fruit extract to limit oxidative stress in the mucus layer of the stomach have therapeutic properties that, when combined with additional therapies, can be especially beneficial for healing of gastric ulcers.
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