Does H. pylori Make You Lose Weight?

You brush your teeth, floss, and take your meds — as recommended by your dentist — and still the pounds keep coming off. Is there something more you need to do to shed those unwanted pounds?

Maybe, maybe not. There’s still some controversy over a link between dental health and weight loss. But one thing is for sure — if you’re not getting healthier, then something is wrong.

Here’s the thing. Everyone’s body is different. Some people may lose more weight when they have an infection, while for others it may not be as easy. One thing is certain — you won’t know unless you try.

H. pylori (Honeybee Piss) And Obesity

Our bodies are home to more than 80 different species of bacteria. Among them is H. pylori. While H. pylori has been known to cause stomachaches and ulcers in some people, it’s most famous role is as a cause of stomach cancer. (1)

The relationship between H. pylori and obesity seems to have been first noted in 1937. Since then, a large body of research has been conducted exploring the connection between the two. (2)

In a 2008 review of the current literature, researchers concluded that existing data indicate that H. pylori infection might be associated with an increase in body mass index (BMI) and, possibly, obesity. (3)

In a study published in 2013, researchers looked at the link between H. pylori and obesity in greater detail. (4)

For their study, the researchers enrolled 6,945 participants, mostly women, over the age of 40. Participants were either from Hungary or the Czech Republic; both countries have strict laws against eating disorders. In these countries it’s uncommon to see people suffering from an eating disorder, especially among women.

Half of the participants were randomly selected to receive a supplement containing 500 mg of garlic per day. (Garlic has been shown in previous studies to kill H. pylori.) The rest of the participants were selected to receive a placebo. Those who received the placebo experienced a modest weight loss, while those who took the garlic supplements lost an average of 3 kg (6.6 pounds).

So, does H. pylori make you lose weight? According to the study findings, it’s possible, but probably not easy. Why? Because H. pylori is present in the digestive tract of nearly everyone. And it’s a tough bug to get rid of. It has a particular growth rate for its species, which suggests that it can multiply rapidly in the human stomach. (5)

When H. pylori multiplies in the stomach, it creates a lot of body heat. This heat is enough to warm the human body and possibly cause weight loss. But it’s also possible for people with healthy stomachs to lose a modest amount of weight simply due to changes in dietary habits and increased physical activity. (6)

A Rising Star: Curcumin

Now, don’t get me wrong. I love a good study. But sometimes the data is just a little too good to be true. Take the story of curcumin for example.

In their study, titled “Curcumin for Body-Wise Nutritional Benefits,” researchers examined the effects of curcumin, a substance found in the root of the plant Curcuma longa, on mice kept at a healthy weight by consuming a high-fat diet. (7)

The scientists started by giving the mice a regular high-fat diet for 12 weeks. Then, for the last four weeks of the experiment, they interspersed the mice’s regular high-fat diet with a diet containing either 0.1% (low dose) or 1% (high dose) of curcumin. (8)

As a result, the mice that were fed the high-dose curcumin experienced significant reductions in both body weight and body fat mass. (9)

Interestingly, the researchers found that the mice that were fed the low-dose curcumin tended to eat more and gain more weight. (10)

Why? It’s possible that the low dose did not provide the mice with enough nutrients to combat their high-fat diet, causing them to gain weight. Or it could be that the increased food intake somehow sensitized the animals to the effects of curcumin. (11)

What’s your take away from all of this? Simply this: never underestimate the power of food. When you eat healthy carbohydrates like whole grains and potatoes, you allow your body to produce the hormone oxytocin, which naturally reduces your appetite. When you eliminate unhealthy foods from your diet, you’ll notice your appetite reduces, and you may even lose weight. (12)

Bottom line: if you want to lose weight, you don’t need to focus on anything else other than cutting out the foods that make you fat. It’s not rocket science.