Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) bacteria causes stomach ulcers and also may increase the risks of some types of cancers while possibly lowering the risks of other cancers. It isn't clear (at least to me) whether killing the H. pylori that might be in your stomach will lower or raise all cause mortality risk. However, a new study finds evidence that H. pylori could contribute to development of insulin-resistant (type 2) diabetes.
NEW YORK, March 14, 2012 – A new study by researchers at NYU Langone Medical Center reveals that the presence of Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) bacteria is associated with elevated levels of glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1c), an important biomarker for blood glucose levels and diabetes. The association was even stronger in obese individuals with a higher Body Mass Index (BMI). The results, which suggest the bacteria may play a role in the development of diabetes in adults, are available online in The Journal of Infectious Diseases.
There have been several studies evaluating the effect of the presence of H. pylori on diabetes outcomes, but this is the first to examine the effect on HbA1c, an important, objective biomarker for long-term blood sugar levels, explained Yu Chen, PhD, MPH, associate professor of epidemiology at NYU School of Medicine, part of NYU Langone Medical Center.
"The prevalence of obesity and diabetes is growing at a rapid rate, so the more we know about what factors impact these conditions, the better chance we have for doing something about it," Dr. Chen said. Looking at the effects of H. pylori on HbA1c, and whether the association differs according to BMI status, provided what could be a key piece of information for future treatment of diabetes, she explained.
Too high blood sugar accelerates aging. So it is worth the effort to avoid the risk of insulin-insensitive diabetes.
Getting tested for H. pylori might be worth the trouble, especially if you had the test done as part of a larger set of tests to check for other risk factors such as bad blood lipid profile and high blood sugar.