Link Between Thyroid Disease and Helicobacter Pylori

Thyroid Disease and Helicobacter pylori

Many people struggle with stomach ulcers which are caused by bacteria, but did you know about the link between thyroid disease and Helicobacter pylori?

Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) is a bacterial infection occasionally seen in people who have Hashimoto’s or Graves’ autoimmune thyroid disease.  The bacteria infects the pylorus, which is the sphincter located at the base of the stomach to separate it from the upper part of the small intestine.  The bacteria attach themselves (yes, there is more than one!) by poking into the surface of underlying epithelial cells found in the mucous membranes of the stomach and upper intestine.  Once established, the mission of H. pylori is to neutralize stomach acid by releasing an enzyme that produces ammonia to shield itself from stomach acid.  Normal pH of stomach acid is between 1-3 and will kill most pathogens. However, H. pylori is an exception.

Half the world’s population has H. pylori, infection and many are unaware since it may not be causing any obvious symptoms. Unfortunately, the infection can lead to painful gastritis (stomach inflammation), ulcer formation, peptic ulcer, stomach cancer and nutrient deficiencies. One study showed that people infected with the bacteria have a greater chance of getting stomach cancer than those who are not.

H. Pylori Connection to Autoimmune Thyroid Conditions

H. pylori infection is believed to be one of the top stealth infections that affect people with Hashimoto’s and Graves’ disease are more likely to experience.  The bacteria can be an obstacle in your efforts to reduce TPO antibodies and get into remission. Candida, additional stealth infections and other factors may also contribute to the challenge of reducing antibodies against the thyroid.

Autoimmunity in and of itself indicates the immune system is malfunctioning.  An immune system that isn’t working as it should increase the risk and susceptibility for H. pylori.

Likewise, let’s say someone doesn’t have an autoimmune condition but they have H. pylori.  If they also happen to have a genetic propensity for autoimmunity, H. pylori can be a trigger for them in developing a full blown autoimmune disease.

Three key factors must be in place for an autoimmune condition to manifest in the first place:

  1. Genetic propensity
  2. Intestinal permeability (leaky gut syndrome)
  3. A trigger – infection (viral, bacterial, fungal), trauma, stress, toxin, severe nutrient depletions, etc.

There have been cases of Hashimoto’s where people were able to get into remission after they cleared up an underlying H. pylori infection.  I don’t see H. pylori coming back positive in every case – far from it.  But for those who can’t get their TPO antibodies to move downward despite doing everything right, looking deeper into possible cause issues often reveals valuable and much-needed information regarding moving forward with a revised protocol.

How to find out if you have H. pylori infection

I’m not suggesting everyone with autoimmune thyroid disease run out and get tested.  If you’ve been successful at lowering anti-thyroid antibodies testing may not be warranted unless you’re experiencing what you think may be stomach inflammation or an ulcer.   However, if you’re doing everything you have been advised to do and your antibodies are resistant, testing may need to be your next step.

However, as previously noted,  if you’re doing everything you have been advised to do and following all the right protocols applicable to you and your antibodies are resistant, then testing for H. pylori should be your next step.

Testing H. pylori via different methods:  stool, breath and blood samples.

Stool:  The GI Pathogen with H. pylori antigen panel by BioHealth Laboratory is an excellent stool test and also tests for ova & parasites, yeasts, and other toxins.  A test kit will be mailed to you along with return packaging and instructions for your sample.

Breath:  The BreathTek H. pylori Urea Breath Test is a non-invasive, non-radioactive method for detecting urease (urease is the enzyme released by H. pylori that secrete ammonia) associated with an H. pylori infection.  Ulta Lab Test also offers an affordable at-home breath test, and they often offer monthly specials via discount codes.

Blood:  The ImmunoLabs Kit is mailed to you and requires a blood draw. It measures IgG antibodies responsive to H. pylori. The Accutest H. pylori Instant Test Kit is a rapid test for the detection of IgG antibodies to H. pylori.  Results can be observed in 3-7 minutes!

What to do if you test positive for H. pylori

If you test positive for H. pylori, it must be eradicated!   You have the option for conventional therapy, natural treatment methods, or a combination of the two.  You may have reservations about beginning an active antibiotic regimen after dedicating so much time, and effort to balancing gut flora and healing the GI tract overall.  Likewise, you know the little creature needs to be eradicated, and you may have concerns about whether or not the natural approach is going to do the job.  Both scenarios present valid concerns.

Personally, I would consider a natural approach first and antibiotic therapy as a second or even a last resort e.g. if the natural approach wasn’t practical.  There have been studies that have shown success and others that have not.  If I had to opt for antibiotics, I’m confident that I would also get natural treatments on board as a complementary modality. Please be sure to discuss your options with your doctor and determine what’s right for your situation!

A couple of quick points to make:

  1. H. pylori can infect the body anywhere from the mouth to the small intestine
  2. H. pylori can be passed from person to person and from pet to person through saliva.

So, WASH YOUR HANDS and know who you’re kissing 🙂

Natural Treatments to Consider

Mastic gum (Pistacia lentiscus) is a resinous substance from a tree originally native to the island of Chios in Greece and has a long historic use in the Mediterranean and Middle East regions of the world where it has been chewed like gum to help with stomach pain.  Research on mastic proves its antimicrobial abilities, showing it to be effective against H. pylori.

Vitamin C provides anti-H. pylori activity as well as tissue healing.

Cabbage juice along with a diet that drastically reduces sugar has been reported as being useful for stomach ulcers and painful stomach inflammation.

Herbal therapy especially with garlic, thyme, turmeric, and Goldenseal.

Probiotics to help maintain a proper balance of gut flora is crucial.

Conventional Therapy

Modern medicine offers antibiotic treatment for H. pylori.  The protocol usually involves a variety of antibiotics and other drugs that are expensive, and as is the case with medication there will often be side effects such as vomiting, diarrhea, allergic reactions, nausea, and significant disruption of healthy bacteria established in the gut.  Many believe antibiotics are becoming less effective as a result of the general overuse of antibiotics and bacteria mutating making them more resistant to treatment.

Combined Therapy Approach

A combined approach may be the best of both worlds.  If a person does choose the conventional route, they would also want to use a targeted probiotic strain that isn’t eradicated during antibiotic therapy.  This should allow the good bacteria to populate and survive.  Using herbs especially turmeric tea, Goldenseal tea, and garlic and thyme would also be beneficial aren’t contraindicated with antibiotic therapy. Mastic gum has a long history in relieving stomach pain and as an effective agent against H. pylori infection.

GastroMend-HP is a blend of botanical extracts and nutrient complexes with specific antimicrobial and mucosal healing properties.  It helps to provide activity against H. pylori.  The combination of substances it contains is available in a quick-release capsule for action in the stomach and upper intestine providing management of ulcers and stomach inflammation by addressing the eradication of H. pylori and the healing and protection of the mucosal tissue.  It contains Deglycyrrhizinated Licorice (DGL), Mastic gum, Methylmethionine Sulfonium, Zinc Carnosine, and Vitamin C.


I personally started using this product a few months ago.  I had major surgery last year and my GI tract took a major hit from antibiotic use. Until the surgery I had not used antibiotics in thirty years!  Despite replenishing with a variety of probiotic strains, staying on track with diet and avoiding sugar and refined foods, my tummy started to bloat a couple of months after I stopped taking antibiotics (I had been on three different kinds).  I then started experiencing chronic stomach pain months after the surgery and looked like I was four months pregnant.  I started using GastroMend-HP and I cannot tell you how much it has helped!  In addition to Mastic gum it also contains Deglycyrrhizinated Licorice, which as you may already know is helpful for leaky gut.  Methylmethionine Sulfonium contains constituents of cabbage to help aid damage to intestinal mucosa, and Zinc Carnosine protectives the mucosal lining.  Although I’ve always used GI Revive for maintenance, adding GastroMend-HP has been a game-changer for me!


In summary, Hashimoto’s and Graves’ disease patients have a greater susceptibility for becoming infected by the H. pylori bacteria and people with an H. pylori infection have an increased risk of developing Hashimoto’s or Graves’ disease.  In either case, digestive issues pose significant problems.  It’s important to get tested if you suspect H. pylori may be a problem given that stomach cancer and ulcers are risk factors.

The Link Between Thyroid Disease Helicobacter Pylori References

  1. Chemical Composition of the Essential Oil of Mastic Gum and their Antibacterial Activity Against Drug-Resistant Helicobacter pylori. (n.d.). Retrieved January 05, 2017, from
  2. The Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy, 17th (Ed),  Merck Research Laboratories. Whitehouse Station:  New Jersey, 1999, pp. 245-56
  3. Osansky, E. (n.d.). Video: H. Pylori and Autoimmune Thyroid Conditions. Retrieved January 05, 2017, from
  4. Life Enhancement (n.d.). Mastic Kills the Bugs That Cause Gastritis and Ulcers. Retrieved December 29, 2016, from