Inverse graded relation between alcohol consumption and active infection with Helicobacter pylori.Am J Epidemiol 1999; 149(6):571-6AJ
Alcoholic beverages are known to have strong antibacterial activity. It is unclear, however, to what degree their consumption affects colonization of the human stomach with the bacterium Helicobacter pylori, a risk factor of various chronic diseases. The authors assessed the relation between alcohol consumption and active infection with H. pylori in a cross-sectional study among employees of a health insurance company and their household members (n = 425) in southern Germany. Quantitative information on alcohol consumption by beverage type and other factors that were known or suspected to be related to infection status was collected by a standardized questionnaire, and active infection was measured by the 13C-urea breath test. After control for confounding factors, there was a monotonic inverse graded relation between alcohol consumption and H. pylori infection (p for trend = 0.017). The odds ratio of infection among subjects who consumed more than 75 g of alcohol per week compared with subjects who did not drink alcohol was 0.31 (95 percent confidence interval 0.12-0.81). The inverse relation with H. pylori infection was stronger for alcohol consumed in the form of wine than for alcohol from beer. Notwithstanding its cross-sectional design, this study seems to support the hypothesis that alcohol consumption, particularly wine consumption, may reduce the odds of active infection with H. pylori.