Role of Helicobacter pylori infection on nutrition and metabolism.World J Gastroenterol 2014; 20(36):12809-17WJ
Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) is a gram-negative pathogen that is widespread all over the world, infecting more than 50% of the world's population. It is etiologically associated with non-atrophic and atrophic gastritis, peptic ulcer and shows a deep association with primary gastric B-cell lymphoma and gastric adenocarcinoma. Recently, the medical research focused on the modification of the gastric environment induced by H. pylori infection, possibly affecting the absorption of nutrients and drugs as well as the production of hormones strongly implicated in the regulation of appetite and growth. Interestingly, the absorption of iron and vitamin B12 is impaired by H. pylori infection, while infected subjects have lower basal and fasting serum levels of ghrelin and higher concentration of leptin compared to controls. Since leptin is an anorexigenic hormone, and ghrelin stimulates powerfully the release of growth hormone in humans, H. pylori infection may finally induce growth retardation if acquired very early in the childhood and in malnourished children. This review is focused on the nutritional effects of H. pylori infection, such as the reduced bioavailability or the malabsorbption of essential nutrients, and of gastrointestinal hormones, as well as on the relationship between H. pylori and the metabolic syndrome.