New Delhi, Feb 10 (PTI) Eating a diet rich in walnuts may help protect against negative outcomes associated with Helicobacter pylori infection, a widespread bacterial infection that affects more than half of the world's population, a study conducted in mice suggests.
H. pylori infection is a major cause of ulcers in the stomach and small intestine as well as stomach cancer and peptic ulcer disease.
The research, published in the Journal of Clinical Biochemistry and Nutrition, found that extracts from whole walnuts may help create protective proteins and anti-inflammatory actions in the gut that may safeguard against H. pylori infection and resulting cancer in mice.
The researchers from the CHA Cancer Prevention Research Center in South Korea noted that prevalence of H. pylori is most common in developing countries.
It is generally related to socioeconomic status and hygienic conditions and is thought to be spread through person to person contact or even through food and water, they said.
While treatments are currently available, there are concerns about the bacteria's growing resistance to antibiotics, according to the resaerchers.
Due to increasing challenges associated with antibiotic resistance, researchers have been investigating dietary and other non-bacterial approaches to improve impact from H. pylori infection.
The researchers said this is not the first time walnuts have been linked to a lower risk of gastrointestinal cancer development in mice.
Previously, a study published in the journal Cancer Prevention Research found that walnuts in the diet may suppress colon tumour development by modifying gut bacteria.
Another study in the journal Nutrients found that walnuts in diet may also supress the progression of colorectal cancer by suppressing angiogenesis, the development of new blood vessels which facilitates the growth of cancer cells.
Animal studies are valuable for providing background information and can be used as a basis for future research in humans, the researchers noted.
Based on the existing body of evidence, dietary approaches to reduce symptoms of H. pylori infection, such as inflammation, seem worthwhile to pursue in a well-designed clinical trial to confirm the findings, they added. PTI SAR SAR