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Inhibition of Helicobacter pylori and associated urease by oregano and cranberry phytochemical synergies.

Helicobacter pylori is an important cause for the development of stomach ulcers. Typical for Helicobacter pylori is that it produces the enzyme urease, which converts urea into ammonia, thereby neutralizing the strong acidity of the stomach. Because treatment with antibiotics is complex and not always effective to eliminate Helicobacter pylori treatment with phytochemicals from plants or vegetables could be interesting.

Many phytochemicals found in plants posses anti-microbial properties. Previous studies have shown that Helicobacter pylori can be inhibited by plant extracts and antioxidants. The aim of this in-vitro study was to test the antimicrobial effect of phenolic phytochemicals from cranberry and oregano on Helicobacter pylori and their influence on inhibition of urease and praline dehydrogenase. Different mixtures of phytochemicals from cranberry and oregano were used in the test. This study tried to determine the potential for using phenolic phytochemical extracts to inhibit Helicobacter pylori in a laboratory medium. The antimicrobial effect of the phytochemicals was linked to their ability to interfere with the proline dehydrogenase enzyme, since addition of proline to the medium reduced the antimicrobial effect of the phytochemicals. The phytochemicals also reduced urease production by Helicobacter pylori. The best results were obtained with a mixture of 25 percent oregano and 75 percent cranberry phytochemicals. The mechanism of this reduction in urease production is not clear.

The researchers found that the antimicrobial effects of mixtures were greater in extract mixtures than in individual extracts, meaning that oregano and cranberry phytochemicals work synergistically. This synergy may be explained by the fact that larger phenolic phytochemicals from oregano may operate at membrane level and that the smaller cranberry phytochemicals act inside the cells. This study confirms the general believe that a combination of phytochemicals from different botanical sources may have increased functionality.

Source: Lin YT, Kwon YI, Labbe RG and Shetty K. Inhibition of Helicobacter pylori and associated urease by oregano and cranberry phytochemical synergies. . Applied and Environmental Microbiology. 2005 December;71(12):8558-64

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