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Moderate alcohol consumption has been suggested to facilitate the elimination of Helicobacter pylori infection as the result of its antibacterial effect. Recent research by Lei Gao and colleagues aimed to assess the associations of current and lifetime alcohol consumption as well as serum gamma-glutamyltransferase (GGT), an established biomarker of alcohol consumption, with H. pylori infection in a large population-based study.

In the baseline examination of the ESTHER study, serological measurements of antibodies against H. pyloriand GGT measurements were taken in 9733 subjects ages 50 to 74 years. Information on lifestyle factors and medical history were obtained by self-administered standardised questionnaire.

A significant inverse association, in dose-response manner, was observed between both current and lifetime alcohol consumption and H. pylori seropositivity. The estimates based on lifetime consumption were more pronounced than the results for current consumption, and such inverse associations were found both for men and women. Stronger relations were observed for those who only drank wine or mixed drinkers compare with those who only drank beer. Furthermore, there was a significant inverse dose-response relationship between serum GGT levels and H. pylori seropositivity, which was selectively observed among alcohol drinkers.

The authors conclude that their results support the hypothesis that moderate alcohol consumption may facilitate elimination of H. pylori.

Source: Alcohol Consumption, Serum Gamma-Glutamyltransferase, and Helicobacter Pylori Infection in a Population-Based Study Among 9733 Older Adults. Lei Gao, Ph D, Melanie N. Weck, PhD, Christa Stegmaier, PhD, Dietrich Rothenbacher, MD, Hermann Brenner, Annals of Epidemiology. Volume 20, Issue 2, Pages 122-128 (February 2010)

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