Helicobacter pylori infection and gastric juice vitamin C levels
H. pylori has recently been recognized as a novel risk factor of gastric cancer, but its precise role in gastric carcinogenesis is as yet unknown. The aim of the present study was to assess the relationship betweenH. pylori infection and vitamin C levels in gastric juice and also to examine whether eradication ofH. pylori could have any impact on these levels. Gastric juice and plasma vitamin C levels were measured in 88 dyspeptic patients who had an upper gastrointestinal endoscopy. In the subgroup ofH. pylori-positive patients, eradication was attempted with triple therapy. This subgroup was studied on two occasions, ie, before and after treatment. There were 58H. pylori-positive and 30 -negative patients. Gastric juice vitamin C levels inH. pylori-positive patients were statistically lower (P<0.001) than the levels in theH. pylori-negative patients. Triple therapy achieved eradication in 45 patients (77.6%) of the 58H. pylori-positive patients. BeforeH. pylori was eradicated in these 45 patients gastric juice vitamin C levels were significantly (P<0.001) lower than those after eradication, the latter being no different than the group of 30H. pylori-negative patients. There was a significant (P<0.001) improvement of gastritis after eradication, which paralleled the elevation of gastric juice vitamin C levels. No difference was noted in plasma vitamin C levels betweenH. pylori-negative and -positive patients or in the latter before and afterH. pylori treatment. In 13 of the 58H. pylori-positive patients where eradication was not successful there was no difference in gastric juice vitamin C levels before and after eradication and the same was observed for the degree of gastritis. It is concluded thatH. pylori-infected patients have lower gastric juice vitamin C levels in comparison toH. pylori-negative patients.H. pylori eradication restores gastric juice vitamin C levels, which may prove potentially important in the prevention of gastric cancer.