Mastic gum is a tree resin obtained from the Pistacia lentiscus tree, which is grown on the island of Chios in Greece. Of all the natural products used to treat H pylori, mastic gum is probably the best known.
Several studies support the contention that mastic gum has an anti-bacterial action against H pylori. However these studies are often performed in vitro, which means in a test tube or petri dish, not inside the human stomach. We must always acknowledge that these studies do not necessarily represent exactly what happens in the stomach and intestines!
When I had H pylori, the natural treatment protocol I originally learned in my functional medicine training involved the use of mastic gum for 60-days at a relatively high dose (4-6 capsules per day).
This treatment method works very well for many people as long as the dosage guidelines and program duration are followed accurately. All too often, people do not take large enough doses and they often believe that just a few days of taking mastic gum is enough. This is not the case.
However this method of H pylori treatment did not work for me. Instead, I used Matula Herbal Formula for 30-days and this program resolved all my symptoms very quickly.
But don’t let that put you off using the gum as H pylori treatment because it DOES work for many people. Despite my poor reaction to the mastic gum program, there is quite a large body of research demonstrating its efficacy against H pylori and mastic gum has been shown to kill H pylori in vitro.
As well as taking mastic gum at a high enough dose to be effective and for a long enough duration, it is also important to choose products that contain only the highest quality mastic gum.
One of the biggest problems with the natural supplement market is that there are many different versions of the same products, with each company claiming that their product is best. So which one do you choose?
I recommend that you DO NOT go for the cheapest products, no matter how attractive it may be. Generally, you get what you pay for.
The cheaper supplements are generally of significantly lower quality and this can actually cause you to spend MORE money in the long run. It may also take you a lot longer to deal with your symptoms. Don’t waste energy, time and money on cheap supplements. It won’t serve you in the long run.
The mastic gum products we recommend in our practice are Gastromend-HP by Designs For Health and Mastika by Allergy Research Group. These are available from distributors in North America and the UK.
In our experience, you can make mastic – and all other natural treatments – more effective by changing your diet. Avoidance of key foods like milk, gluten and soy can reduce stomach and intestinal inflammation. This allows the natural products to work more effectively against H pylori.
As with everything that you put in your mouth, mastic gum has the potential to cause a reaction.
Just as foods like gluten, milk, lactose and a whole host of other foods can cause problems in individuals as well. I’m sure you heard of people who had serious reactions to seemingly harmless foods like peanuts, crab and strawberries?
We also know that medical drugs – including antibiotics and antacids – can cause side effects for some people as well. Just because mastic gum is a ‘natural’ product, it doesn’t mean that it will not cause problems for some people.
Unfortunately we don’t have a crystal ball to predict what will happen, so the only way to know whether mastic gum or any other product suits you is to try it.
If you feel any adverse effects whatsoever, stop taking the product and seek professional guidance on alternatives.