Scientists Believe Common Stomach Bug Could Cause Alzheimer’s

Scientists Believe Common Stomach Bug Could Cause Alzheimer's
Sick woman with headache sitting under the blanket

( – An estimated 25% of the population has a stomach virus, and new research suggests that this virus may be able to go to the brain and cause Alzheimer’s. The majority of people won’t have any negative effects from the bug. But small intestine or stomach ulcers will affect roughly fifteen percent of the population. Some people may have bloating, gastritis, or even cancer of the stomach.

The stomach’s sticky mucus is home to the bacterium Helicobacter pylori, or H. pylori. Research shows that among those infected with H. pylori, 15% will have symptoms, and 11% will also be at increased risk for Alzheimer’s. Guts UK reports that over 40% of British adults have H. pylori already in their digestive tracts, a condition that most likely began in childhood.

According to recent research, H. pylori may have effects beyond the digestive tract. From 1988 to 2019, a group of researchers from McGill University examined the medical records of more than four million adults aged 50 and over. The most prevalent type of dementia, Alzheimer’s, is 11% more likely to occur among those who had symptoms after an H. pylori infection, according to research reported in the Alzheimer’s & Dementia journal. Patients were 24% more likely to acquire Alzheimer’s between 7 and 10 years after the start of the infection, when the disease risk was greatest.

Researchers were unable to establish a causal relationship between an H. pylori infection and a higher likelihood of Alzheimer’s disease. However, they worried that H. pylori may infect the brain, causing inflammation and cell death there.

The study’s authors postulated an association between Helicobacter pylori and the brain. The McGill group hypothesized that chronic Helicobacter pyloris infection damages the intestines, which in turn affects the absorption of iron and vitamin B12, linking deficits in these nutrients to dementia.

According to a news release from McGill University, the study paves the way for further investigations into the potential benefits of eliminating this bacteria in preventing Alzheimer’s in some individuals.

Copyright 2023,