When it comes to vitamins, we typically hear about the same ones we need in our lives. They are known as the 13 essential vitamins. They include A, C, D, E, K, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9, and B12. However, one vitamin you may not have heard of is vitamin U.
Vitamins A, D, E, and K are stored in your body’s fatty tissues, and the other 9 are excreted via urine, so they must be regularly replaced. That’s why supplements exist, and why it seems like so many people are pumping themselves with supplements and vitamins — to keep their essential vitamin levels in the right place.
What is vitamin U?
The name “vitamin U” is a bit of a misnomer. It is not in fact a vitamin, but actually a derivative of methionine, an amino acid. It is found most commonly in cabbage, Brussels sprouts, and kale but is also available as a supplement.
How does vitamin U help?
Vitamin U is recognized for its ability to help people who suffer from stomach ulcers. The research on this “vitamin” began in 1952 when Dr. Garnett Cheney discovered it in cabbage juice. He found that drinking a certain amount of cabbage juice a day healed gut ulcers 4-5 times faster than the other existing remedies for ulcers.
Since then, there has been limited research dedicated to vitamin U and the determination of it as a trusted way to cure peptic ulcer issues, both gastral and duodenal.
This type of ulcer is found on the inside of the stomach. They often happen due to a bacterial infection that eats away at the lining of the digestive system that serves as a protector.
This type of ulcer is found on the inside of the upper part of your small intestine, also called the duodenum.
According to the Mayo Clinic, “many people with peptic ulcers don’t even have symptoms.”
If symptoms do occur, they will show up as:
- Vomiting blood (red or black)
- Difficulty breathing
- Faint feeling
- Dark blood in stool
- Changes in appetite
- Unexplained weight loss
“How do ulcers happen?” you may be asking. As stated by the Mayo Clinic, “Peptic ulcers occur when acid in the digestive tract eats away at the inner surface of the stomach or small intestine. The acid can create a painful open sore that may bleed. Your digestive tract is coated with a mucous layer that normally protects against acid. But if the amount of acid is increased or the amount of mucus is decreased, you could develop an ulcer.”
How does one get an ulcer?
There are a few different factors that can contribute to someone getting this issue.
Regularly using pain medicine.
Over time, over-the-counter medications such as aspirin and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory pills can greatly irritate your stomach’s lining. The most common medicine included in this is Advil, Motrin IB, and Aleve.
In your stomach you have a type of bacteria called helicobacter pylori bacteria. It protects your stomach and small intestine lining and most of the time causes no issue. However, for some, this bacteria can cause inflammation and thus, cause an ulcer.
Mixing certain medications with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory pills can increase your chance of getting ulcers. These medications include steroids, low-dose aspirin, anticoagulants, and more. In order to reduce the chances that you suffer from these ulcers, be careful of your pain reliever use. Speak with your doctor to ensure you have the lowest dose and remember to never mix these meds with alcohol. You can also steer clear of infections as much as possible. This can be done by thoroughly cooking all food before you eat it, and washing your hands regularly.
Can vitamin U help with other things?
Many people claim that this vitamin is also is a great aid for digestion and may even have the ability to strengthen your immunity.
Here are some other things vitamin U may do.
Rat studies have been done to determine some of the benefits of vitamin U, and they found that the substance helped to reverse existing liver damage. On top of that, it was shown in another study that vitamin U may help reduce lung damage.
The effect of vitamin U on a variety of things is difficult to determine due to the lack of studies. To officially make claims that vitamin U does things such as aid in gut ulcer healing, improve digestion, strengthen immunity, reverse liver damage, reduce lung damage, and more, many more deep studies need to be done.
The few studies on rats that have been conducted are not enough to determine the efficacy of this “vitamin” as a remedy for several things. While consuming cabbage and Brussels sprouts that contain this “vitamin” won’t do any harm, there is no clear evidence that consuming them will provide the above-mentioned benefits.
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