The ‘superhero’ vitamin of stomach ailments

If you’ve been interested in natural health for a while you’ve probably heard everything under the sun about vitamin A through vitamin K.

Vitamin A gives you healthy eyes, hair and skin. B-vitamins keep your nervous system healthy. Vitamin C boosts your immune system, and vitamin D does pretty much everything.

But there is one vitamin that you’ve probably never heard of — even though it could relieve some very common ailments just as well — and more safely — than the currently prescribed therapies…

About 15 million Americans take Nexium, Prilosec and Prevacid to relieve acid indigestion. If you’re one of them, these proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) are putting your health at great risk. Studies have linked PPIs to increased danger of heart disease, chronic kidney disease and most recently, dementia.

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That’s an awful lot of risk for a problem that a simple vitamin could fix… like our superhero, vitamin U.

Vitamin U can heal peptic and skin ulcers, prevent acid reflux, relieve the symptoms of colitis and IBS, boost your immune system and provide relief from allergies.

You’ve probably never heard of it because it isn’t actually a vitamin… at least not in the traditional sense. Vitamin U is actually an enzyme known as s-methylmethionine. You can buy it in supplement form or you can eat it in foods like cabbage, alfalfa sprouts, spinach, kale, tomatoes, celery, turnips, radishes and parsley.

Vitamin U is best known for its ability to treat peptic ulcers — a reputation that can be traced back to the notorious cabbage juice experiments of the 1950s…

Dr. Garnett Cheney, who was a professor of medicine at Stanford University School of Medicine in the 1950s, performed experiments in which people with gastric and duodenal ulcers drank a quart of cabbage juice per day. Miraculously, after two to five days of downing cabbage juice, 95 percent of participants experienced relief from their painful ulcer symptoms. The cabbage juice caused their ulcers to heal much more rapidly as well.

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Cheney also tested the power of vitamin U for peptic ulcer prevention, again with successful results. Cheney found that when guinea pigs consumed cabbage juice, they were basically immune to peptic ulcers. In fact, Cheney intentionally tried to give the guinea pigs peptic ulcers to no avail. The cabbage juice essentially shielded their stomach from harm.

After the success of his experiments, Cheney identified the component in cabbage juice that was having this healing effect, and he named it vitamin U…with the “u” standing for ulcer.

In addition to peptic ulcers, numerous digestive disorders can be relieved with a bit of vitamin U, including acid reflux, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis and irritable bowel syndrome. That’s because vitamin U has been shown to have a protective effect on the mucous membrane that lines and protects your stomach.

That lining also protects your stomach from outside invaders like bacteria and viruses — so keeping it healthy and intact keeps you healthy too.

If you want to experience the protective benefits of vitamin U for yourself, juice a cabbage. It’s one of best things you can do to repair the lining of your digestive track if you have a peptic ulcer. Even if you just deal with the occasional case of acid reflux or indigestion, vitamin U is truly the vitamin for you.

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Jenny Smiechowski

By Jenny Smiechowski

Jenny Smiechowski is a Chicago-based freelance writer who specializes in health, nutrition and the environment. Her work has appeared in online and print publications like Chicagoland Gardening magazine, Organic Lifestyle Magazine, BetterLife Magazine,, and