Cabbage Juice Heals Peptic Ulcers

In the 1940s and 1950s, Dr Garnett Cheney from Stanford discovered that having his peptic ulcer patients drink one liter of fresh cabbage juice every day healed their stomach and duodenal ulcers 3-6 times faster than a bland diet alone. Chronic ulcers disappeared in 1-2 weeks depending on their severity. Dr Cheney was of the opinion that peptic ulcers resulted from a deficiency of a nutritional factor he termed Vitamin U, later identified as the amino acid S-methylmethionine. While cabbages are a particularly rich source of Vitamin U, Cheney found that all raw vegetables, and to a lesser extent, fruit, contain Vitamin U. In addition to healing existing ulcers, Dr Cheney found that Vitamin U also prevented the formation of new ulcers.

Why do we get ulcers? Ulcers result from an imbalance in the digestive system between protective and destructive factors. An alkaline bilayer of mucus containing mucin protects the wall of the digestive tract from harsh elements such as stomach acid, infection by bacteria living in the digestive system, NSAIDs, and dietary factors like high salt and alcohol. In modern times, NSAIDs increasingly contribute to ulcer formation by
 inhibiting the mucus-stimulating function of our body's prostaglandins. When the mucus layer is depleted, these harsh elements irritate the epithelial cells lining the digestive tract causing inflammation and enabling deep infection. 

Ulcers are usually treated with proton pump inhibitors or 
H2 blockers to reduce acid production, antibiotics to treat bacterial infections (particularly Helicobacter pylori in the stomach), antacids to neutralize acid, and mucosal protectants such as prostaglandin mimics. Unfortunately, these only provide a temporary solution to the problem. Ulcers return soon after cessation of treatment. Excessive stomach acid is usually not the root problem, nor is H. pylori infection. Most people with ulcers produce a normal amount of stomach acid, and half the world's population has H. pylori yet remain ulcer-free. These facts indicate that while acid and infection contribute to the formation of ulcers, other factors are at play.

Given the findings of Dr Cheney, it's easy to see that eating a balanced diet rich in sources of Vitamin U is beneficial. But how does Vitamin U work? In later studies, it was shown that Vitamin U has three properties that help maintain a healthy gut.

  1. Stimulating the release of mucin into the mucus layer, thereby protecting the walls from acid and bacterial infection (most important).
  2. Reducing inflammation by acting as a precursor to glutathione, the master antioxidant of the human body via its conversion to cysteine.
  3. Coordinating with other nutrients such as methionine, folate, B12, betaine, choline, SAMe and B6 to supply vital methyl groups required for optimal health.

Increasing the Vitamin U content of one's diet in combination with reducing the intake of foods that deplete the protective mucus layer has been shown to improve ulcerative conditions in the digestive system. A diet rich in fresh vegetables, vegetable juice and fruit, and low in salt, alcohol and sugars is a good approach for restoring the mucus bilayer in most patients.



  1. Interesting site--thanks. I first tried cabbage juice for an ulcer back in 2016,and I was amazed at how quickly it took the pain away--3 days. My doctor was equally amazed, and told me no, it couldn't be the cabbage juice, it had to be something else.
    Because of lifelong gastritis and acid reflux, I rely on cabbage juice to keep both at bay. I do take a minimum of medication--in my case, 20 mg of famotidine daily, but I prefer the juice. It doesn't taste too bad, really, although I do mix it with celery and carrot. I've tried Vitamin U in tablet form, for convenience, but it doesn't work as well as fresh juice.

    1. Thanks for your comment. Great feedback on your personal experience using cabbage juice and Vitamin U. I think Cheney reported that juice was more effective than purified Vitamin U. I imagine that a combination of Vitamin U with other nutrients found in juice such as Vitamin C and folate would be more effective than Vitamin U alone, especially in people who are deficient in all three nutrients.

    2. Agreed. I might add that the Vitamin U I had been taking--Gastrazyme, by Biotics Research--features a paltry 10 mg of 'Vitamin U complex' per tablet, amongst other ingredients of unknown benefit. If I understand this article correctly, one capsule of Dr. U's Vitamin U contains the same amount of S-methylmethionine as one liter of cabbage juice, correct? If so, then I would expect it to work better than the other product. The pill is certainly more convenient and practical than making cabbage juice every day.

  2. In another post, I estimated the amount of Vitamin U in one liter of cabbage juice as 42-162 mg ( As one capsule of Dr U's Vitamin U contains 500 mg, it contains at least as much Vitamin U as found in one liter of juice. I expect 500 mg would be more effective than 10 mg as it is closer to amount Cheney used, but I don't know that for a fact. Although Vitamin U is well absorbed, I'm not sure whether taking one 500 mg capsule is the same as taking low doses a few times per day. I agree that a capsule is certainly more convenient than 4 cups of juice, and can even be dispensed a bit at a time if one wishes.