- Crusty food like bread or toast
- Crispy food like chips
- Salty food like pretzels
- Sweet food like candy
- Sticky food like cookies
- Sour food like vinegar
- Hot food like coffee
Disclaimer - While Vitamin U has been shown to have value as a nutrient, it has not been approved by the FDA as a treatment for any disease. Talk to your doctor or dietitian about your medical condition.
Mouth ulcers and Vitamin U
Vitamin U complements H2 blockers
Image - http://www.vivo.colostate.edu/hbooks/pathphys/digestion/stomach/parietal.html
Summary - H2 blockers are drugs used to reduce stomach acid in people who have pain due to stomach ulcers. Vitamin U in the form of fresh vegetable juice or supplements can be used alongside H2 blockers to speed up the restoration of the protective mucous bilayer.
The human stomach is a very acidic environment. The pH of a correctly-functioning stomach is 1.5 - 3. The acidity of gastric juice is due to hydrochloric acid (HCl), which is produced by parietal cells in the upper parts of the stomach (fundus and cardia). Parietal cells produce acid using enzymes called proton pumps (H+/K+ ATPase), which use the energy derived from the hydrolysis of ATP to pump H+ into the stomach. It is the protons (H+) that cause acidity.
The parietal cells pump acid into the stomach in response to signal molecules binding receptors. There are numerous kinds of receptors that respond to different stimuli, either positively or negatively. The most important for acid production are the H2 histamine receptors. Protein in food is broken down in the stomach by acid and the enzyme pepsin to form peptides. These peptides stimulate the release of the hormone gastrin from G cells in the stomach and duodenum. Gastrin stimulates the release of histamine from ECL cells. Histamine binds receptors in the base of parietal cells where it stimulates the movement of proton pumps to the apical surface, where they pump acid into the stomach cavity (lumen). This acid accelerates this whole cycle, breaking down more proteins in food by hydrolysis as well as activating pepsin.
H2 blockers bind to the H2 receptors, which stops histamine from binding. If histamine can't bind, the levels of acid in the stomach remain fairly low and the corresponding pH relatively high. (H2 blockers are often referred to as H2 antagonists because they block the binding of histamine without itself stimulating the function of the receptor, an important distinction from agonists).
H2 blockers were invented in the 1960s and have to a large extent been superseded by proton pump inhibitors due to the latter's more potent acid-suppressing abilities. Commonly used H2 blockers include famotidine (Pepcid) and cimetidine (Tagamet). Ranitidine (Zantac) was the most prescribed drug in the US during the 1980s, but the FDA has recently banned its sale due to carcinogenic impurities.
Stomach ulcers and gastroesophageal reflux (GERD) are conditions characterized by pain caused by stomach acid coming into direct contact with the lining of the stomach and esophagus, respectively. Contrary to popular opinion, these conditions are rarely caused by excessive production of stomach acid. In fact, the acidity in the stomach of those with stomach ulcers is typically low (i.e. relatively high pH). GERD is caused by normal stomach acid coming into contact with the esophagus, an organ that is not designed to withstand such exposure. Unlike the stomach, the esophagus is not coated with a protective alkaline mucous bilayer and is very sensitive to contact from even small amounts of gastric juice.
One unfortunate problem with taking H2 blockers for stomach ulcers is that they reduce the secretion of mucin (Ichikawa et al., Diebel et al). So while they reduce pain by reducing the amount of acid produced, they also increase the risk of pain by weakening the mucous bilayer.
Vitamin U is a nutrient abundant in vegetables and fruit that stimulates the secretion of mucin in the stomach. As fresh vegetables and fruit have been a major component of our diet for a very long time, it is reasonable to conclude that dietary Vitamin U plays an important role in the maintenance of optimal stomach function.
Can Vitamin U be combined with H2 blockers?
Considering Vitamin U stimulates mucin secretion and H2 blocker reduce it, one may wonder whether Vitamin U can be taken with H2 blockers to negate the negative effects. The evidence suggests yes. In 2009, Ichikawa et al. showed that co-administration of Vitamin U with famotidine reversed the mucin-blocking effects of famotidine without affecting the acid-suppression effects. These results suggest that Vitamin U can add another level of protection to the gut in those taking H2 blockers.
Take care and good luck,
Vitamin U may help combat the ulcergenic effects of NSAIDs
Vitamin U and acne, dandruff and eczema
Acne, dandruff and eczema are skin conditions the origins of which are often idiosyncratic and mysterious. However, one characteristic shared by all three conditions is low glutathione levels. Glutathione is by far the most important antioxidant in the human body, yet we absorb little of it from our food- that's why our body makes it.
There are three main causes of low glutathione -
1. A medical condition that drains large amounts of glutathione
2. A genetic block that prevents the biosynthesis or regeneration of glutathione
3. Not enough glutathione precursors in our diet
Identifying the root cause of your skin condition is an important first step in the healing process. However, this is easier said than done. Often we just don't know why these conditions happen. Sometimes they can break out suddenly and worsen quickly, particularly under stress. At other times, symptoms can persist chronically for years.
Irrespective of the root cause, restoring your glutathione levels is a vital part of this rebalancing act. Glutathione is a tripeptide comprised of cysteine, glutamate and glycine. Of these amino acids, cysteine is most commonly in short supply. If glutathione levels are low due to dietary factors, it is usually due to a shortage of cysteine. Cysteine is found in protein, especially that derived from animals. Cysteine is also made from methionine, again abundant in animal proteins. These sulfur amino acids are also plentiful in grain proteins. However, some people find that meat/dairy/grain are inflammatory for other reasons like hormones or allergens.
Vitamin U is S-methylmethionine, a soluble nutrient abundant in vegetables and fruit that is converted into methionine by the enzyme BHMT2. There have not been any direct studies into whether Vitamin U has any effect on these three conditions, whether taken internally in the diet or as a supplement, or when applied topically as an active component of a lotion. However, taking Vitamin U can help restore glutathione levels which are low in the tissues affected by acne, dandruff and eczema, so it is quite likely that increasing your intake of Vitamin U will help with these conditions, especially in combination with the identification and removal of triggers of these conditions in you.
A glass of freshly-made vegetable juice every day is an excellent way to boost your Vitamin U intake along with a slew of vitamins and minerals essential for good skin health. For those who prefer a supplement, one capsule per day of Bioremediation's Vitamin U may be a useful alternative.
Take care and good luck,
Food sources of Vitamin U
In general, vegetables belonging to the Brassicacea family are the best source of Vitamin U. This family includes cabbages, kale, broccoli, kohlrabi, collards and turnips. Other vegetables such as spinach, asparagus and celery also produce abundant amounts of Vitamin U. Fruit are also good sources, but not as good as vegetables. In general, there is more Vitamin U in the leaves and stalks than in the fruit, roots and seeds. Grains seem to have little when fresh, but Vitamin U is made during sprouting. Animal products have little to no Vitamin U as it is not synthesized nor stored in significant amounts in animals.
Several studies have measured the concentration of Vitamin U in various foods. Tables listing some of these results are included below. Many factors affect the amount of Vitamin U in a given vegetable. These factors include storage conditions, storage duration, harvest time, regional variations and species variations. For example, cabbages have more Vitamin U during spring and summer when freshly harvested, with the nutrient slowly degrading with storage. After six months in the fridge, the concentration drops by one third, with faster losses at room temperature. In contrast, when barley is germinated for making beer, the amount of Vitamin U rises over time, affecting the flavor of the end product. In some cases, there are varieties of fruit that produce less Vitamin U. Oranges that have been selected to produce less Vitamin U are used to make juice because Vitamin U breaks down with extended storage and pasteurisation to form dimethyl sulfide, a compound that negatively affects the taste of the product (Sakamoto et al https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/8987599/.)
Song, Ji-Hoon, Hae-Rim Lee, and Soon-Mi Shim. 2016. “Determination of S-Methyl-L-Methionine (SMM) from Brassicaceae Family Vegetables and Characterization of the Intestinal Transport of SMM by Caco-2 Cells.” Journal of Food Science 82 (1): 36–43.
Food (Vitamin U concentration (mg/kg dry weight))
Kimchi cabbage (89-116)
Food (Vitamin U concentration (mg/kg wet weight))
White asparagus - Peru spears (161)
White asparagus - Peru stalks (86)
White asparagus - Germany spears (252)
White asparagus - Germany stalks (68)
White asparagus - Greece spears (113)
White asparagus - Greece stalks (101)
Green asparagus - Peru spears (234)
Green asparagus - Peru stalks (109)
Green asparagus - Germany spears (94)
Green asparagus - Germany stalks (53)
Green asparagus - Mexico spears (134)
Green asparagus - Mexico stalks (64)
Commercial orange juice (0.9)
Commercial strawberry juice (1.8)
Barley - unprocessed (0.9)
Barley - after 4 days of germination (24)
Kim, G.-H. Determination of Vitamin U in Food Plants. Food Sci. Technol. Res. 9, 316–319 (2003).
Food (Vitamin U concentration (mg/100g dry weight))
Leaf mustard (19.6)
Bud of aralia (19.3)
Sanmanul - a wild garlic (14.4)
Crown daisy (11.1)
Chamchi - a wild korean plant (4.0)
Shepherd’s purse (3.4)
Green onion (2.6)
Green tea (0.1)
Ginger (not detected)
Seaweed (not detected)
Red chilli (not detected)
Miscellaneous wild korean vegetables (not detected)
Kovatscheva, E. G. & Popova, J. G. [S-Methylmethionine content in plant and animal tissues and stability during storage]. Nahrung 21, 465–472 (1977).
Food (Vitamin U concentration (mg/kg wet weight))
Garlic leaves (44-64)
How much Vitamin U do you need to heal ulcers?
In 2003, Kim reported 26-46 mg/100 g of dry weight, which given that a cabbage is ~92% water, works out as 21-37 mg/kg of fresh cabbage. In 2009, Scherb and others found that cabbages have 81 mg of Vitamin U per kg of fresh cabbage. In 2017, Song et al determined that cabbages contain 50 mg/kg of Vitamin U. So we can estimate that there is roughly 21-81 mg Vitamin U per kg of cabbage.
1 liter of juice is typically extracted from about 2 kg of cabbage. Cheney arrived at 1 liter from prior studies in which various volumes of cabbage juice were given to guinea pigs subjected to chemically-induced ulceration. 100% of the guinea pigs responded to the guinea-pig equivalent of 720 ml of juice. The volume used in the clinical study was rounded up to 1 liter to take into consideration variations in body weight and unexpected factors.
Issues with drinking 1 liter of cabbage juice
Many people find cabbage juice to be distasteful. The chemicals responsible for this bitterness are called isothiocyanates. These compounds are produced in the cabbage when the leaves are physically damaged during chewing or juicing. Glucosinolates are enzymatically converted by myrosinases to form the bitter isothiocyanates. Some people are lucky in that can't taste isothiocyanates all that well so they can readily drink cabbage juice. One way to prevent the formation of isothiocyanates is by boiling unbroken cabbage leaves before juicing to kill the enzymes. That's why boiled cabbage has a mild taste compared to raw cabbage. However, the problem with this approach is that Vitamin U is also unstable to boiling, negating any beneficial effects.
A second issue is gas. Cabbage has a significant amount of raffinose, a sugar that is notorious for producing gas when eaten. The human small intestine lacks the enzyme required for the digestion of raffinose. Unfortunately, some types of bacteria in our large intestine do have such an enzyme and will ferment raffinose quite readily to form gases. These gases produced in the colon have only one way out and will cause bloating and discomfort until discharged. Ingesting one liter of cabbage juice will cause problems for most people. In principle, a possible solution is to treat the cabbage juice with Beano before drinking it. Beano is basically alpha-galactosidase, an enzyme that will break down raffinose into sucrose and galactose, both of which we can easily break down and absorb. I'm not sure whether anyone has tested this idea, though taking Beano along with the juice as recommended should help. Drinking several cups spread throughout the day should also reduce bloating.
A third issue is smell. Fresh cabbage juice smells fine - old juice does not. Vitamin U is degraded to homoserine and dimethylsulfide by enzymes found in cabbage. Dimethylsulfide has a disagreeable sulfur odor a little like that found in rotten eggs, though without the toxicity. These enzymes don't work as quickly as myrosinases, but leaving cabbage juice sitting around for a few hours will allow plenty of time for dimethylsulfide to form. Putting the juice in the fridge will slow the reaction somewhat, but after 24 h the juice still tastes terrible. Even if a person could stomach the old juice, there would not be much point as by this stage most of the Vitamin U would have been degraded. Cabbages also have other compounds that contain sulfur that when broken down produce disagreeable odors. The solution is to drink cabbage juice fresh before it has had a chance to go off.