Vitamins are important nutrients found in food that are instrumental not only in supporting normal growth and development, but by also helping the body maintain proper functions, such as immunity, metabolism, and protection against various diseases. There are thirteen essential vitamins required by the human body classified as either water-soluble or fat-soluble. Evidence from various observational studies indicates that nine of these vitamins may provide different health benefits associated with decreased disease risk1.
Many of us are aware of the importance of vitamins to our bodies but most people haven’t heard of vitamin U. Have U?
Probably not, since it’s not exactly classified as a vitamin2, like the thirteen that most of us are familiar with! Vitamin U is actually an enzyme, known as s-methylmethionine, and is used for both preventative and treatment measures related to the digestive system and intestinal tract. While its most well-known food source is cabbage as well as its juice3, it can also be found in green vegetables such as celery, spinach, kale, and parsley or in the form of a supplement3,4.
Since Vitamin U is most closely associated with its beneficial effects on the gastrointestinal mucosa, it’s no wonder that its healing properties can be of great benefit for people who experience esophagogastric lesions, chronic gastric ulceration, chronic gastritis, ulcerative colitis, diaphragmatic hernias, peptic ulcers, and other stomach complications and conditions3.
Despite its use during ancient times3, Vitamin U recently gained major attention in the 1950s when Dr. Garnett Cheney, a professor of medicine at the Stanford University School of Medicine, discovered its healing properties through various experiments. In one of his better-known studies, a quart of raw cabbage juice was administered to 100 patients with a peptic ulcer. Within two to five days, major improvements were seen as the number of cases which experienced an end to ulcer pain dramatically increased5.
The evidence-based results6 provided by Dr. Cheney’s experiment found Vitamin U to hold two major therapeutic benefits:
1) The quick relief of the pain and related symptoms, without any use of drug therapy and mainstream “standardized” diets
2) A considerably faster ulcer crater healing time indicated through x-ray photography
Cheney had also conducted an experiment on guinea pigs in which he fed them cabbage juice6, which further portrayed the presence of a relationship between aspects of diet and anti-ulcer effects.
So, you may wonder- Why the letter “U”? How exactly did this extremely powerful “vitamin” get its name? Well, Dr. Cheney coined the term for the enzyme as Vitamin U, with U standing for ulcer. Isn’t it funny how the name of the solution and the name of the problem are the same?!
Vitamin U has been proven more than once to be an instrumental factor in the treatment of gastric and intestinal ulcers7. Considering that it is naturally found in certain foods, especially raw vegetables, it may be a more natural and safe remedy alternative in comparison to other forms of drug therapy that are known for reducing acid indigestion. These medications may pose risks to other aspects of your health, especially your heart. But Vitamin U provides protective benefits in an all-natural way, keeping your gut and stomach at their optimal health!
Cabbage juice might be just what you need!
Written by Leila G., student intern, James Madison University
- Thomas, D.R. (2006, March). Vitamins in Aging, Health, and Longevity. Clin. Interv. Aging., 1(1), 81–91. Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2682456/
- Ash, Michael. The Use of Vitamin U For Gastric Ulcer Recovery. Accessed 2018 June 15. Retrieved from: http://www.clinicaleducation.org/resources/reviews/the-use-of-vitamin-u-for-gastric-ulcer-recovery/
- Patel, A.D. et al. (2012). Review on Biochemical Importance of Vitamin-U. J. Chem. Pharm. Res., 4(1), 209-215. Retrieved from: http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.694.9840&rep=rep1&type=pdf
- Smiechowski, Jenny. ‘The superhero’ vitamin of stomach ailments. Accessed 2018 June 15. Retrieved from: https://easyhealthoptions.com/the-superhero-vitamin-of-stomach-ailments/
- Cheney, G. (1949, January). Rapid Healing of Peptic Ulcers in Patients Receiving Fresh Cabbage Juice. Calif Med., 70(1), 10–15. Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1643665/
- Cheney, G. (1952, October). Vitamin U Therapy of Peptic Ulcer. Calif Med., 77(4), 248-52. Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1521464/
- Cheney, G. et al. (1956, January). Vitamin U Therapy of Peptic Ulcer; Experience at San Quentin Prison. Calif Med., 84(1), 39-42. Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1532869/