One of my sisters-in-law used to suffer from “ulcers”. She suffered from acute abdominal pain and claimed that she got this due to the stresses in her life. It is a common assumption that stress and anxiety can cause ulcers and it was thought to be the result of a high stress life-style (especially common in Japan, a high stress society).
However, recent discoveries show that stress, anxiety, and a poor diet were not the main cause of ulcers. A bacterium called Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) is responsible for causing most ulcers. Generally, the result of infection with H. pylori in the area along with the presence of stomach acid causes a peptic ulcer (the name comes from pepsis, an enzyme in the stomach).
Another possible cause is taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) which can inflame and damage the lining of the stomach and intestines.
H. pylori is a resident bacterium in the lining of the stomach and small intestine, and is not always the cause of problems. However, under certain circumstances, it can disrupt the condition of the mucous layer, damage the lining of the digestive tract which can lead to an ulcer.
General dietary recommendations for peptic ulcers are:
- Cabbage – Sauerkraut is especially beneficial to heal the digestive tract, because it has both probiotics and prebiotics.
- Brussels sprouts and other cruciferous vegetables – They are rich in the amino acid ‘methionine’ which is very effective in fighting against H. pylori.
- Garlic – A powerful antimicrobial that works against bacteria, parasites, and yeast.
- Aloe Vera – Aloe Vera juice is soothing and can help reduce pain and calm irritated tissues.
- Manuka honey – Honey has anti-bacterial properties which promotes wound healing.
Here are some Supplements recommendations:
1) Probiotics – Studies show that probiotics can inhibit the growth of H. pylori. They are especially important, because antibiotics are a conventional approach to treat this condition. Choosing a good quality product is essential and should be taken while taking antibiotics and three times longer the duration (for example, if you are taking antibiotics for a week, you should be taking probiotics for a week along with antibiotics, plus continue to take for the following three weeks). They can also reduce the risk of having diarrhea and yeast overgrowth due to antibiotic use.
2) Deglycyrrhizinated licorice (DGL) – This herb soothes and coats an inflamed and damaged mucous lining. It promotes healing and may help protect the stomach against NSAID usage.
3) Mastic – A resin (a gummy extract) from a tree native to Greece. Mastic has been found to heal peptic ulcers, stomach disorders, and stomach pain.
To reduce the risk of peptic ulcers and improve gut health, you can choose to eat foods that are recommended above, as well as fermented foods. Generally, reducing stress is always a good idea. Why don’t you try yoga, massage, breathing exercises, and meditation for your optimal intestinal health.
All is well, and all the best!
The Canadian Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine by Sherry Torkos
Natural Solutions for Digestive Health by Dr. Jillian Sarno Teta and Jeannette Bessinger