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Ulcers - Conditions & Cures
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Ulcers

LifeSource Vitamins


Peptic ulcers most frequently affect the stomach and the duodenum, which is the upper part of the small intestine. Both the stomach and the duodenum process high quantities of gastric juices. These juices have to be strong in order to break food down into digestible particles; in fact, they're composed largely of hydrochloric acid, a substance that can dissolve not just last night's dinner but body tissues as well. To protect the stomach and duodenum walls against damage from gastric acid, both organs are coated with a protective mucus layer. In addition, bicarbonate ions are secreted by the lining of the stomach and the duodenum. Under normal conditions, this mucus layer and the alkalinizing bicarbonate ions prevent the acid from eating away at the digestive tract lining. But when the lining is too weak and there is decreased bicarbonate secretion, some of the stomach tissues may be eroded. An eroded spot is called a peptic ulcer.

Most people know that stress increases the output of gastric acid. If you have an ulcer, reducing the levels of tension and anxiety in your life will go a long way toward healing the physical wound. But many other factors can cause or contribute to ulcers as well. Some drugs are notorious for increasing acid production-most notably, aspirin and the class of medications called nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs, for short). People who take aspirin or NSAIDs like ibuprofen on a regular basis are at a high risk for getting stomach ulcers. Smokers develop ulcers much more often than nonsmokers do. And as with every digestive disorder, a poor diet, especially one that includes spicy foods, citrus fruits, soda pop, caffeine, and alcohol, is frequently at the root of the problem. Food allergies or sensitivities can cause problems as well. One must also consider that low antioxidant status appears to predispose one to ulcers.

The bacteria Helicobacter pylori has been strongly linked to ulcer formation. Studies show that some people with ulcers have this bacterium in the affected organ, and elimination of H. pylori often helps with healing. Antibiotic therapy, as well as natural therapies, can be very effective for this infection. Make sure to supplement with probiotics to replace the helpful bacteria that antibiotics destroy. These good bacteria also play a role in preventing H. pylori infection.

Conventional therapy generally focuses on antacid medications. This group of medications suppresses stomach acid formation. For severe acute ulcer problems, such as a bleeding ulcer, these medications can be very effective and warranted. However, for many people these medications are prescribed on a long-term basis that does not treat the cause of the ulcer. In addition, long-term use can contribute to digestive problems in other areas of the digestive tract, as hydrochloric acid is required for protein digestion and the liquefaction of foods. Without proper stomach acid digestion, there is additional stress on the rest of the digestive organs. Also keep in mind that stomach acid is a natural barrier to bacteria such as H. pylori, as well as to other microbes. Suppression of this acid in the long term theoretically makes you more prone to an infection in the digestive tract. Finally, you require stomach acid to absorb minerals, so with long-term acid suppression you are prone to mineral deficiency.

Ulcers are a common complaint, but that doesn't mean they should be ignored. Without treatment, the pain and the burning will only get worse. In fact, the eroded area may grow larger and deeper until it begins to bleed. The ulcer may even perforate the stomach or intestinal wall. Bleeding or perforating ulcers should be treated as medical emergencies; if left unattended, they can be fatal.


** All of these prescriptions below have been proven effective; level of effectiveness depends on the individual. Please consult your doctor when taking any and all supplements.


Super Prescription # 1 Mastic gum (Pistachia lentiscus) See Ulcer Relief above

Take 500 mg three times daily. This supplement comes from the mastic tree and has been shown in test tube studies to destroy H. pylori and in human studies to be effective in healing ulcers.
Super Prescription #2 Aloe Vera - LifeSource Product

Drink 1 ounce three times daily. Aloe promotes healing of the lining of the intestinal tract and has antimicrobial benefits.
Super Prescription #3 Licorice root (DGL) (Glycyrrhiza glabra)

Chew 500 to 1,000 mg twenty minutes before meals or between meals, three times daily. DGL (deglycyrrhizinated licorice) stimulates the regeneration of the mucus layer and has anti-inflammatory effects. Preliminary research shows an inhibiting effect on the growth of H. pylori.
Super Prescription #4 Dophilus Plus Probiotics - LifeSource Product

Take a product containing at least 4 billion active organisms twice daily, thirty minutes after meals. It supplies friendly bacteria, such as Lactobacillus acidophilus and bifidus that prevent infection and aid digestion. It is particularly important to take if you are using antibiotics.
Super Prescription # 5 Slippery elm (Ulmus fulva)

Take 3 ml or 500mg of the capsule form or suck on a lozenge three times daily between meals. Slippery elm has a soothing and healing effect on the lining of the digestive tract.
Super Prescription #6 Chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla)

Drink a fresh cup of tea four times daily. Animal studies show that it has anti-ulcer activity, and it also relaxes the nervous system.


Symptoms

  • Burning or gnawing pain in the upper abdomen that usually occurs when the stomach is empty or about an hour after eating. Pain may also come at night.
  • Loss of appetite
  • Increased appetite (sometimes food actually soothes the ulcer)
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting


Root Causes

  • Stress
  • Medications, including aspirin and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Dietary factors, including food allergies
  • Smoking
  • Alcohol use
  • Infection with H. pylori (you are more susceptible if you have low stomach acid and not enough friendly flora)

Caution: If your stools or vomit are dark or bloody, or if you have intense abdominal pain that doesn't go away, you may have a bleeding or perforating ulcer. Consult a doctor immediately.


TREATMENT

Diet

Recommended Food

Although you may not feel like eating, good nutrition is essential for healing ulcers. Eat several small meals a day to avoid placing a heavy burden on your digestive system. Eat plenty of fiber. Although the smooth foods of the famous "bland diet" were once thought safest for ulcer patients, increased fiber intake has been shown to repair ulcers. Focus on sources of soluble fiber, such as oats. Vitamin K has been shown to repair damage from gastric juices. Eat several servings of green leafy vegetables a day, and drink lots of green juices.

Studies have shown that cabbage juice has remarkable healing powers for ulcers. Drink a quart of cabbage juice daily. It may be diluted with water or carrot juice. Cultured products will provide the friendly "bacteria" that fights H. pylori. Drink kefir milk or eat some live cultured yogurt every day. Zinc is healing to the digestive tract. Good sources include pumpkin seeds and whole grains. Consume garlic with your meals.


Foods to Avoid

Avoid sugar, spicy foods, citrus fruits and juices, coffee, black tea, and alcohol. They all contribute to high levels of gastric acid or are irritating to the stomach lining. Consult the Food Allergies section, and use the elimination diet to determine whether a food allergy is causing or aggravating your ulcer. Although a reaction to any food can conceivably cause an ulcer, milk allergies are strongly linked to gastric problems. Doctors once prescribed milk as a remedy for ulcers, but that practice has largely stopped. We now know that milk actually encourages stomach acid to form. In addition, many cases of ulcers are linked to a milk allergy.


Detoxification

Do a three-day juice fast to alkalize your digestive tract. Stay away from acidic fruit juices during this time, and focus on green drinks and vegetable juices instead. To keep your colon clean, take an enema on the first and last day of your fast and then once a month afterward.


General Recommendations

  • Zinc promotes tissue healing. Take 30 mg daily, along with 2 mg of copper.
  • Vitamin A stimulates the healthy growth of intestinal cells and improves immune function. Take 25,000 IU daily, with a doctor's supervision. Note: Pregnant women or women planning for pregnancy should avoid doses above 5,000 IU.
  • Vitamin C acts as an antioxidant in the stomach lining and has been shown to retard H. pylori growth. Take 500 to 1,000 mg three times daily. Make sure to use a nonacidic vitamin C. Reduce your dosage is loose stools occur.
  • Essential fatty acids have been shown to help heal gastric and duodenal ulcers. Take 4,000 mg daily of fish oil or 1 tablespoon of flaxseed oil daily. Also, take 400 IU of vitamin E to prevent oxidation of these essential fatty acids.
  • L-glutamine promotes healthy intestinal cells. Take 1,000 mg three times daily on an empty stomach.

Please consult your Doctor before taking any supplements.


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