Peptic ulcers, which can affect both the stomach (gastric ulcers) and the first part of the small intestine (duodenal ulcers), blight the lives of millions of people. Duodenal ulcers are more common than gastric ulcers and usually occur in people aged 20 to 45, particularly men. Gastric ulcers are more common in people over the age of 50.
Approximately 1 in 8 people in the UK develop a peptic ulcer at some time in their lives.
H. pylori is present in half of all middle-aged people in the UK
Ulcers are sores or holes in the lining of an organ. They look like small, red craters.
As we all know, the stomach produces acid to break down food during the digestive process. The stomach and upper part of the small intestine are protected from the acid by a lining of sticky fluid (mucus).
Ulcers occur when the lining is damaged and exposes the sensitive tissue underneath to the acid. Over time, this irritation of the wall tissue in the stomach and duodenum may cause an ulcer to form.
The bacterium, Helicobacter Pylori (H. pylori) is responsible for creating most peptic ulcers by weakening the protective coating of the stomach and duodenum (the section of intestine just below the stomach), allowing acid to irritate the sensitive stomach lining.
H. Pylori is a very common infection in humans. According to the NHS, it is present in about half of all middle-aged people in the UK, although few develop ulcers. However, scientists are not sure why H. Pylori does not cause ulcers in every infected person.
So, the best way to prevent an ulcer from developing is to go straight for the cause – H. pylori.Â
Natural remedies can banish ulcers safely and effectively
One of the most effective natural remedies is deglycyrrhizinated liquorice (DGL). DGL is liquorice from which an ingredient called glycyrrhizin (which can cause high blood pressure and water retention) has been removed.
DGL has an amazing ability to heal ulcers – it stimulates the normal defence mechanisms against ulcer formation, increases the quality and quantity of protective substances that are secreted to line the digestive tract and there is some evidence that it inhibits the growth of the bacterium H pylori – and has compared favourably in clinical trials against the conventional anti-ulcer drug Tagamet (cimetidine). Chewable tablets of DGL appear to be more effective than capsules, and the recommended dose is 250 to 500mg 15 minutes before each meal and an hour before bedtime.
A natural resin called mastic gum, from the tree Pistachia lentiscus, has been shown to effectively eradicate H. pylori and even to kill those strains that are resistant to antibiotics.
In one placebo-controlled clinical trial, a staggering 80 percent of patients taking a gram of mastic gum a day reported an improvement in their overall symptoms. In the same trial, endoscopy (where a telescopic camera tube is inserted down the digestive tract) revealed that normal cells were replacing ulcerated areas in 70 percent of those who had taken mastic gum. Mastic gum is available a supplement under the name ‘Mastika.’ Take four 250mg capsules before bed.
Several other natural supplements have been shown to assist in healing ulcers or in killing H. pylori. Bioflavonoids such as quercetin not only inhibit the growth of H. pylori, but also have anti-inflammatory properties that help ease ulcer pain.
Dont let the pain and discomfort of an ulcer rule your life. These alternatives could help you attack the cause of your ulcer and take back control of your life.
…and another thing
New research has found that food can lower cholesterol just as well as prescription medications.
According to researchers at the University of Toronto, eating a certain ‘portfolio’ of foods including fish, oatmeal, almonds and lean meats can help reduce artery-clogging LDL cholesterol as much as statin drugs.
‘This study is exciting because it shows an effective dietary approach to lowering cholesterol isn’t as hard or as intimidating as we previously thought it was,’ commented study co-author Dr David Jenkins.
So before you get a prescription filled for statin drugs, talk to your doctor about trying a dietary approach to lower your cholesterol first.