Peptic Ulcer Disease diet

• See Heartburn.

•  Essential fatly acids are the raw materials from which your body makes the prostaglandin messengers, both "good" and "bad." The "good" group of messengers helps to protect you against ulcer disease by making your stomach and intestinal lining more resistant to damage and by speeding healing if damage does occur. Recommendation: To facilitate the best response from essential fatty acids, begin with the proper macronutrient framework.

Peptic Ulcer Disease dietThen to that nutritionally sound base add gamma-linoleic acid (GLA) and EPA fish oil in a ratio of 1:4 (GLA:EPA) one to three times daily. The EicoPro essential fatty acid product manufactured by Eicotec, Inc., of Marblehead, Massachusetts, contains ultrapure sources of linoleic acid and fish oils already combined in this ratio. If you cannot get that product, you can purchase linoleic acid in a product called evening primrose oil at most health and nutrition stores, and EPA fish oil as well. Because it is not as pure a form, the milligram dosing will be different. You can make a reasonable substitute by combining evening primrose oil capsules with fish oil capsules plus vitamin E. Take 500 mg of evening primrose oil (a source of linoleic acid in capsule form), plus 1000 mg EPA fish oil, plus 200 IU vitamin E 1 to 3 times a day. (Warning to diabetics: EPA fish oil can cause blood sugar fluctuations in some diabetics. Carefully monitor your blood sugar if you use this supplemental oil and discontinue its use if your blood sugar becomes difficult to control.)

• L-glutamine is important in the healing of peptic ulcers. Recommendation: Take 500 mg of this amino acid on an empty stomach. Take with water or juice, but never with milk.

• Supplementation with vitamin A may help to prevent you from developing "stress" ulcers. When you have sustained a major physical or emotional trauma (a burn, major automobile accident, or internal injury from a fall or a blow), your body's natural response to the stress may cause an increase in the amount of stomach acid you produce as well as a reduced resistance to that acid on the part of your stomach lining. Recommendation: Under extreme physical stress, and under the supervision of your personal physician if possible, take 50,000 IU of vitamin A twice a day for no longer than 3 to 4 weeks. Please refer to the discussion of this vitamin in the A-toZ Nutrient listings and acquaint yourself with the symptoms of taking too much vitamin A. Because your body can store this vitamin, toxic levels can build up. If you should develop any of the symptoms of vitamin A toxicity, you should promptly cease supplementation until levels can fall. Under less extreme stress, you may take the vitamin A forerunner, beta-carotene, instead of true vitamin A. Your body converts beta-carotene into vitamin A as it needs it. Take 25,000 to 50,000 IU beta-carotene per day.

• Deficiency of vitamin B6 may contribute to the development of stomach ulcers, and supplementation may promote healing of them. Recommendation: Take 50 to 100 mg of vitamin B6 daily. You may increase to 150 mg if your symptoms warrant the increase; however, do not increase further. Permanent nerve damage has occurred at doses above 200 mg per day taken over a several-year period.

• Deficiency of vitamin C may increase your risk of peptic ulcer disease and bleeding from the ulcers, and supplementing this vitamin may speed your rate of healing. Recommendation: Take a minimum of 500 mg of time-release vitamin C 4 times a day. Refer to the discussion of this vitamin in the A-to-Z Nutrient listings for more information on its importance to health, as well as for instructions on how to take the vitamin in the crystalline or powdered form, which we prefer.

•  Deficiency of vitamin E can cause stomach ulcers. Supplementation of this vitamin may help protect against stomach ulcers. This antioxidant also reduces stomach acid and relieves pain.

Recommendation: Take 400 to 800 IU of vitamin E, as d-alphatocopherol succinate, daily. Warning: Vitamin E can cause blood pressure elevation in some people. Please refer to the listing for this vitamin and follow the guidelines there for slowly and safely increasing your dose to the recommended level.

•  Vitamin K is necessary for healing and to prevent bleeding. It also promotes nutrient absorption and has a neutralizing effect on the intestinal tract. A deficiency is common in those with digestive disorders. Recommendation: Take 100 micrograms daily. Increase your consumption of dark leafy green vegetables.

• For rapid relief of pain, drink a large glass of water. This dilutes stomach acid and flushes it out.

• Bismuth, the active ingredient in such stomach-soothing products as Pepto-Bismol, has proven in clinical testing to not only coat and soothe the inflamed stomach and intestinal lining but to actually kill H. pylori, the bacteria that seem to be responsible for keeping the ulcers going even with treatment. Physicians now routinely use "triple therapy" for chronic ulcers, which includes the acid-blocking drugs (Tagamet, Zantac, Axid, and Pepcid) plus an antibiotic medication (for example, tetracycline or metronidazole) and bismuth subsalicylate (Pepto-Bismol, Equate, and other similar products). Recommendation: Take 2 tablespoons bismuth subsalicylate 4 times per day. Note: Bismuth will darken your bowel movement to nearly black and can blacken the coating of your tongue. The changes are of no medical significance. Note also that these products contain an aspirin-like chemical; if you are on blood-thinning medication, medication for gout, or are aspirin allergic, you should not take them.

•  Histamine (the same substance that causes allergic symptoms in your nose) stimulates the acid-producing cells in your stomach to release stomach acid. This stimulation is especially severe under stress and may be a major contributor to the development of stress ulcers. Zinc, because it prevents histamine release, may help to prevent stress ulcers. Recommendation: Take a chelated zinc supplement (such as zinc aspartate or zinc picolinate) in a dose of 20 to 50 mg twice a day. Warning: Supplementation of zinc in its ionic form can create deficiencies of other minerals, such as copper, by competing with them for absorption from the intestine. Chelation of the minerals prevents this competition to get into the body, allowing you to fully absorb each of them.

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