What is Vitamin U?
You must have read about Vitamin A, B, C, K in your primary school, but there are good chances that you have never heard of Vitamin U. Well, Vitamin U is not a true vitamin, it is a derivative of the amino acid named methionine. The derivatives of this amino acid that are termed Vitamin U in normal parlance are S-methyl methionine (SMM), methyl methionine sulfonium (SMM), and 3-amino-3-carboxypropyl dimethyl sulfonium.
Vitamin U is closely linked to several benefits for the stomach and intestine area. Although this vitamin has been in use since ancient times, it became known among the masses only recently when Dr. Garnett Cheney, a professor of medicine at Stanford University, conducted various experiments and discovered the healing properties of this vitamin cum enzyme.
In the experiment, guinea pigs were fed with cabbage juice and the results established the anti-ulcer effects of the diet. Dr. Cheney, quite delighted at the discovery, named this vitamin after the world ulcer, and hence, Vitamin ‘U’. although the history of this vitamin is not very long, it has managed in a short time to prove itself as a potent aid in the battle against many insidious and serious diseases.
Well, it would be futile to learn about this vitamin without learning about the benefits and uses. so, let us have a glance at some great properties that this vitamin exhibits.
- Anti-ulcer properties:
When Dr. Cheney had conducted his experiment in the 1950s, a lot of research was also initiated on the same and it was suggested that drinking 1 quart or 945 ml of cabbage juice daily can help ulcers heal 4-5 times faster than the anti-ulcer therapy that was adopted generally by doctors during that period.
However, the conundrum was whether all these properties were exhibited by this enzyme named Vitamin U or any other nutrients that were present in cabbage juice used in the experiment. Research is still ongoing to find any conclusive answers for the same.
- Might help lower cholesterol levels:
A lot of research on Vitamin U is still ongoing, which means that it is mostly not possible to give any benefits with very definite answers.
Vitamin U has been linked with lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels in a lot of studies. One study suggested that Vitamin U prevents the creation of fat cells in the body, which further helps in the reduction of triglyceride levels. More human research on this vitamin is still needed.
- Protection to liver, lungs, and kidneys:
Studies suggest that Vitamin U can offer protection to your lungs, liver as well as kidneys. While most studies have mainly been conducted on different animals, the results are promising so far.
Vitamin U was found to reverse liver damage caused by valproic acid in an animal study. In a study conducted on rats, Vitamin U has also been found to be very effective in controlling liver damage, in comparison to those animals who were not fed with it.
- Wound healing properties:
Vitamin U has also been linked with wound healing properties and protection from the sun’s ultraviolet rays. It can protect against burns and other damage that is caused by UV rays. There have also been suggestions from various researchers to include Vitamin U as a component in cosmetic products.
What are the foods rich in Vitamin U?
You must be wondering how you can intake Vitamin U, after knowing about its beneficial properties. Do not worry, we have listed down for you some food items that are the primary sources of Vitamin U. Have a look!
You might not be a fan of this winter vegetable’s taste, but it has a lot to offer in terms of benefits. In a study conducted by the National Centre for Biotechnology Information, around 100 patients with peptic ulcers who were fed with raw cabbage juice were observed to have experienced rapid relief.
Cabbage can be consumed in soups and salads, or sautéed vegetables.
Spinach is full of Vitamin U and is a popular vegetable all around North India. It also works wonders for your eye health and blood sugar control. Spinach can be consumed in soups, pasta, sandwiches, salads, or any other form as well.
Another green vegetable on the list, broccoli is quite rich in Vitamin U and is a hoarder of a lot of other essential nutrients. Broccoli can also be eaten in various ways like in soups, pasta, or stir-fried vegetables.
Well, we hope you understand how important green veggies are for you.
Another nutrient-rich food on our list is kale. Full of fibers, calcium, iron, Vitamin U, Kale is quite helpful for fighting allergies, ulcers, inflammation, and indigestion, and also boosts your immunity.
Deficiency of Vitamin U
If you do not consume green veggies or other food sources, you might experience a deficiency of Vitamin U in your body, which might lead to a significant increase in stomach acidity further causing stomach problems and ulcers which might be dangerous for your body.
Functions of Vitamin U
- Vitamin U neutralizes histamine, which is known to cause ulcers in the body.
- It protects the gastrointestinal lining and acids in its recovery during inflammation.
- It is also linked with alleviating body pain.
- It contributes towards better digestion, by normalizing acid levels in the stomach.
- Improves liver function.
- Aids in the faster recovery of skin structure.
- Has antihistamine and antiallergic properties.
Vitamin U or pharmaceuticals containing Vitamin U need to be stored in dry areas, not very close to sunlight. It oxidizes easily, and hence must be stored well. Also, it breaks down at high temperatures, so you must be careful about storing it.
Well, this is all about Vitamin U uses, benefits, functions, and everything you need to know. We hope this helps you understand about the vitamin more and you start consuming Vitamin U rich foods as well.