Ulcers are crater-like lesions on the skin or the mucous membrane that may affect any part of the body including mouth, stomach, skin and intestinal tract. Along with a burning pain, ulcers can also lead to nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite and blood in vomit of stool. Inflammation, infection and certain cancerous conditions are the main causes of ulcers. Several medications including H2 blockers and antibiotics may be prescribed to treat ulcers, depending upon the underlying conditions. Surgery and invasive procedures may be required in rare cases. Some vitamins may help manage the condition.
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Vitamin A is a fat soluble vitamin that helps form and maintain healthy teeth, bones, skin and mucous membrane. Several studies, such as the one published in the June 2008 edition of the “Journal of Vascular Nursing,” have shown reduced levels of vitamin A in patients suffering from leg ulcers, indicating a connection between the two.
Vitamin A can be obtained from foods such as meat, fish, eggs, poultry and milk and from synthetic supplements that can be purchased at most local pharmacies without a prescription. However, an overdose of vitamin A can lead to bone pain, headache, dizziness and muscle aches. Hence, it is best to talk to a doctor before taking the supplements.
B vitamins are a group of eight water soluble vitamins that are essential for proper functioning of several metabolic processes in the body and for red blood cell formation. A diet that includes fish, poultry, meat, eggs, green leafy vegetables, beans and peas is the best source of vitamin B. Synthetic supplements of vitamin B complex are also available and are recommended by the University of Maryland Medical Center to patients suffering from peptic, intestinal and mouth ulcers because a deficiency of B vitamins, especially folic acid and vitamin B12 have been observed in such patients. B complex supplements are well tolerated by most individuals, although an overuse can lead to upset stomach and diarrhea.
Vitamin C or ascorbic acid is a water-soluble vitamin antioxidant vitamin that is required for the normal growth, development, repair and maintenance of body tissues. Medical News Today reported in August 2003 that researchers at the San Francisco VA Medical Center found that deficiency of vitamin C can lead to Helicobacter pylori infections which can lead to peptic ulcers. Vitamin C deficiency can be avoided by eating citrus fruits, strawberries, cantaloupes and green leafy vegetables. Synthetic vitamin C supplements can also be taken, but it is important to follow dosage instructions carefully as excess of vitamin C can lead to gastric disturbances.
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Peptic Ulcer
- "Journal of Vascular Nursing"; Nutritional status and wound severity of overweight and obese patients with venous leg ulcers: A pilot study; Jeniffer Tobón et al; June 2008
- Medical News Today: Vitamin C may protect against ulcer-causing bacteria