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What is Vitamin U & What are its Benefits and Side Effects?

What is Vitamin U?

Vitamin U is a compound present in cruciferous vegetables like cabbage, broccoli, sprouts, and kale.(1)

The term was introduced in the early 1950s when this compound was identified in cabbage. It is not a vitamin but a derivative of amino acid methionine.

It is added by various cosmetic companies to their creams, serums, face masks, and other products.

Vitamin U is recommended for the treatment of oesophagogastric lesions, gastric ulcers, chronic gastritis, ulcerative colitis, peptic ulcers, and diaphragmatic lesions.

Benefits of Vitamin U

Vitamin U may be recommended for numerous conditions, but has only a few benefits that are backed by research.

Heals Stomach Ulcers

In research done in 1950, it was observed that drinking 945 ml of cabbage juice daily helped in healing ulcers faster than the standard anti-ulcer treatment alone.(2,3)

However, it is yet not sure, whether this effect was due to vitamin U or other nutrients present in the cabbage.

More research is needed to determine the effect of vitamin U on ulcers.

Protects the Lungs, Liver, And Kidney

Vitamin U can help safeguard the lungs, liver, and kidney.

An animal study found vitamin U to be effective in reversing liver damage caused by the anti-seizure medication valproic acid.(4)

Another study done on rats to determine the effect of vitamin U on kidney found that those given vitamin U experienced less severe kidney damage after receiving valproic acid than those who were not given vitamin U.(5) It was also observed to reduce inflammatory markers.

Vitamin U can also be used to reduce the effect of epileptic seizures on the lungs.(6)

Lowers Cholesterol And Triglyceride Levels

There is some evidence that shows a positive effect of vitamin U on cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

Vitamin U can help prevent the creation of fat cells and reduce triglyceride levels.(7)

In a study, 1.5 grams of vitamin U was given to the participants every day for 8 weeks. There was no change in triglyceride level, HDL levels, and a 10% reduction in total cholesterol.(8)

Aids Wound Healing And Skin Protection

Vitamin U can also be used to protect the skin against the UV ray of the sun and also aid wound healing.

Vitamin U when applied directly to the wound would speed up wound closure. Vitamin C can also help protect against burns and other skin conditions caused by harmful UV rays of the sun.(9,10)

There are also certain cosmetics that are formulated with vitamin U and can benefit the skin.

Side Effects And Precautions

Vitamin U is considered completely safe when taken in the form of the whole vegetable. Very little is known about the side effects of vitamin U in supplement form.

Safest can be to rely on cruciferous vegetables to get vitamin U.

European Chemicals Agency says Vitamin U can lead toeye, skin, and lung irritationwhen it comes in direct contact with these organs. Therefore, use the products containing vitamin U with caution.(11)

Foods rich in vitamin U are considered safe to consume during pregnancy and hence can be consumed in the form of whole foods. Less is known about vitamin U in supplement form, therefore it is advised to avoid it during pregnancy or while breastfeeding.

Deficiency of Vitamin U

Vitamin U is found deficient in those not consuming vegetables containing this vitamin. It can lead to symptoms of stomach acidity that can further lead to ulcers and other stomach problems.

Overdose of Vitamin U

Vitamin U is a water-soluble vitamin. If consumed in large quantities can be easily thrown out of the body. Therefore not much is known about the overdose of it.

Still, it is recommended not to take their supplements in large quantities. If wanting to supplement this vitamin in your diet, consult an expert first.

Sheetal DeCaria, M.D.
Sheetal DeCaria, M.D.
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Sheetal DeCaria, M.D. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:January 7, 2021

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