How many of U Know Vitamin U?

How many of U Know Vitamin U?

Professor B.V. Ramanan

Consultant Microbiologist & Medical Content Provider



It was in 1949, when Dr. Garnett Cheney first stumbled upon a curative substance in cabbage juice that would effectively heal peptic ulcer and he called it Vitamin U, ‘U’ denoting ulcer (Cheney, 1949, 1950, 1952 and 1956).

Vitamin U, now, has been elucidated and classified as actually S-Methylmethionine, a derivative of the amino acid methionine (Bourgis, 1999). Vitamin U has been scientifically established to be effective in the treatment of gastric and intestinal ulcers (Ash and Michael, 2018).

Sources of Vitamin U

The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for vitamin U is about 200 to 300 milligrams of the Vitamin U per day. Raw cabbage, alfalfa sprouts, tomatoes, spinach, kale, wheat, turnips, radishes, and parsley are rich sources of vitamin U. Green tea is yet another source of Vitamin U.

Health Benefits of Vitamin U

The first modern evidence on the health benefits of Vitamin U comes from the barracks of Dr. Garnett Cheney, a professor of medicine at the Stanford University School of Medicine, who orally administered raw cabbage juice to a cohort of peptic ulcer patients over a period. Cheney could record a marked improvement in alleviation of the ulcer pain within two to five days and deduce two major therapeutic benefits out of his experiments. The first being a rapid relief from the pain and associated symptoms of ulcer, sans drug therapy and the second, a significantly quick ‘ulcer crater healing time’ as evidenced by X-ray investigations (Patel et al, 2012).

More Recent Investigations

Vitamin U – in Drug Induced toxicity

Drug induced toxicity can be defined as the level of damage that a therapeutic drug can cause to an organism during the therapy. The toxic effects of a drug are dose and time dependent. The drug toxicity can be specific affecting organs such as kidney, liver, and the skin (Anthony et al, 2010). Vitamin U has been found to alleviate the toxicity induced by various therapeutic drugs.

Valproic acid, a drug primarily used to treat epilepsy and bipolar disorder and prevent migraine headaches is known for its serious adverse effects. The protective effect of Vitamin U on valproic acid (VPA)-induced lung damage has been recently investigated. The studies have shown that Vitamin U supplementation can reverse adverse structural and biochemical alterations, induce antioxidant mechanisms through Nrf2 activation, and attenuate fibrosis in the lung tissues by reducing collagen expression (Oztay et al, 2020).

A previous study to investigate the effect of vitamin U on oxidative stress, inflammation, and fibrosis in the renal tissues induced by Valproic acid has shown a significant decrease in adverse histopathological changes and an increase in Na (+)/K (+)-ATPase activity with Vitamin U supplementation. Vitamin U, moreover, has been shown to exhibit excellent antioxidant activity with a decrease in malondialdehyde levels and an elevated glutathione, catalase, and superoxide dismutase activities. A marked reduction in levels of monocyte chemoattractant protein-1, tumor necrosis factor-a, interleukin-1ß, and adenosine deaminase activity has further established the anti-inflammatory properties of Vitamin U (Gezginci-Oktayoglu et al, 2016).

Another study designed to investigate the effects of Vitamin U on eye lens damage on those on Valproic acid therapy has shown that Vitamin U causes an elevation in lipid peroxidation, aldose reductase and sorbitol dehydrogenase activities that may prevent lens damage caused by the drug (Tunali et al, 2015). Earlier studies to investigate the effects of vitamin U on Valproic acid induced liver damage has also established that Vitamin U reduces the drug induced hepatotoxicity, probably by decreasing the oxidative stress (Sokmen et al, 2012).

Vitamin U has also been found to protect the lung tissues from pentyleneterazole-induced seizures, an adverse side effect of drug pentyleneterazole used for convulsive therapy, and depression (Oktay et al, 2018).

Cellular and Molecular Investigations on Vitamin U

Vitamin U has been shown to have moderate radioprotective activity, and the efficiency of radioprotection is dose dependent. The radioprotective characteristics of Vitamin U have been attributed to its capability to reduce the levels of lipid peroxidation and inhibit monoamine oxidase activity in cells (Gessler et al, 1996). Molecular Studies have shown that Vitamin U accelerates the formation of RNA in cells. Cells grown with 0.06 mg/ml, Vitamin U have been found to exhibit a tenfold increase in various types of RNA (Lebenka AIu, et al, 1981).


Healing of peptic ulcer, mitigation of cytotoxicity and enhancement of cellular metabolism, are just a few benefits of Vitamin U. Investigations are also underway on the possibilities of using Vitamin U for treatment of depression and lipoprotein disorders.


1.      Cheney, G. (1949, January). Rapid Healing of Peptic Ulcers in Patients Receiving Fresh Cabbage Juice. Calif Med., 70(1), 10–15. Retrieved from:

2.      Cheney G (September 1950). "Anti-peptic ulcer dietary factor (vitamin "U") in the treatment of peptic ulcer". J Am Diet Assoc. 26 (9): 668–72. PMID 15436263.

3.      Cheney, G. (1952, October). Vitamin U Therapy of Peptic Ulcer. Calif Med., 77(4), 248-52. Retrieved from:

4.      Cheney, G. et al. (1956, January). Vitamin U Therapy of Peptic Ulcer; Experience at San Quentin Prison. Calif Med., 84(1), 39-42. Retrieved from:

5.      Bourgis F (1999). "S-methylmethionine plays a major role in phloem sulfur transport and is synthesized by a novel type of methyltransferase". The Plant Cell Online. 11 (8): 1485–1498. doi:10.1105/tpc.11.8.1485

6.      Ash, Michael. The Use of Vitamin U For Gastric Ulcer Recovery. Accessed 2018 June 15. Retrieved from:

7.      Patel, A.D. et al. (2012). Review on Biochemical Importance of Vitamin-U. J. Chem. Pharm. Res., 4(1), 209-215. Retrieved from:

8.      Riley A.L., Kohut S. (2010) Drug Toxicity. In: Stolerman I.P. (eds) Encyclopedia of Psychopharmacology. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg.

9.      Oztay F, Tunali S, Kayalar O, Yanardag R. The protective effect of vitamin U on valproic acid-induced lung toxicity in rats via amelioration of oxidative stress. J Biochem Mol Toxicol. 2020 Dec;34(12): e22602. doi: 10.1002/jbt.22602. Epub 2020 Aug 26. PMID: 32844493.

10.  Gezginci-Oktayoglu S, Turkyilmaz IB, Ercin M, Yanardag R, Bolkent S. Vitamin U has a protective effect on valproic acid-induced renal damage due to its anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-fibrotic properties. Protoplasma. 2016 Jan;253(1):127-35. doi: 10.1007/s00709-015-0796-3. Epub 2015 Mar 24. PMID: 25802006.

11.  Tunali S, Kahraman S, Yanardag R. Vitamin U, a novel free radical scavenger, prevents lens injury in rats administered with valproic acid. Hum Exp Toxicol. 2015 Sep;34(9):904-10. doi: 10.1177/0960327114561665. Epub 2014 Dec 9. PMID: 25504687.

12.  Oktay S, Bayrak G, Alev B, Ipekci H, Ustundag UV, Turkyilmaz IB, Pisiriciler R, Emekli-Alturfan E, Tunali-Akbay T, Yanardag R, Yarat A. The effect of vitamin U on the lung tissue of pentyleneterazole-induced seizures in rats. Naunyn Schmiedebergs Arch Pharmacol. 2018 Feb;391(2):177-184. doi: 10.1007/s00210-017-1447-3. Epub 2017 Dec 7. PMID: 29218374.

13.  Sokmen BB, Tunali S, Yanardag R. Effects of vitamin U (S-methyl methionine sulphonium chloride) on valproic acid induced liver injury in rats. Food Chem Toxicol. 2012 Oct;50(10):3562-6. doi: 10.1016/j.fct.2012.07.056. Epub 2012 Aug 4. PMID: 22889891.

14.  Stoliarov GV, Mys'ko. Lechenie depressivnykh sostoianii S-metilmetioninom (vitaminom U) [Treatment of depressive conditions with S-methylmethionine (vitamin U)]. Zh Nevropatol Psikhiatr Im S S Korsakova. 1981;81(8):1209-12. Russian. PMID: 7315057.

15.  Lebenka AIu, Rachkus IuA, Kanopkaite SI. Vitamin U i obmen RNK u prokariot [Vitamin U and RNA metabolism in prokaryotes]. Ukr Biokhim Zh (1978). 1981 Sep-Oct;53(5):64-8. Russian. PMID: 6170142.

16.  Gessler NN, Kharchenko LI, Pavlovskaia TE, Bykhovskii VIa. Protivoluchevoe deistvie S-metilmetionina (vitamina U) [Radiation-protective effect of S-methylmethionine (vitamin U)]. Prikl Biokhim Mikrobiol. 1996 Nov-Dec;32(6):666-8. Russian. PMID: 9011865.

Note: This is not medical advice and these statements have not been evaluated by the FDA, if you have any concerns about your health please speak with your doctor

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