Miracle Cure or is Tea Bad for Ulcers?
Undoubtedly one of the world’s most popular beverages, tea is often pegged as a health drink for a variety of ailments. Specialized teas, particularly green tea, may help you lose weight, be happier, and possibly even manage pain better. However, if you suffer from sores in the digestive tract, is tea bad for ulcers?
There’s a lot of conflicting information out there about what you should and should not drink when you have an ulcer. Let’s look at whether a good cuppa can actually be good for you.
Cause of Stomach Ulcers
The American College of Gastroentronology identifies two most common causes for stomach ulcers. One is the overuse of NSAIDs like Ibuprofen that can result in a highly acidic response in your stomach and cause ulcers. The other is a strain of bacteria known as Helicobacter pylori.
H. pylori naturally live in our stomachs. However, in some people this bacteria infects the stomach or the small intestine lining, causing ulcers. Therefore, when you have an ulcer, doctors will prescribe antibiotic treatment to fight off the infection.
So how does tea fit into all this? Interestingly enough, a handful of studies suggest that, rather than harming people with ulcers, tea may have desirable properties that keep H. pylori at bay.
What does Science Say about Tea and Gastric Ulcers?
Scientists in recent years have begun to study tea as a possible alternative therapy for treating stomach problems, including ulcers. There are no definitive results yet, but early results look promising. For starters, some studies have shown that green tea can inhibit the spread of H. pylori, possibly helping your stomach lining heal faster.
In in vitro models, green tea is highly potent in controlling the bacteria that causes ulcers. Keep in mind: in vitro. So it’s uncertain what the effects are on people outside the womb. In one study conducted on mice, green tea showed to be quite effective in reducing H. pylori infections. In another animal study with Mongolian gerbils infected with H. pylori, drinking green tea extract with water for 6 weeks alleviated gastritis similar to a drug dose program.
Green tea may not be the only beneficial tea here. In a study that examined the effects of Ceylon black tea on rats with ulcers, the researchers found significant improvement in healing of the ulcers. While the rate of healing was good, it was not as good as treatment with an antibiotic though.
Overall, the results of animal an in vitro studies indicate tea can potentially help alleviation of gastric ulcers. One study even suggests that we might be able to use tea one day as “a low-cost dietary support to combat H. pylori-linked gastric diseases without affecting the beneficial intestinal bacteria.”
Can You Actually Drink Tea with an Ulcer?
While scientific results look promising, nothing is definitive. It’s very important to keep in mind that doctors do not prescribe tea or any other type of special diet for those with stomach ulcers. You will need to follow the treatment program your doctor prescribes to actually cure the sores.
That being said, there’s nothing inherently bad about drinking tea when you have an ulcer. The experience may differ between individuals though. Some might be able to drink tea without an issue, while others may feel that the beverage irritates their stomachs. As for ulcers, tea doesn’t seem to make the problem worse.
It’s highly recommended to consult with your doctor if you are still uncertain about drinking tea with an ulcer. All in all, you are most likely able to indulge in a cuppa without worrying too much about making ulcers worse.
Dr. Dheena Sadik
Consultant Nutritionist and Dietician
Dr. Dheena Sadik is a consultant Nutritionist and Dietician. She has over a decade of experience in the health and fitness industry. However, her love for tea began long before she understood the health benefits of tea. Growing up in Sri Lanka, Dheena had the privilege of being surrounded by the world-famous Ceylon tea. This is what got her started on her exploration of the various types of tea. She has now extensively tasted and examined teas from all over the world.
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