Grapefruit extract can help to heal stomach
ulcers, research suggests.
Polish researchers used an extract of the
fruit's seed to reduce the size of stomach ulcers in rats.
They found the extract had strong antibacterial
and antioxidant properties, which calm the gastric tract
and aid the healing process.
Details of research, by Jagiellonian University,
were presented at Digestive Disease Week - a conference
of leading digestive experts in Chicago.
The researchers induced gastric ulcers
in rats, and applied graded doses of the fruit extract to
measure its effect.
In particular, they looked at levels of
gastric secretion - one of the major causes of gastric ulcers.
Rats treated with GSE at 10 mg/kg experienced
a 50% reduction in gastric acid secretion, and a progressive
decrease in the area of their ulcer.
The treatment also prompted a significant
rise in blood flow at the ulcer sites - another phenomenon
that can aid healing.
The beneficial effects, however, were diminished
in the presence of drugs which inhibit two enzymes, COX-1
and COX-2, which play a key role in maintaining the health
of the stomach lining.
The researchers believe that the grapefruit
extract somehow joins forces with these enzymes to promote
Lead researcher Dr Thomas Brzozowski said:
"Because grapefruit is acidic in nature, people with ulcers
might assume that they should not include the fruit in their
"However, this research suggests the exact
Dr Lee Kaplan, of Massachusetts General
Hospital, said: "Incorporating healthy eating habits and
lifestyle choices can directly benefit digestive and overall
health over the long term."
However, Dr John Bennett, chairman of Core,
the UK charity fighting gut and liver disease, said the
findings were of limited practical value, as powerful drugs
were available both to treat, and minimise the risk of a
"I suppose this might potentially provide
an alternative to patients who do not want to take anti-secretory
drugs," he said.
Grapefruit juice can interact with some
drugs, including cholesterol-reducing statins, and calcium
channel blockers, given to heart patients.