Stomach Ulcers and Alcohol
Given that stomach ulcers and drinking are both quite common in our society, many people want to know, can alcohol cause ulcers?
Below, you will find the honest answer to that question as well as an unusual common oil that may reduce the negative impact of alcohol on stomach ulcers.
Stomach Ulcers and Alcohol
Short answer: no, alcohol does not cause stomach ulcers. The acid reflux and gastritis alcohol causes may mimic stomach ulcer symptoms.
The vast majority of ulcers are caused by the H pylori bacteria. The only way to know for sure if H pylori is to blame for your ulcer is by taking an H pylori test.
While it is generally accepted that alcohol is not a cause of ulcers, it is well-established that alcohol can cause irritation and slow ulcer healing times. As a result, it is recommended that alcohol be avoided when recovering from a stomach ulcer.
Alcohol is known to cause gastroesphageal reflux disease (GERD), constipation, and other digestive disorders, but ulcers are not one of them.
Ethanol Induced Gastric Injury
While it is thought that alcohol does not cause ulcers, scientists who research ulcers frequently use ethanol (alcohol) to induce ulcers in test animals. Using highly concentrated alcohol is an efficient and reliable method of inducing an ulcer in many different animals.
With that in mind, it may be within the realm of possibility that someone who drinks large amounts of hard liquor could potentially induce an ulcer. While ulcerations are undocumented, heavy drinking of this sort will commonly lead to GERD and a host of other digestive problems.
Could an Unusual Oil Protect Us From Alcohol?
Researchers in a recent study found that sesame oil helped attenuate the damaging effects of alcohol (1). They found that by taking sesame oil prior to injecting alcohol, ulcer formation was significantly reduced (1).
Keep in mind that one study is not enough to make any definitive conclusions, and this study was done in rats and not humans. This does not mean you should drink on an ulcer, nor is it a guarantee that sesame oil will protect you from the ills of alcohol.
However, for healthy adults who do consume alcohol, having sesame oil with meals may help reduce some of the symptoms of gastritis associated with drinking. Sesame oil is used commonly in many Asian, Thai, and Indian dishes.
Ulcers and Alcohol – The Final Word
Ulcers are not known to directly cause alcohol. H pylori is the primary cause of ulcers and NSAID usage (ibuprofen, naproxen, and aspirin among others) is the second-most common cause.
If alcohol does actually cause ulcers and it just is not documented, the amount of drinking required would be in line with alcohol dependence and appropriate treatment should be sought.
Finally, sesame oil may be a natural way to for healthy adults mitigate the negative impact of alcohol on the digestive tract.
1. Hsu DZ, Chu PY, Liu MY. Effect of sesame oil on acidified ethanol-induced gastric mucosal injury in rats. JPEN J Parenter Enteral Nutr. 2009 Jul-Aug;33(4):423-7.