By Anthony Almada, MS
Mastic gum, a resin extracted from an evergreen tree, the Pistacia lentiscus, is sticky stuff that takes on a sticky problem: stomach ulcers. The resin has been shown in animal studies to have a protective effect on stomach cells and to reduce acid secretion. In human studies, mastic gum has shown promise in tackling ulcers, both peptic (in the stomach) and duodenal (in the upper intestines), and has been proven effective at a low dose—as little as 1 gram a day for two weeks.
Just how does it work? British researchers have pitted mastic gum against the ulcer-causing bacteria, Helicobacter pylori, and have seen its potent ability to kill off the bugs. Stay tuned as more research looks at whether commercial mastic supplements display similar health-promoting benefits, and whether mastic's antibacterial action spares "friendly" bacteria like lactobacillus, as it has been known to do in the lab.
Nutrition and exercise biochemist Anthony Almada, MS, has collaborated on more than 45 university-based studies, is co-founder of Experimental and Applied Sciences (EAS), and founder and chief scientific officer of IMAGINutrition (www.imaginutrition.com).