If you or someone you know has recently been diagnosed with gastritis, then you may be looking to learn more about this condition. And while gastritis is not usually a serious health issue, it can become one if not properly treated.
There are many treatment options for gastritis. And you may even be able to improve your symptoms with the help of supplements for gastritis. Read on to learn more about gastritis, including what it is and the symptoms and causes, as well as the 5 best supplements for gastritis.
What is gastritis?
Gastritis can be acute or chronic. Acute gastritis will appear and resolve relatively quickly, while chronic gastritis is a long-term condition. If left untreated, acute gastritis can become chronic.1
No matter which form of gastritis you may have, the lining of your stomach, or the mucosa, will become inflamed and irritated.2 This can happen to your stomach lining when it has become weakened and then exposed to acidic stomach juices. Once your stomach lining is inflamed or irritated, you may experience some unpleasant symptoms and issues.
The most common cause of gastritis is Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori), a type of bacterial infection that is estimated to occur in about half the world’s population.2 You may have heard of H. pylori before as a culprit of stomach ulcers.
Although it may sound a bit scary, acute gastritis is usually not serious and can be cured with lifestyle changes, medications, and complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) like supplements. However, chronic gastritis that is not properly treated can increase your risk of developing peptic ulcer diseases or even stomach cancer.3 However, simply getting rid of the cause of your gastritis can help prevent these issues.
Like with many diseases and health issues, the symptoms of gastritis can vary, and you may not experience them all. Having gastritis doesn’t always mean a trip to the doctor is warranted as mild symptoms can sometimes heal on their own. Some people even report having no symptoms despite a diagnosis of gastritis. If symptoms are severe or persist, however, then it may be time to take a trip to the doctor.
Gastritis symptoms may include:
- Nausea and/or vomiting
- Feeling full early on in a meal or uncomfortably full after well-portioned a meal
- Loss of appetite
- Upper belly pain
- Weight loss
Untreated or unnoticed gastritis can become chronic and lead to ulcers in the stomach or stomach bleeding. You may have stomach bleeding if you also have blood in your stool, shortness of breath, vomit containing red blood or that looks like coffee grounds, or pain in your abdomen. Stomach bleeding is a serious condition and medical assistance will be required immediately.4
Gastritis causes and risk factors
Besides bacteria like H. pylori entering your stomach, there are many other potential causes of gastritis. Many of these causes are due to lifestyle factors. Although sometimes gastritis is unpreventable, changing your habits that may have led to it could mean preventing a future gastritis diagnosis.
Some gastritis causes include:
- H. pylori (the most common cause)
- Infection by something other than H. pylori, like parasites or the herpes virus
- Acid reflux
- Crohn’s disease and other autoimmune diseases
- Stomach injury or trauma1
Lifestyle-related causes of gastritis include:
- Long-term use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen (Advil).
- Excessive alcohol use or cigarette smoking
- Oversupply of stomach acid caused by stress
- An acidic diet5
Some people are at a higher risk of getting gastritis because of previous or current conditions. These are called risk factors and there are a handful for the development of gastritis. These include:
- H. pylori infection (H. pylori does not always lead to gastritis)
- History of alcoholism
- History of cigarette smoking
- Older age (the lining of your stomach will thin over time)
- Infection with the herpes virus
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), like Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis
- Chronic pain that requires long-term use of NSAIDs5
Best supplements for gastritis
Oftentimes, gastritis that is caused by H. pylori will need to be treated with antibiotics and other medical treatments. And sometimes lifestyle changes are needed to treat and prevent gastritis. But there are alternative therapies for gastritis that can be used alongside medicines or lifestyle changes.
If you’re not familiar with complementary and alternative medicine, or CAM, then the idea of using supplements to help treat gastritis may sound strange. However, research has shown that some nutritional supplements do have the power to improve gastritis symptoms when used alongside other treatment methods.6
As with any supplement you’re thinking of trying out, it’s always best to do your research and consult with a healthcare provider to make sure you’re making the best choice for you. And it’s important to note that supplements for gastritis should be used alongside, and not in place of, other treatments recommended by your doctor.
In no particular order, here are the 7 best supplements for gastritis you can use.
One of the ingredients in turmeric, curcumin has a gold color and both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects thought to help treat gastritis. Curcumin also has been shown to prevent the growth of various bacteria including H. pylori.7
Vitamin C is a well-known antioxidant that can stop free radicals and foreign substances in your body from causing illnesses. In one review, vitamin C was noted to directly inhibit bacteria or break apart the environment pylori has created in the stomach. The same review also pointed out that the antioxidant was found to increase the eradication rate of H. pylori in patients also using antibiotics.6
From the root of a plant, ginseng has been proven to have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, and even anti-cancer effects. Ginseng supplements may help remove H. pylori from the cells inside your stomach lining that have been affected and also reduce inflammation in the area so you can start to heal.7
|Learn how ZYTO can help you choose the best supplements based on the body’s unique energetic responses.|
Garlic supplements contain an active compound called allicin that has antibiotic effects similar to what your doctor may prescribe when you have gastritis or stomach ulcers.8 The allicin in garlic has also been found to have anti-inflammatory properties and an ability to protect stomach cells and tissue from damage.7
Unlike the bacteria that can cause gastritis, probiotics are considered “good bacteria” and can restore balance to your stomach. If you have gastritis caused by pylori, you may be put on an antibiotic for treatment, and these can be a bit harsh on your gut. Using probiotic supplements for gastritis alongside antibiotics may not only help your stomach feel better but may also help remove the H. pylori quicker and even help prevent future issues.9
The omega-3 fatty acids in fish and fish oil have bactericidal effects (or the ability to kill off bacteria) on the most common cause of gastritis, pylori. These same omega-3 fatty acids also are thought to decrease the amount of stomach acid produced.6 Less stomach acid would mean less discomfort and would give your stomach lining a chance to heal from the irritation.
It’s a good idea to take a multivitamin to cover all your vitamin and mineral bases. But if you have chronic gastritis, then taking a multivitamin is essential. Chronic gastritis can cause multiple nutrient deficiencies because of an inability of your digestive system to properly digest and absorb them.10 A daily multivitamin can help restore these vitamin and mineral deficiencies.
Other things you can do for your gastritis
Getting a gastritis diagnosis may feel overwhelming, but remember that as long as you take action to treat it then you can get over gastritis fairly quickly. Besides taking supplements for gastritis and talking with your doctor about any other necessary treatments, there are a few other ways you can take care of yourself and get your gut back on track.
We’ve been mentioning lifestyle changes for treating gastritis, and you’ve probably been wondering what those may be. Making lifestyle changes can take a bit of time and patience, but doing so can also improve your health and lower your risk of getting gastritis again.
You can work on following these tips while you have gastritis and after it has cleared:
- Eat small, frequent meals to avoid over-filling your healing stomach.
- Avoid irritating foods that could make inflammation in your stomach lining worse. Foods that can irritate the stomach can vary from person to person, but common examples include spicy foods, dairy products, heavily processed foods, very greasy foods (think fast food), and gluten.
- Avoid alcohol or at least limit it. Like the foods above, alcohol can irritate the lining of your stomach that has already been through enough. Just one heavy bought of drinking alcohol can potentially damage stomach cells and cause inflammation and lesions.11
- If you know or suspect that your gastritis was brought on by long-term use or overuse of NSAIDs, it may be time to talk to your doctor about switching pain relievers. Other options, like acetaminophen (Tylenol), are not known to cause gastritis.
- Work towards following a well-balanced diet that focuses on nutrient-dense foods and limits calorie-dense foods that tend to be more irritating on the stomach. Nutrient-dense foods would include foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, low-fat dairy, and plant-based protein. Calorie-dense foods that may irritate your stomach include soda, high-fat foods, fried foods, high-sugar foods, and ultra-processed foods.
About Brittany Lubeck
Brittany Lubeck is a registered dietitian and nutrition writer. She has a Bachelor of Science in Dietetics, a Master of Science in Clinical Nutrition, and began her career as a clinical dietitian. Brittany has always enjoyed research and loves that she can help people learn more about nutrition through her writing.
1. Azer, S.A. and H. Akhondi. “Gastritis.” StatPearls Publishing (2022).
2. “Gastritis & Gastropathy.” U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Niddk.nih.gov.
3. Sipponen, P. and H.I. Maaroos. “Chronic Gastritis.” Scandinavian Journal of Gastroenterology 50, no. 6 (2015): 657-667.
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7. Cardos, I.A., D.C. Zaha, et al. “Revisiting Therapeutic Strategies for H. pylori Treatment in the Context of Antibiotic Resistance: Focus on Alternative and Complementary Therapies.” Molecules 26, no. 19 (2021): 6078.
8. Ankri, S. and D. Mirelman. “Antimicrobial properties of allicin from garlic.” National Library of Medicine. Pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov.
9. Goderska, K., S.A. Pena, & T. Alarcon. “Helicobacter pylori treatment: antibiotics or probiotics.” Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology 102, no. 1 (2018): 1-7.
10. Parrish, Carol R. “Chronic Atrophic Gastritis: Don’t Miss These Nutritional Deficiencies.” Practical Gastroenterology 197 (2020): 34-39.
11. “Alcohol and the Digestive System.” Government of Western Australia. Alcoholthinkagain.com.au.