If your doctor diagnosed you with interstitial cystitis, you probably experience one or more of the following symptoms: painful or frequent urination, bladder discomfort, otherwise unexplained pelvic pain and symptoms that worsen after the consumption of acidic foods. You may find relief from some IC symptoms if you supplement with calcium, which helps reduce acid in food and inflammation in the body.
People with IC--a chronic neuroinflammatory disorder--experience two issues with their bladders: the inner protective layer of mucous, or glycosaminoglycans, becomes compromised, allowing bladder irritants such as acids through to the inner bladder walls; as well as stiffening and inflammation of the bladder itself.
Types of Calcium
Calcium exists in many forms naturally, and the amount of elemental calcium differs with each compound. Calcium carbonate contains the highest percentage of elemental calcium, which technically means less of it needs to be consumed to meet your daily needs. However, other forms of calcium with lower percentages of elemental calcium have higher bioavailability. These include: calcium citrate and malate, coral calcium and calcium glycerophosphate.
Calcium neutralizes acid when combined with meals. Several over-the-counter antacids contain calcium carbonate, which is not the most easily absorbed form, and work primarily to reduce acid-related discomfort 1. Other calcium compounds, such as:
- coral calcium or calcium glycerophosphate
- provide acid reduction
- absorb well
- helping to reduce inflammation in the body
Calcium as treatment for IC provides palliative relief of symptoms but will not cure this disease. As calcium provides essential nutrients to the body, daily use should benefit your health unless you experience an adverse reaction to the type or amount of calcium you consume.
Best for IC
“Calcium glycerolphoshate is a chemical substance that neutralizes the acid content of food. This essentially reduces acid secretion by the kidneys into the urine and reduces symptoms in many patients with IC.” says Dr. Jay Burstein, a board certified urologist in DeKalb, Illinois. Other calcium-based antacids that don't contain preservatives additives and artificial colors may help relieve IC symptoms.
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