08 July, 2011
Vitamins to Prevent UTI
Urinary tract infections may affect the kidneys, ureters, bladder and urethra, and cause symptoms such as frequent, painful urination, fever, lower abdominal pain and nausea. Anatomical abnormalities of the urinary tract, enlarged prostate, urine retention in the bladder and a weak immune system are some of the major contributing factors to this problem, which affects millions of people each year. Apart from medications, certain vitamin supplements may help prevent and manage urinary tract infections. Always speak to a doctor before using vitamin supplements as prevention for a UTI.
Apart from maintaining healthy bones, teeth, skin and mucous membranes, vitamin A also helps regulate the functioning of the immune system. The National Institute of Health's Office of Dietary Supplements states that vitamin A helps produce white blood cells and lymphocytes, which destroy harmful bacteria, fungi and viruses that cause a variety of infections, including those of the urinary tract.
Vitamin A can be found in foods such as eggs, meat, fish, and dairy products. Vitamin A supplements also help boost the immune system. However, it is important to follow dosage instructions, as overdose of vitamin A can lead to dizziness, headache, and bone and muscle pain.
Vitamin C is a water soluble, antioxidant vitamin that is essential for the repair and maintenance of body tissues. Vitamin C is also acidic in nature. As such, the National Urologic and Kidney Diseases Information Clearinghouse recommends vitamin C-rich foods such as citrus fruits, strawberries, green leafy vegetables and green peppers, as well as synthetic vitamin C supplements, to acidify the urine and prevent the growth of the bacteria in the urinary tract. An overdose of vitamin C can, however, lead to nausea and upset stomach.
Vitamin B6 is another water-soluble vitamin that helps the immune system produce proteins known as antibodies to fight the pathogens responsible for urinary tract and other infections. Along with foods such as beans, nuts, legumes, eggs, meats and whole grains, vitamin B6 can also be obtained from B complex supplements. However, large doses of this vitamin can cause neurological disorders and numbness. Hence, it is best to talk to a doctor before taking them.
Multivitamin and Mineral Supplements
The University of Maryland Medical Center also recommends taking a multivitamin supplement consisting of vitamin A, C, E, and the B complex, along with minerals such as calcium, magnesium and zinc for the overall functioning of the immune system and the maintenance of muscles and tissues of the urinary tract. Though, these supplement do not treat existing urinary tract infections and cannot substitute any prescribed treatments, they can help prevent future infections.
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