We all know it’s important to get enough nutrients in our diet. Many of you probably already take a multi-vitamin. But did you know that there are nutrients that may actually help, (or in some cases, hurt) your bladder health?
From calming bladder spasms to helping guard the pelvic floor muscles, vitamins may be just the thing you’re missing in your treatment plan. Of course, as with everything, there are conditions here. Some vitamins help with incontinence symptoms, but you need to be careful with dosing since higher doses may exasperate the issue. And, as with all vitamins, it’s best to get them straight from the source – food – rather than relying on supplements, which typically are not FDA-approved and have the potential to interact with other medications you may be taking.
Here’s the scoop on three essential vitamins and how they may (or may not) help control bladder leaks.
Vitamin C found in foods. A study done on vitamin c intake in 2060 women, aged 30-79 years of age found that high-dose intake of vitamin c and calcium were positively associated with urinary storage or incontinence, whereas vitamin C from foods and beverages were associated with decreased urinary urgency.
Good sources of Vitamin C can be found in citrus fruits, green and red peppers, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, leafy greens, sweet and white potatoes, and tomatoes (including tomato juice!). But steer clear of high dose supplements to avoid aggravating an already leaky bladder.
Vitamin D. Vitamin D is known to help with bone health, as well as the immune system, hearth health, blood sugar levels and mood regulation. Studies have also found that vitamin D deficiency is associated with a higher risk of pelvic floor disorders. And, in one study of older women, the risk of developing urinary incontinence was 45% lower among those with normal vitamin D levels.
The best way to get most of the vitamin D you need is from sun exposure, but it’s also found in many dairy products, such as milk, yogurt and eggs, fish and supplements.
Magnesium. Magnesium helps your body with a host of functions, including lowering high blood pressure, regulating mood, and helping to guard against Type 2 diabetes. It also ensures our muscles and nerves function properly, and some experts believe that it may help improve incontinence symptoms by reducing bladder muscle spasms, and allowing the bladder to empty.
Good sources of magnesium: bananas, avocados, black beans, cooked quinoa, certain fish, dark leafy greens, nuts and seeds.
An important note: While supplements can help if you’re just not able to get the proper nutrients from your diet, most experts agree that getting your vitamins and minerals from real food is best. Always try to eat as many fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean protein as your diet allows to ensure you’re getting the vitamins and minerals you need. And if you decide to start taking a supplement, talk to your doctor first to make sure it won’t make your condition worse, or interact with any of your current medications.