Frequent Urinary Tract Infections (UTI’s) May Be a Sign of Low Antioxidant Levels
It’s uncomfortable, inconvenient and sometimes embarrassing (particularly if you are looking for a bathroom 2-3 times per hour). Urinary tract infections can be a painful experience, and a prompt consultation with a physician, can help you avoid serious injuries, including permeant kidney damage, anemia and very serious sepsis infections.
Have you noticed how some of the nutritionally therapeutic suggestions from doctors, like drinking cranberry or blueberry juice (while taking a UTI prescription) share a common link? Doctors frequently recommend high-antioxidant dietary snacks and beverages, to help your body restore bacterial balance in your urinary tract. Let’s take a look at some of the clinical studies that suggest improvement in antioxidant functioning, can help reduce instances of urinary tract infection.
The Signs Symptoms and Causes of Urinary Tract Infections
There are many health conditions, dietary and prescription medications that can contribute to frequent urinary tract infections, in adults of all ages. One of the most important things to remember about UTI’s is that they are a bacterial infection, in an area of the body that is warm, and nutrient dense, which is the ideal breeding ground for harmful bacteria. Holistic recommendations should also be used only under the supervision of a physician, to help restore healthy antioxidants. They should not be used to replace medications or the advice of a doctor, as symptoms can escalate rapidly to painful and sometimes life-threatening infections.
Some of the common signs of a urinary tract infection include:
- Frequent urination
- Cramps and abdominal discomfort
- A feeling of urgency to urinate
- Odorous urine
- Blood or pus in the urine
- Nausea and loss of energy
Everyday cleansing habits, such as harsh chemicals used during bathing, can also upset the balance of good bacteria. Prescription medications like strong antibiotics, and certain types of contraceptives, can also upset the chemical balance of your urinary tract, leading to infection.
Diabetes and Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)
Escherichia coli is one of the culprits that contribute to urinary tract infections, according to this alterative medicine research study. The urine samples of diabetic and non-diabetic patients were analyzed, and catalase, superoxide dismutase activities were found to be lower in patients with diabetics. Lipid (fat) peroxidation levels were also found to be much higher for individuals with diabetes, than non-diabetic participants. The study suggested that there was a strong link between decreased antioxidant capacities. Food sources and oils that are rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) were also found to increase the susceptibility of cells and tissues, to free radicals and oxidative damage. Multiple clinical studies have strongly suggested that restoring healthy antioxidant levels in the body, provides improved resistance to bacteria that are known to contribute to UTI’s.
Pregnancy Can Increase the Risk of Urinary Tract Infections
While researchers agree that pregnancy does not directly cause UTI’s, the National Kidney & Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse states that the physical changes that happen to a woman during gestation, can predispose females to increased infections. Hormonal changes common during pregnancy, allow Escherichia coli (E. coli) to flourish. The natural increase in progesterone causes some muscular relaxation among the muscular structures surrounding the urethra, making it easier for bacteria to enter the urinary tract. Further complicating symptoms for pregnant women, the increased size of the uterus during pregnancy also impacts the emptying of the bladder, which can retain a pool of urine long enough, for bacteria to multiply.
The Role of Balanced Diet and Supplements in UTI Prevention
As with many health conditions, a balanced diet can help minimize the occurrence of urinary tract infections. Some foods, nutrients and minerals that researchers have identified as beneficial to urinary tract health, include:
- Healthy cooking oils like olive or coconut. Reduce or try to eliminate trans fatty acids normally found in fast food, convenience snacks, and margarine.
- Increased consumption of cranberry and blueberries, which reduce the binding of bacteria to the bladder and urinary tract tissues. (Consult with your physician about allergies or medications that can be impacted by both types of antioxidant rich berries). Squash and bell peppers are alternative sources.
- High fiber foods like beans, oats and psyllium seed.
Create a healthy new habit, and hydrate with clean, filtered water daily. Medical professionals advise that a minimum of eight glasses of fresh water can help reduce UTI’s, by increasing the body’s ability to flush out harmful bacteria. Reducing caffeine and alcohol intake, and avoiding the use of tobacco products and smoking, are also stated as healthy choices that can lower your risk of infection.
A daily multivitamin, like Dr. Keller’s Advanced Immune Defense™ that contains antioxidant vitamins like vitamin A and C, and the family of B-complex vitamins can help. Minerals including magnesium, calcium, selenium and zinc, also contribute to a heathier and more bacterial resistance urinary tract. A daily probiotic that contains Lactobacillus acidophilus, has also been shown in some clinical studies, to support healthy urology.
If you are prone to frequent urinary tract infections, schedule an appointment to discuss your symptoms and diet with your doctor, who can provide support and further recommendations to reduce your risk.