Bladder infections, medically known as cystitis, are urinary tract infections commonly affecting women, particularly during their reproductive age, pregnancy and after menopause. Usually they are caused by bacteria and symptoms include increased frequency to urinate and burning, painful sensation while urinating. Urine is cloudy and sometimes contains blood, according to Merck Manual Online. If you have been diagnosed with bladder infection and consider taking vitamin C and other supplements for this condition, talk to your health care provider.
Vitamin C, medically known as ascorbic acid, is a water soluble nutrient found in fruits and vegetables and also as an over the counter supplement. Vitamin C has antioxidant qualities. Your body can not produce vitamin C, and thus is important to obtain it from foods and if necessary to take it as a supplement. Dietary sources of vitamin C include citric fruits, berries, kiwi, red pepper, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, tomatoes, cauliflower, green pea, spinach and potatoes.
Vitamin C Dosage and Other Supplements
A daily dose of 500 to 1000 mg of vitamin C may be beneficial for managing bladder infections, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. Other important nutrients that your health care doctor may consider for bladder infections are vitamins A, B complex, E, magnesium, calcium, zinc, selenium, omega 3 fatty acids, probiotics and grapefruit seed extracts.
Consult a qualified health care provider to learn more about the benefits of vitamin C and other natural supplements that may help manage your condition. A healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables and drinking plenty of water may also help prevent and manage bladder infections. Keep in mind that vitamin C does not replace and should not be used to replace any antibiotics or other prescription drugs used for bladder infections. Don’t take vitamin C without medical supervision — high doses of vitamin C can cause side effects, including digestive upset.
Vitamin C and UTI’s
The urinary tract is one of the most common sites of bacterial infections in humans. Numerous bacterial organisms may be the cause of urinary tract infections, but the most common pathogen is E. coli, which is responsible for roughly 80% of cases of UTI. A variety of antibiotics are used for the prevention and treatment of urinary tract infections, and a growing concern is the increasing
resistance of UTI pathogens to conventional antimicrobial agents. Because of this, the use of drugs other than conventional antibiotics for prophylaxis and treatment of UTIs is desired, and the search for such treatments is ongoing.
One such agent proposed to be useful in preventing urinary tract infections is vitamin C. Also known as ascorbic acid, vitamin C is an antioxidant with a number of proposed health benefi ts, including treatment and prevention of the common cold, hypertension, coronary heart disease, gout, and cancer. The recommended dietary allowance of the vitamin is 75 milligrams per day in women and 90 milligrams per day in men. High-dose vitamin C, at one to two grams per day, is commonly used for disease treatment and prevention. When the vitamin has been used in even higher daily doses, several types of adverse effects have been reported, including diarrhea, hyperglycemia, hemolysis, and renal failure.
Vitamin C is thought to have an effect in UTIs by acidifying the urine. The urine contains nitrates, both obtained from the diet and produced naturally by the body. Bacteria with nitrate reductase activity, such as E. coli, convert these nitrates to nitrites. At an acidic pH, the nitrites are then converted to various nitrogen oxides which are toxic to bacteria. Therefore, urine acidifi ed
by vitamin C may be deadly to many of the bacteria that cause urinary infections, including E.coli.
Although vitamin C has long been suggested as a supplement to prevent UTIs, there have been relatively few studies looking at its effectiveness. The studies that do exist found that decreasing the pH of urine to a level of 5.5 or lower effectively kills E. coli bacteria. However, at the doses used in the trials, between two and four grams per day, the vitamin C was not found to effectively lower the pH to this level of acidity, and therefore was not effective in killing the bacteria. The research on this topic does not support the use of high-dose vitamin C for the prevention of urinary tract infections.
Further studies could be done to determine whether even higher doses of the vitamin may be useful for UTIs, but the risk of adverse effects at such doses may be greater than the potential benefits.
Bannwart C, Hagmaier V, Straumann E, Hofer H, Vuillemier JP, Rutishauser G. [Modifi cation of urinary pH through ascorbic acid]. Helv Chir Acta
1981; 48 (3-4): 425-428. Carlsson S, Govoni M, Wiklund NP, Weitzberg E, Lundberg JO. In vitro evaluation of a new treatment for urinary tract
infections caused by nitrate-reducing bacteria. Antimicrob Agents Chemother 2003; 47 (12): 3713-3718. Castelló T, Girona L, Gómez MR, Mena Mur A, García L. The possible value of ascorbic acid as a prophylactic agent for urinary tract infection. Spinal Cord 1996; 34 (10): 592-593. Hetey SK, Kleinberg ML, Parker WD, Johnson EW. Effect of ascorbic acid on urine pH in patients with injured spinal cords. Am J Hosp Pharm 1980; 37 (2): 235-237. Micromedex online. “Ascorbic Acid.” Accessed 6 January 2012. Available at http://0-www. thomsonhc.com.polar.onu.edu/micromedex2/librarian/ND_T/evidencexpert/ND_PR/evidencexpert/CS/FAD26D/ND_AppProduct/evidencexpert/DUPLICATIONSHIELDSYNC/EFF751/ND_PG/evidencexpert/ND_B/evidencexpert/ND_P/evidencexpert/PFActionId/evidencexpert.DisplayDrugdexDocument?docId=0057&contentSetId=31&title=Ascorbic+Acid&servicesTitle=Ascorbic+Acid&topicId=dosingInformationSection&subtopicId=adultDosageSection
Strategies for healthy weight loss: from vitamin C to the glycemic response.
America is experiencing a major obesity epidemic. The ramifications of this epidemic are immense since obesity is associated with chronic metabolic abnormalities such as insulin resistance, dyslipidemia, and heart disease. Reduced physical activity and/or increased energy intakes are important factors in this epidemic. Additionally, a genetic susceptibility to obesity is associated with gene polymorphisms affecting biochemical pathways that regulate fat oxidation, energy expenditure, or energy intake. However, these pathways are also impacted by specific foods and nutrients. Vitamin C status is inversely related to body mass. Individuals with adequate vitamin C status oxidize 30% more fat during a moderate exercise bout than individuals with low vitamin C status; thus, vitamin C depleted individuals may be more resistant to fat mass loss. Food choices can impact post-meal satiety and hunger. High-protein foods promote postprandial thermogenesis and greater satiety as compared to high-carbohydrate, low-fat foods; thus, diet regimens high in protein foods may improve diet compliance and diet effectiveness. Vinegar and peanut ingestion can reduce the glycemic effect of a meal, a phenomenon that has been related to satiety and reduced food consumption. Thus, the effectiveness of regular exercise and a prudent diet for weight loss may be enhanced by attention to specific diet details.
Getting a daily dose of vitamin C not only helps your body function properly, but it could aid in effective weight loss. In fact, people who are deficient in vitamin C may have a harder time losing fat mass, according to a review published in 2005 in the “Journal of the American College of Nutrition.” Taking high doses of vitamin C, however, could cause unpleasant side effects — and isn’t a guarantee you’ll shed pounds.
Effects on Weight Loss
Although vitamin C doesn’t necessarily cause weight loss, it seems to be related to body weight. According to the review published in 2005 in the “Journal of the American College of Nutrition,” higher vitamin C intakes are associated with lower body-mass indexes. The authors of this review also point out that getting sufficient amounts of vitamin C increases body fat oxidation during moderate-intensity exercise. Therefore, vitamin C deficiency may hinder weight and body fat loss.
Sources of Vitamin C
The recommended dietary allowance for vitamin C is 90 milligrams daily for men and 75 milligrams per day for women, according to the Institute of Medicine. These amounts should be treated as minimum daily requirements. Vitamin C-rich foods include red peppers containing 95 milligrams in 1/2 cup, orange juice providing 93 milligrams on each 3/4-cup portion, a medium orange with 70 milligrams and one medium grapefruit supplying 64 milligrams of vitamin C, according to the Office of Dietary Supplements. Vitamin C is also a common nutrient found in multivitamins and other dietary supplements.
Too Much Vitamin C
More vitamin C isn’t always better, even when you’re trying to shed pounds. Ingesting too much vitamin C may affect the absorption of other nutrients — and could cause diarrhea, abdominal cramps and nausea, according to the Office of Dietary Supplements. To help avoid side effects and potential health risks, adults should aim to ingest no more than 2,000 milligrams of vitamin C daily. That includes vitamin C from food and drink, as well as supplements. You can consider IV sources of Vitamin C as it is included in IV formulations.
You won’t lose weight, even if you consume high amounts of vitamin C, if your overall caloric intake is higher than the number of calories you burn throughout the day. Eating vitamin C-rich, high-fiber fresh fruits and vegetables helps fill you up without the extra calories. To effectively shed about 2 pounds per week — the maximum recommended amount for long-term weight-loss success — eat 1,000 fewer calories than you burn off daily, suggests the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Stretch marks are wavy marks that appear on the skin due to rapid weight gain. Often, they occur during or after pregnancy, commonly appearing on the thighs, abdomen, hips and buttocks. Stretch marks may gradually fade, but can still remain visible. Certain vitamins may reduce or eliminate the appearance of stretch marks. Consult a physician before increasing your daily vitamin intake.
Vitamin A is thought to be useful in fading stretch marks. Applied topically, it can promote the growth of new skin cells, add elasticity and strengthen the skin. Vitamin A also may benefit the skin, reducing the appearance of wrinkles and acne. Vitamin A is available in supplement form and is present in yellow and green fruits and vegetables, animal livers and fish liver oils. Consult your doctor before increasing vitamin A intake if you are pregnant or suffer from liver disease or hypothyroidism.
Vitamin C aids in the restoration of the skinconnective tissue. It is available in supplement form and is found in foods, such as citrus fruits, green vegetables and broiled fish. Among possible side effects of vitamin C is diarrhea, which generally occurs as the result of too much in the body. You should consult a physician on the proper daily amount.
Vitamin E promotes the growth of new skin cells and builds firmness and elasticity in the skin. It's available in supplement form and can be found in whole grains, green leafy vegetables, almonds and mangoes, among other foods. Consult a doctor before taking vitamin E if you suffer from heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure or overactive thyroid. Those taking anticoagulants also should consult a physician before increasing vitamin E intake.
Cracked heels or heel fissures refer to the buildup of thick, dry skin on the heel of the foot and the consequential cracking of the skin. The fissures can be mild–consisting of dry, cracked skin on just the outer layers of the epidermis–or severe, affecting the internal layers of the dermis. Damage to the dermis layer can cause pain, discomfort and bleeding. An inadequate consumption of key vitamins and minerals can increase the risk and severity of cracked heels.
Vitamin A is generally associated with healthy vision, but it also plays an important role in maintaining and rejuvenating skin tissue. Vitamin A promotes cell division and growth, including the sloughing of skin cells that leads to smooth healthy skin. Carrots, milk, eggs, green vegetables and orange fruits are all good sources of vitamin A. The Institute of Medicine’s (IOM’s) Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for vitamin A is 700mcg and 900mcg for adult women and men, respectively.
Vitamin E works to protect skin cells from harmful free radicals produced by the body and other environmental sources, such as the sun. As an antioxidant, vitamin E keeps skin cells healthy and smooth. It can be found in foods such as green vegetables, nuts, fortified cereals and whole-grain products. The RDA for vitamin E is 15mg daily.
Like vitamin E, vitamin C protects the skin from free radicals. Free radicals destroy the skin’s structural support of collagen and elastin fibers and cause wrinkles or cracks in the skin. Vitamin C is found in citrus fruits and green-leafy vegetables. According to the IOM, only 75mg to 90mg of the vitamin is needed by the adult body daily. However, most adults consume much larger amounts of this vitamin.
Zinc provides enzymes that benefit skin cells in multiple ways. Zinc facilitates cell division, growth and wound healing. It’s widely distributed in foods, but high amounts of zinc are found in oysters, red meats, seafood, poultry, whole grains and fortified cereals. The RDA for zinc is 11mg for men and 8mg for women daily.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
The body doesn’t naturally produce omega-3 fatty acids, yet they are essential to the human body and must come from the diet. They help with blood circulation, wound healing, skin integrity and reduce inflammation. Omega-3 fatty acids come in three types: eicosapentaenic acid (EPA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). EPA and DHA are obtained by eating cold-water fish. ALA comes from plant oils and seeds such as flaxseeds. The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends the general public consume at least two servings (3.5 oz per serving) of fatty fish such as canned tuna, shrimp, halibut, pollock and catfish weekly.
However, if you are an endurance athlete, excess ORAL vitamin C hampers muscle generation:
Oral administration of vitamin C decreases muscle mitochondrial biogenesis and training induced adaptations in endurance performance
Vitamin C administration significantly hampers
endurance capacity in rats and does not improve
V˙ O2max associated with training in rats and in humans
ROS formed in exercise activated the expression of
antioxidant enzymes in skeletal muscle, but vitamin C
administration prevents the activation
ROS formed in exercise activated mitochondrial
biogenesis in skeletal muscle, but vitamin C
administration prevents the activation
Vitamin C administration during training decreases the
protein concentrations of markers of mitochondrial
One of the main conclusions from that
study was that the mitochondrial content of muscle is a major determinant of endurance capacity, whereas the maximal aerobic
workload capacity appears to be regulated by V˙O2max (21). We
offer a molecular explanation for this result (ie, that vitamin C
decreases exercise-induced mitochondrial biogenesis and the antioxidant
capacity in skeletal muscle). We have found that exercise
training up-regulates the following mitochondriogenic pathway:
PGC-13 NRF-13 mTFA3 cytochrome C. All of these
adaptations are prevented by vitamin C administration.
Free radicals as signals in muscle cell metabolism:
potential interference by antioxidant vitamins.
It is important to consider that free radicals are not always
damaging to cells; in many cases, they serve as signals to adapt
muscle cells to exercise via modulation of gene expression (9,
33). We have found that training causes an increase in 2 major
antioxidant enzymes (Mn-SOD and GPx) in skeletal muscle. We
were surprised to see that vitamin C prevents these beneficial
effects of training. On the basis of the paradigm that enzymatic
antioxidant systems such as Mn-SOD and GPx provide a firstline
defense against ROS, it is expected that exercise may induce
these protective mechanisms. Moderate exercise increases life
span and decreases disability in rats (12) and humans (15). We
report here that exercise training causes an increase in the expression of antioxidant enzymes, which is prevented by the
administration of vitamin C.
Moderate exercise as an antioxidant
A major conclusion that can be drawn from our experiments is
that exercise itself is an antioxidant, because training increases
the expression of 2 antioxidant enzymes related with longevity—
namely, SOD and GPx. We provide evidence that the continuous
presence of small stimuli, such as low concentrations of ROS, in
fact induces the expression of antioxidant enzymes as a defense
mechanism. Low concentrations of radicals may be considered
to be beneficial, because they act as signals to enhance defenses,
rather than being deleterious, as they can be when they are at