Posts tagged: vitamin c

Top 7 Home Remedies for Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)

Top 7 Home Remedies for Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)
Graphic © herbshealthhappiness.com

Urinary tract infection (UTI) is an infection that afflicts any structure of the urinary tract, a system consisting of the kidneys, ureters, bladder, and urethra responsible for producing, storing, and eventually eliminating urine – one of the body’s waste products. The patient suffers from pain in the pelvic area in women and in the rectal area in men. Painful urination accompanied with a burning sensation and a persistent urge to urinate are symptoms as well. Urine is passed frequently in small amounts and appears cloudy. Pain can be particularly severe or grave when infection is limited to the bladder. When infection has reached the kidneys, serious consequences can result. [1]

Escherichia coli and its strains are inhabitants of the colon and are in fact a normal part of the gut flora. Most of these bacteria come from fecal matter and can be unintentionally transferred to one’s bladder through certain lapses in hygiene. When they have traveled up to the urethra to the bladder, they can be the most common and primary cause of urinary tract infection. Other bacteria, viruses, or fungi can be rare causal agents too. Because of such, treatment is chiefly geared towards eliminating bacteria or other pathogens responsible for the infection. Antibiotics are hence the typical remedy. Nonetheless, there are a wide range of home remedies one can employ to help kill the bacteria, alleviate pain and bring comfort, and hasten the recovery. If one does not experience any relief or if symptoms become worse one or two days even after home remedies were tried, immediate medical care should be sought.

1. Fluids – Adequate hydration is associated with a reduction in urinary tract infection and may improve the results of antimicrobial therapy in UTI. [2] Drinking plenty of water can flush the UTI problem away. It aids in keeping the urine diluted and in flushing the bacteria out of the urinary tract. Washing out the pathogenic organisms would make it difficult for them to adhere to healthy cells. Fruit juices are noteworthy flavorful alternatives since they contain a number of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that are known to promote recovery of tissues and boost the immune system to get rid of the infection. “Bladder irritants” should be avoided however because they appear to only worsen the frequent urination that commonly comes with UTI. These include coffee, alcohol, and soft drinks.

2. Cranberry juice – A glass of unsweetened cranberry juice daily can bring a stop to your UTI problems. Cranberry juice has long been regarded as an effective preventive and treatment option for UTI. Cranberry products can be in different formulations, and extensive evaluation has been carried out to evidence the role of cranberry products in the management of UTI. As pointed out by two good-quality randomized clinical trials, cranberry products can reduce the incidence of symptomatic UTI at 12 months versus placebo in women. [3]

Now how does drinking cranberry juice help eliminate your UTI problem? It was once thought by scientists that cranberries protect the urinary tract against infection by making and maintaining the urine acidic. After all, cranberries are acidic in nature because of the diverse acidic compounds they contain, such as benzoic acid, citric acid, malic acid, and quinic acid. Such acidity of the urine makes the urinary tract a hostile environment for bad bacteria to dwell in and propagate. Recent studies now reveal that cranberries have antibacterial compounds called proanthocyanidins that prevent bacteria from sticking to the cells lining the urethra and bladder. These substances hence impair the ability of infection-causing bacteria to colonize and spread. [4]

3. Blueberries – Blueberries work in almost the same way as cranberries do with respect to UTI. Blueberries contain compounds that inhibit the adherence of bacteria to the tissues lining the urinary tract. They are also rich in antioxidants that boost the immune system. Take several sips of blueberry juice, or dash shredded blueberries over your morning oatmeal, or eat fresh blueberries.

4. Pineapple – Indulging in some cupfuls of pineapple chunks or drinking pineapple juice may provide health-promoting benefits that fight off the infection. The fruit is a rich source of vitaminC, which increases the acidity of urine to minimize bacterial growth and supports the immune system. In addition, a proteolytic (“protein-digesting”) enzyme called bromelain can be acquired from pineapples. Bromelain has anti-inflammatory properties that may relieve UTI symptoms.

What’s more interesting is that, according to a double-blind trial, bromelain makes antibiotics more effective against UTI among patients. In this trial, administration of antibiotics together with either of the enzymes bromelain or trypsin in combination (400 mg / day for two days) led to a resolution of infection among all those who had received the combination. [5]

5. Heat – Apply a warm compress to the lower abdomen right over the bladder to soothe the pain. The heat will help resolve the inflammation related to the infection. It will also promote blood flow to the area of infection and enhance healing. Note that heat should never be applied to broken and/or sensitive skin.

6. Baking Soda – Baking soda, or sodium bicarbonate, can serve as an inexpensive remedy for UTI. Many claim the effectiveness of consuming baking soda dissolved in water in improving the symptoms of UTI. The mechanisms however remain unclear. It is believe that baking soda reduces the pain or burning sensation associated with urination by making the urine more alkaline. When the urine becomes alkaline and hence less acidic, it does not irritate the already inflamed tissues as it is flushed through the urinary tract.

Add one teaspoon of baking soda to a cup or glass of water. Consume this solution once or twice daily. When one follows a low-sodium diet, especially for high blood pressure, it is best to consult first a physician prior to baking soda use. [6]

7. Vitamin C – Taking vitamin C, or ascorbic acid, increases the acidity of urine and consequently renders the urinary tract unsuitable for bacterial growth and multiplication. This is an equally effective alternative when cranberry juice or extract isn’t available. Natural sources of vitamin C include fruits such as cantaloupes, kiwi fruit, mango, papaya, pineapple, and watermelon and vegetables such as spinach, broccoli, tomatoes, and green and red peppers.

References:

[1] Mayo Clinic. “Urinary tract infection (UTI).” Retrieved 7 August 2013 from
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/urinary-tract-infection/DS00286

[2] Popkin B. M., D’Anci K. E., & Rosenberg I. H. (2010).Water, hydration and health. Nutrition
Reviews
, 68(8): 439-458. Retrieved 7 August 2013 from
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2908954/

[3] Jepson R. G., Mihaljevic L., & Craig J. (2004). Cranberries for preventing urinary tract infections.
Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 2: CD001321. Retrieved 7 August 2013 from
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15106157

[4] Guay D. R. (2009). Cranberry and urinary tract infections. Drugs, 69(7): 775-807. doi:
10.2165/00003495-200969070-00002. Retrieved 7 August 2013 from
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19441868

[5] Bromelain. University of Michigan Health System. Retrieved 7 August 2013 from
http://www.uofmhealth.org/health-library/hn-2817009#hn-2817009-uses

[6] Hennessy R. (2011). Sodium bicarbonate for urinary tract infections. Retrieved 7 August 2013 from
http://www.livestrong.com/article/477393-sodium-bicarbonate-for-urinary-tract-infections/

Liposomal Delivery Makes Supplements More Bioavailable

Liposomal Delivery Makes Supplements More Bioavailable
Graphic © herbshealthhappiness.com

Having a well-balanced diet is one of the key points in staying healthy. Coupled with regular exercise and good lifestyle choices, you can improve your quality of life and even extend it. However, there are nutrients that we still need to take supplements for, depending on the demands of our daily activities. If you work nights or have to deal with a compromised immune system, you may need to take additional Vitamin C supplements. However, studies have shown that Vitamin C is not highly bioavailable, meaning that it isn’t easily absorbed by the body. This is where liposomal technology steps in.

The Bioavailability Of Nutrients

In order to understand the concept of bioavailability, let’s take a look at Vitamin C. According to the Office of Dietary Supplements under the National Institutes of Health, Vitamin C or L-ascorbic acid (a water-soluble vitamin) plays an important role in boosting the body’s immunity and aiding in protein metabolism. However, they report that taking more Vitamin C actually hinders the body’s ability to absorb it. Roughly 70 to 90 percent of this vitamin is absorbed when taken at amounts of 30 to 180 mg per day (that’s low, compared to the typical stock dose of vitamin C in the drugstores, which is 500 mg). At amounts of more than 1 gram per day, absorption falls to less than 50 percent. [1]

That means that the bioavailability of Vitamin C is quite low. Bioavailability is therefore how much of a substance the body can absorb and process effectively. And Vitamin C is not alone; there are plenty of other nutrients that have low bioavailability, like iron which is only 14 to 18 percent bioavailable (even lower if you are on a vegetarian diet, where bioavailability of iron is 5 to 12%). [2]

The Answer: Liposomal Supplementation

The reason why many nutrients have low bioavailability is because of their inability to pass through the body’s multi-layered cell membranes. Liposomes, on the other hand are spherical vessels made of phospholipids, a component of the cell membrane, that make it easier for them to travel in an out of the cell. Using this principle, placing much-needed nutrients like vitamin C and iron in liposomes can greatly improve their bioavailability leading to better absorption by the body. [3]

Akbarzadeh, et. al. in 2013 published a study on liposomal delivery of pharmaceutical agents, concluding that liposomes provided excellent drug delivery to specific locations in the body. This led to better-targeted drug therapy and a significant reduction in drug toxicities and side effects. [3]

Again, this principle is used in several recent publications that focus on nutrient supplementation. According to Xu, et. al. in 2014, liposomal delivery of iron was better than regular oral supplementation of iron. The study used a rat model of exercise and found that the experimental group that was treated with liposomal iron had better red blood cell, serum iron, and liver iron levels. The researchers concluded that iron liposomes effectively managed iron deficiency in the test subjects with very minimal side effects. [4]

An older study in 2010 had very interesting results regarding liposomal supplementation. Most of the studies that focus on liposomes are limited to oral intake but Lee and Tsai focused on a different route. They found that coenzyme Q10, an antioxidant, was better absorbed topically when in a liposomal formulation. Coenzyme Q10 is also popularly used in cosmetics to help with skin health but bioavailability through topical applicant has always been low. The study reports that liposomal coenzyme Q10 is very promising in improving the absorption of this substance through the skin. [5]

Also in 2010, Mach, et. al. published a study in an anti-cancer journal that showed how liposomal formulations of curcumin, a spice that has significant anti-tumor and anti-inflammatory properties, were better absorbed by the body and had very low potential for drug interaction with chemotherapeutic medication. This suggests that liposomal formulations can also improve the bioavailability of natural extracts. [6]

If you are asking how much do liposomes improve bioavailability, the answer is it varies. Different studies have different results; different nutrients have different results. A study on capsaicin extract found that liposomal formulation improved bioavailability three-fold while a two-fold increase in bioavailability was seen in a study on ferric citrate. [7][8]

With numerous studies being done on the liposomal preparation of supplements, it cannot be denied how it is able to improve the bioavailability of numerous substances. From pharmaceutical products to natural supplements, liposomes are able to help the body absorb them better. The next time you want to include supplements in your diet, maybe take a look at liposomal formulations and see if they work for you.

References:

[1] Office of Dietary Supplements. Vitamin C. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminC-HealthProfessional/

[2] Office of Dietary Supplements. Iron. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Iron-HealthProfessional/

[3] Akbarzadeh, A., et. al. (2013). Liposome: classification, preparation, and applications. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3599573/

[4] Xu, Z., et. al. (2014). Encapsulation of iron in liposomes significantly improved the efficiency of iron supplementation in strenuously exercised rats. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25296704

[5] Lee, W. & Tsai, T. (2010). Preparation and characterization of liposomal coenzyme Q10 for in vivo topical application. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20635514

[6] Mach, C., et. al. (2010). Evaluation of liposomal curcumin cytochrome p450 metabolism. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20393001

[7] Zhu, Y., et. al. (2015). Improved oral bioavailability of capsaicin via liposomal nanoformulation: preparation, in vitro drug release and pharmacokinetics in rats. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25231341

[8] Yuan, L., et. al. (2016). Enhanced oral bioavailability and tissue distribution of ferric citrate through liposomal encapsulation. http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/19476337.2016.1221858