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Can Vitamins Cause Urinary Problems

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What Causes Urinary Tract Infections

Can vitamin supplements cause kidney problems ?

Normal urine is sterile and contains fluids, salts, and waste products. It does not contain bacteria, viruses, or fungi. A UTI occurs when germs, most often bacteria from the digestive tract, get into the opening of the urethra and start to multiply.

Most UTIs are caused by E. coli bacteria, which normally live in the colon.

Taking Supplements In High Doses May Lead To Kidney Stones

Excess vitamin C is excreted from the body as oxalate, a bodily waste product.

Oxalate typically exits the body via urine. However, under some circumstances, oxalate may bind to minerals and form crystals that can lead to the formation of kidney stones .

Consuming too much vitamin C has the potential to increase the amount of oxalate in your urine, thus increasing the risk of developing kidney stones .

In one study that had adults take a 1,000-mg vitamin C supplement twice daily for 6 days, the amount of oxalate they excreted increased by 20% .

High vitamin C intake is not only associated with greater amounts of urinary oxalate but also linked to the development of kidney stones, especially if you consume amounts greater than 2,000 mg (


Consuming too much vitamin C may increase the amount of oxalate in your kidneys, which has the potential to lead to kidney stones.

Vitamin C May Cause The Death Of Certain Bacteria

Many of the bacterial species that cause UTIs are known to convert nitrate into another chemical called nitrite. You might recognise this if youve used urine dipstick tests .

I used to use those home urine dipstick tests but they always said I didnt have a UTI because there were no nitrites in my urine. I later found out that not all UTIs cause there to be nitrites present, so I stopped using them.

Nitrate can be ingested in the foods we eat, but it is also produced within our own bodies, so its not something to worry about or try to avoid.

In an acidic environment, these nitrate-reducing bacteria take the nitrate found in our bodies and use it to produce nitric oxide, a very reactive chemical. The creation of this reactive nitric oxide also brings about their own death.

This is where vitamin C for UTI comes in. Vitamin C, also called ascorbic acid, is believed to create an acidic environment, triggering the production of nitric oxide, and thereby causing the bacteria present to end their own existence.

Although this is pretty cool to think about bacteria being responsible for their own death UTIs are also caused by a variety of other microorganisms that are not nitrate reducing.

Many of these may show a different response to vitamin C, so without knowing which organism is causing your UTI, you cant be sure whether vitamin C will help or hinder.

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Too Much Vitamin C May Cause Digestive Symptoms

The most common side effect of high vitamin C intake is digestive distress.

In general, these side effects do not occur from eating foods that contain vitamin C, but rather from taking the vitamin in supplement form.

Youre most likely to experience digestive symptoms if you consume more than 2,000 mg at once. Thus, a tolerable upper limit of 2,000 mg per day has been established (


Ingesting more than 2,000 mg of vitamin C per day may lead to gastrointestinal upset, including symptoms like diarrhea and nausea.

Vitamin C is known to enhance iron absorption.

It can bind to non-heme iron, which is found in plant foods. Non-heme iron is not absorbed by your body as efficiently as heme iron, the type of iron found in animal products .

Vitamin C binds with non-heme iron, making it much easier for your body to absorb. This is an important function, especially for individuals who get most of their iron from plant-based foods .

One study in adults found that iron absorption increased by 67% when they took 100 mg of vitamin C with a meal .

However, individuals with conditions that increase the risk of iron accumulation in the body, such as hemochromatosis, should be cautious with vitamin C supplements.

Under these circumstances, taking vitamin C in excess may lead to iron overload, which can cause serious damage to your heart, liver, pancreas, thyroid, and central nervous system .

What The Vitamin C Research Tells Us

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Vitamin C studies:

4. The influence of some amino acids, vitamins and anti-inflammatory drugs on activity of chondroitinase produced by Proteus vulgaris caused urinary tract infection

What was tested:

  • Whether the nitrate-reducing ability itself is necessary to bring about bacterial death. This was an in vitro study .
  • Whether the addition of vitamin C to nitrate-reducing bacteria kills them. This was an in vitro study.
  • Whether vitamin C for urinary tract infection helps reduce symptoms and prevents positive results in urine culture tests, in pregnant women. This was done in real humans.
  • Whether vitamin C enhances the ability of a bacterium to damage the protective chemicals found in the bladder wall. This was an in vitro study using live bacteria isolated from humans.

What was found:

  • Nitrate-reducing bacteria were killed by the addition of vitamin C in vitro. Vitamin C made conditions more acidic, and this caused the production of nitric oxide. Nitric oxide caused the death of these bacteria. Mutant bacteria were not vulnerable to vitamin C/acid attack.
  • Allowing the bacteria to grow in an acid-free, nitrate-rich environment before vitamin C was added, enhanced the killing.
  • Vitamin C appeared to be effective in reducing symptoms and positive results in urine culture tests, in pregnant women.
  • In one in vitro study, vitamin C appeared to increase the ability of a particular bacterium to damage the bladder wall.

What you need to know:

Summary of the science:

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Excessive Urination And Vitamin D

Vitamin D is fat soluble, meaning that, unlike some vitamins, it can’t be excreted through urination. If you take too much, it can cause your blood to retain calcium and lead to a health condition known as hypercalcemia or excessive levels of calcium in your blood, which can lead to frequent urination. Other early warning signs of hypercalcemia include:

  • A loss of appetite
  • Confusion, disorientation or trouble thinking

Hypercalcemia happens when you have 10.4 milligrams of calcium per deciliter of blood. That may not seem like a lot, but it’s enough to cause problems. Too much vitamin D can also cause your bones to release calcium into the bloodstream, which may affect bone health. If you have these symptoms and suspect high levels of vitamin D, see a doctor. You may simply have to cut back on vitamin D, limit your calcium intake and be diligent about drinking water.

Vitamins For An Overactive Bladder

Even though urinary bladder is a muscular sac situated in the pelvis, it does not actually play a primary role as a reservoir for urine. The urinary bladder only grabs attention when it needs to be emptied, has got inflamed, or is infected and causes pain or discomfort. The kidneys produce urine which gets transported to the bladder via a pair of tubes. This is where the urine is actually stored, with the bladder expanding to accommodate the urine inflow. This storage function is supported by the presence of layers of muscle tissue which line the urinary bladder, allowing it to expand when urine begins to fill the sac. The urinary bladder is susceptible to many medical conditions which can range from being annoying to worthy of immediate medical attention. Overactive Bladder is a condition which occurs when the bladder is unable to function normally. An overactive bladder triggers a sudden urge to urinate and can also result in an involuntary loss of urine. A number of factors like stretched or weak pelvic muscles, bladder diseases, chronic urinary tract infections, diabetes, an enlarged prostate, or obesity can lead to an overactive bladder.

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Balancing Minerals In The Body

Minerals such as calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and potassium are common ingredients in multivitamin supplements. These compounds are inorganic and do not break down in the body like vitamins. However, they often pass in urine like water-soluble vitamins.

Minerals often interact with each other in a delicate balance. Too much of one compound can result in a deficiency of another mineral. Calcium binds to sodium and is excreted in greater quantities when you consume a lot of salt. Potassium is also readily passed in urine.

How Much Vitamin C Is Too Much

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Since vitamin C is water-soluble and your body excretes excess amounts of it within a few hours after you consume it, its quite difficult to consume too much.

In fact, it is nearly impossible for you to get too much vitamin C from your diet alone. In healthy people, any extra vitamin C consumed above the recommended daily amount simply gets flushed out of the body .

To put it in perspective, you would need to consume 29 oranges or 13 bell peppers before your intake reached the tolerable upper limit (

19 ).

All the adverse effects of vitamin C, including digestive distress and kidney stones, appear to occur when people take it in mega doses greater than 2,000 mg .

If you choose to take a vitamin C supplement, it is best to choose one that contains no more than 100% of your daily needs. Thats 90 mg per day for men and 75 mg per day for women .


Its nearly impossible to consume too much vitamin C from food. However, if youre supplementing with this vitamin, you can minimize your risk of getting too much by taking no more than 90 mg per day if youre a man, or 75 mg per day if youre a woman.

Vitamin C is generally safe for most people.

This is especially true if you get it from foods, rather than supplements.

Individuals who take vitamin C in supplement form are at greater risk of consuming too much of it and experiencing side effects, the most common of which are digestive symptoms.

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Vitamin A For An Overactive Bladder

Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin, which helps to improve immune system function, and decrease the risk of interstitial cystitis, bladder infections and bladder cancer.

According to medical experts, vitamin A also helps in the healing process, supports bladder health, repairs bladder damage, prevents urine leakage, strengthens weak pelvic muscles and reduces bladder inflammation. The RDI of vitamin A for men and women are 900 mcg and 700 mcg, respectively. Cod liver oil, milk, butter, eggs, baked sweet potatoes, broccoli, mangoes, squash, raw carrots, canned pumpkin and spinach are some vitamin A rich foods which can be consumed to overcome the problem of overactive bladder.

Vitamin C And Bladder Infections

**Vitamin C is an essential nutrient that supports your health in many ways.

** It helps support immune system function and prevents bacteria from reproducing, so this nutrient can potentially help to prevent or resolve bladder infections. However, using vitamin C for UTI treatment hasn’t been well studied clinical trials using this nutrient for bladder infections are limited and have had mixed results.

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Does Too Much Vitamin C Cause Side Effects

Vitamin C is a very important nutrient thats abundant in many fruits and vegetables.

Getting enough of this vitamin is especially important for maintaining a healthy immune system. It also plays an important role in wound healing, keeping your bones strong, and enhancing brain function .

Interestingly, some claim that vitamin C supplements provide benefits beyond those that can be obtained from the vitamin C found in food.

One of the most common reasons people take vitamin C supplements is the idea that they help prevent the common cold .

However, many supplements contain extremely high amounts of the vitamin, which can cause undesirable side effects in some cases.

This article explores the overall safety of vitamin C, whether its possible to consume too much, and the potential adverse effects of taking large doses.

Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin, which means it dissolves in water.

In contrast to fat-soluble vitamins, water-soluble vitamins do not get stored within the body.

Instead, the vitamin C that you consume gets transported to your tissues via body fluids, and any extra gets excreted in urine .

Since your body does not store vitamin C or produce it on its own, its important to consume foods that are rich in vitamin C daily .

However, supplementing with high amounts of vitamin C can lead to adverse effects, such as digestive distress and kidney stones.

Healthy Diet And Vitamin C

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You should be aware that the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends consuming a varied, balanced diet 1. ** This means incorporating fruits and vegetables that are rich in other nutrients but have lower amounts of vitamin C. For instance, a medium-sized baked potato has 17 milligrams of vitamin C and 1/2 cup of spinach has just 9 milligrams of vitamin C, but these foods have larger amounts of other nutrients.

If youre trying to consume a lot of vitamin C without supplements but still want to follow the Dietary Guidelines recommendations, it might be best to consume some fortified products rather than eating only plant-based products that are rich in vitamin C. Otherwise, you may need to change your consumption of macronutrients so that youre not ingesting more than the recommended amount of calories or carbohydrates.

If youre trying to maximize your vitamin C consumption so that it all comes from natural sources, you should be aware that this nutrient has a tendency to degrade. The vitamin C content of foods tends to decline when they’re exposed to heat or stored for long periods of time.

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The Problems With Vitamin C For Uti

Youll generally find that doctors cant promote vitamin C as a UTI remedy because of the limited evidence of the studies.

Whilst vitamin C is a natural chemical, it is still a chemical, like everything else, and its use may have unknown side effects.

Because we dont know exactly how taking vitamin C for UTI works, we also dont know if it is truly helping, or even how safe it is in the long term.

It is possible that vitamin C only attacks particular species of bacteria, and therefore may only help in some cases. In reality, we know very little about its effect on the many other microorganisms found in the urinary tract.

This is why its so important to find out whats causing your UTI.

Because of these uncertainties, we dont know what the best dose of vitamin C is, nor how often it should be taken, let alone whether it works.

And when it comes to a chronic bladder infection, treatment with vitamin C may not be wise. Any potential benefit from the temporary relief of symptoms could be offset by other issues that arise.

What Are The Symptoms Of A Urinary Tract Infection

These are the most common symptoms of a UTI:

  • Frequent urination
  • Pain or burning when passing urine
  • Fever
  • Urine looks dark, cloudy, or reddish in color
  • Urine smells bad
  • Feeling pain even when not urinating
  • Tiredness
  • Pain in the back or side, below the ribs
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Despite an strong urge to urinate, only a small amount of urine is passed
  • Women may feel an uncomfortable pressure above the pubic bone

The symptoms of UTI may look like other conditions or medical problems. Always see a health care provider for a diagnosis.

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Vitamins That Irritate The Bladder

While some vitamins can help with bladder health, its important to know that others can worsen your symptoms if you have bladder troubles.Nonetheless, some vitamins you may wish to avoid are:

  • Vitamin C many patients with interstitial cystitis report that taking a Vitamin C supplement causes bladder flares and trigger a need to go in women. However, Vitamin C found naturally in food doesnt appear to cause issues
  • Iron supplements excess iron can cause constipation, which puts pressure on the bladder, causing leaks and discomfort1
  • -cryptoxanthin this is a vitamin found in food such as tangerines, red peppers and pumpkin.2 In a 2016 study, it was found to worsen voiding symptoms in individuals with lower urinary tract symptoms3
  • Any vitamin buffered with aspartame may increase urinary frequency and urgency4

iD would recommend you speak to a doctor before making changes to your diet or taking supplements.

What Can I Do If I Have Bladder Pain From Foods

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Living with bladder irritation can be uncomfortable. But you can take steps to remove irritants from your diet and reduce pain. Avoid foods that irritate your bladder, and remember that water is important. Drinking enough water helps you feel more comfortable after you eat foods that irritate your bladder.

A note from Cleveland Clinic

Bladder discomfort can be frustrating and even embarrassing. Conditions like IC can make you feel like you need to pee even after youve already gone to the bathroom, and your bladder can hurt a lot. But you can get help to reduce irritation. Talk to your healthcare provider about your bladder irritation and possible food and drink causes.

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Other Causes Of Frequent Urination

If you find yourself urinating 20 times a day or more and you haven’t had any diuretics, it might be a sign of a more serious condition, and you should consult a doctor.

ACE inhibitors, antidepressants and sedatives can cause frequent urination, and so can Type 1 diabetes. Your risk of having increased urination is increased with lower urinary tract symptoms, age and a family history of incontinence.

Prostate cancer in men and pelvic or bladder cancer in both sexes can cause frequent urination. On the other hand, something as harmless as pregnancy can cause it. To be safe, see your doctor if you experience unusual symptoms.

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