Diet and Supplementation

Diet and Supplementation

Diet is an important factor in both types of cystitis. At the first sign of a bladder infection, stop eating acid foods. Normally, urine is acid and tests show that cystitis patients' urine is acid when it leaves the kidneys. However, the urine of people with both types of cystitis becomes alkaline in the bladder. In the case of common cystitis, bacteria in the bladder make the urine alkaline in the process of multiplying. Acid foods actually feed the bacteria. With interstitial cystitis, the urine becomes alkaline as a result of interacting with tissue cells as it breaks down the protective lining of the bladder. It is the burning action of the acid urine in the bladder that causes feelings of irritation. In both cases a breakdown of the protective lining of the bladder is taking place but the degree of progression is greater with IC.

In addition to acid foods, foods containing an abundance of tyrosine, tryptophan, and aspartate should be avoided. These amino acids are precursors to neurotransmitters which in excess cause hypersensitivity in the bladder. We include lists of both acid foods and foods high in the offending amino acids. We have also included Dr. Gillespie's suggestions for the steps to take when or if you experience symptoms of bladder irritation.

Back in the days when I was experiencing bladder infections, I learned that I could sometimes knock them out with large amounts of water once I caught on to the commencement of symptoms. Now I would immediately follow steps 1-3, and if my symptoms weren't abated by within 24 hours, I would go to step 4. DO NOT LET THESE INFECTIONS PROCEED. They can become extremely painful, eventually involving your kidneys too. Talk to your doctor about Dr. Gillespie's one day approach to antibiotics, and follow up the course with your own course in probiotics (liquid acidophilus, probiotic capsules, or plain yogurt).

What about cranberry juice? For many years the rationale for drinking cranberry juice was to acidify the urine. (Not!) Recent research indicates that cranberries inhibit the ability of bacteria to adhere to the tissues of the bladder and urethra. If they can't hold on, they can't multiply, an action similar to a certain class of antibiotics. This indicates that cranberry juice or capsules can be useful for common cystitis. It is not useful for persons with interstitial cystitis and will only exacerbate symptoms. Michael Murray recommends 1 pint of unsweetened juice daily. However, cranberries in supplement form seem far more palatable.

The use of goldenseal for the treatment of infections is well documented. Happily, it works better in alkaline urine. Use 1/4-1/2 teaspoon in a cup of water 3 times daily. Maintain a fluid intake of 10 cups daily, completing your fluids with water.

Vitamin and mineral intake continues as usual. However, women with interstitial cystitis should not take vitamins which have been buffered with aspartame (NutraSweet(TM)) nor B vitamins (neurotransmitter acceleration), except B(6).

Nutrition News.

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