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Woman suffering from urinary discomfort

Which supplement should you take for urinary health?

Problems urinating, urinary infections, an overactive bladder … there are so many sources of urinary discomfort. Which supplement should you choose to reduce recurring and incapacitating discomfort of this kind?

What are the main causes of urinary discomfort?

Urinary discomfort in women: cystitis is often to blame

In women, a urinary infection or cystitis is one of the main causes of urinary discomfort. It typically presents as a frequent need to urinate small amounts, a burning sensation when urinating, and sometimes cloudy and foul-smelling urine (1).

Cystitis is usually caused by E. coli bacteria migrating from the large intestine to the urinary tract (2). It occurs more frequently in women for anatomical reasons: the female urethra is shorter and the anus is very close to the urinary meatus.

Urinary discomfort in men: the importance of the prostate

Male urinary discomfort is often connected with the prostate. Located below the bladder, this gland tends to enlarge with age, sometimes to the point of compressing the urinary organs; this is referred to as benign prostatic hyperplasia (3). It causes, amongst others, difficulty urinating, a weak and irregular urine flow, or a feeling of incomplete emptying of the bladder.

‘Mixed’ causes

Urinary health can sometimes be impaired by other factors, common to both sexes:

  1. an overactive bladder, characterised by a repeated urge to urinate (day or night) and a sudden and overwhelming need to do so. More common with age, it is exacerbated by consumption of stimulants, pregnancy and the menopause (4).
  2. urinary incontinence, which is the involuntary loss of urine through the urethra. It is precipitated by ageing, an overactive bladder or physiological changes (pelvic organ prolapse, prostate surgery ...) (5)

Urinary health and cranberry: a match made in heaven

The cranberry is a small red berry native to North America. Traditionally used by native Americans to treat urinary infections, it has for several decades been the focus of many research studies (6).

Cranberry contains type A proanthocyanidins, tannins which are thought to make the environment ‘slippery’ for urinary tract bacteria, thus preventing them from sticking to the bladder walls (7). Scientists have thus investigated its preventive potential in women prone to recurrent cystitis (8).

For women who regularly suffer such problems, cranberry supplementation is well worth trying (for example, Cran-Max®, standardised to 7.2% type A proanthocyanidins and benefiting from Bio-Shield® delayed-release technology for maximum absorption).

Supplementing with cranberry alone represents an excellent option, but combining it with various synergistic compounds broadens its scope of action further. Among the best combinations are:

  1. D-mannose: this monosaccharide encourages urinary tract bacteria to detach from the bladder epithelium and adhere to it instead, facilitating elimination via urine (9);
  2. orthosiphon, or Java tea: its leaves have been popular in Indian medicine for centuries for treating lower urinary tract infections, due to their ability to increase urine volume (10-11);
  3. hibiscus flowers: several studies have attempted to clarify the effects of this revitalising plant on renal elimination and urinary tract asepsis (12);
  4. dandelion leaf: considered a natural diuretic in herbal medicine, its traditional use for “stimulating urine production” is recognised by the World Health Organization (13).

In some dietary supplements targeted at urinary health, all these substances are combined in a single formulation (such as U Tract Forte, in which the efficacy of Cran-Max® is combined with the multiple benefits of D-mannose, orthosiphon, hibiscus and dandelion).

The best supplement for urinary health

What should you expect the ultimate urinary health supplement to contain? A combination of targeted nutrients covering all organs of the urinary system, from the kidneys to the bladder (including, for men, the prostate).

The supplement Complete Uricare kills three birds with one stone by bringing together no less than 8 ingredients targeted at fighting urinary discomfort in the broadest sense of the term. In addition to the above-mentioned D-mannose, it contains, amongst others:

  1. pumpkin seed: hitherto used in Central America for kidney inflammation, it has since been the subject of increasing scientific research into urination disorders, irritable bladder and prostate enlargement (14-15) ;
  2. berberine: better-known for its effect on glucose metabolism, this plant is also attracting scientific interest for its potential to combat pathogens (16) ;
  3. angelica: this supports the health of the genitourinary system as a result of its antiseptic compounds (furocoumarins, phytosterols...) (17) ;
  4. zinc: this essential trace-element supports normal immune system function, especially in the urinary tract (18) ;
  5. varuna (Crataeva nurvala): this Ayurvedic medicine plant plays a role in prostate health. Studies have also examined its protective action against urinary stones (19-20).

Bonus: supplements targeted at male urinary health

In the particular case of prostate-linked urinary discomfort, certain plants can significantly improve the situation for male sufferers. They include:

  • saw palmetto: while its mechanism of action has yet to be fully established, it is known to support healthy urinary function in cases of prostate enlargement (21) ;
  • nettle root: this benefits prostate health most probably by interfering with hormone secretions, including the testosterone-to-dihydrotestosterone conversion involved in benign prostatic hyperplasia (22) ;
  • pygeum Africanum: this supports the health of the prostate, bladder and lower urinary tract, primarily through a decongestant action which reduces residual urine volume (and the urgent need to urinate) (23).

Because of their complementary nature, you’ll often find these three extracts combined in supplements (such as ProstaNatural Formula which also contains zinc and betasterols for an enhanced action).



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  2. Mao BH, Chang YF, Scaria J, Chang CC, Chou LW, Tien N, Wu JJ, Tseng CC, Wang MC, Chang CC, Hsu YM, Teng CH. Identification of Escherichia coli genes associated with urinary tract infections. J Clin Microbiol. 2012 Feb;50(2):449-56. doi: 10.1128/JCM.00640-11. Epub 2011 Nov 9. PMID: 22075599; PMCID: PMC3264149.
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