Is Vitamin C for UTIs Beneficial, or Is It Just a Myth?

Aarohi Batra
Medically reviewed by
Dr. Kaushal

Review medical content on WOW Rx Pharmacy, so that accurate drug use information is easily accessible to everybody.
Dr. Akansha is a licensed Clinical Pharmacologist. She possesses remarkable knowledge in Pharmacovigilance, prescription analysis, drug information, and drug safety services. Additionally, she is a keen learner and an educator.

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vitamin c for uti

Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) are generally treated with the profound use of antibiotics that inhibit bacterial growth and treat the condition.

However, over the course of time, the pathogen can become resistant and keep on growing. It becomes difficult to kill it and treat the disease.

Due to this reason, there is a requirement for alternative medicines or supplements, such as Vitamin C (Ascorbic acid), to treat and stop recurrent UTI cases in patients.

In this article, we will deeply understand the benefits and side effects of Vitamin C for UTIs to ensure a disease-free life.

Does Vitamin C help with UTIs

Vitamin C can be helpful in treating concurrent UTIs among women.

However, the researchers have conflicting opinions about using Vitamin C for treating UTIs.

The only large scientific study (other than rats) was conducted on 110 pregnant women given Vitamin C for three months, reducing the symptomatic UTIs from 29.1% to 12.7%.

Moreover, conventional antibiotics can improve the antimicrobial action and prevent UTIs when used with Vitamin C.

How is Vitamin C effective for UTIs

The ability of Vitamin C to prevent UTIs is rigorously under research.

Vitamin C has some properties that may play a key role in preventing bacterial growth and maintaining a healthy microbiome.

The properties of Vitamin C for UTIs are:

Water soluble

Vitamin C is water soluble and, therefore, safe even if it is found in large quantities in dietary supplements.

It is generally associated with the tendency to get eliminated with the urine. As it makes its way to the urine, it may directly act on the pathogen.

However, more research is needed to know its effect on UTIs.

The acidic pH of urine

Vitamin C is known to create an acidic environment by triggering the production of Nitric Oxide and thus can kill the infection-causing bacteria.

In simple words, many bacterial species that cause UTIs are recognized to convert Nitrates to Nitrites.

Further, these bacteria reduce the Nitrates to a more reactive compound called Nitric Oxide.

Vitamin C enables the production of oxide and thus can prevent UTIs. 

Anti-biofilm effect against pathogens

Vitamin C also possesses anti-biofilm action toward the bacteria Escherichia coli in urine that causes UTIs.

In vivo (in the glass) experiments have shown that Vitamin C has rapid curative effects as compared to antibiotics.

Also, the combined effect of Vitamin C and antibiotics for UTIs in rats has found much better results.

Antimicrobial

Vitamin C also has direct antimicrobial effects. 

The most common strain that causes UTIs, E. coli, is inhibited by the effect of vitamins.

Thus, it may be beneficial in treating UTIs.

Fact:
In addition to its benefits, Vitamin C helps treat Anemia, aids in fat loss, and can prevent pulmonary and breast cancer.

Food that contains Vitamin C

Grapefruit and Grapefruit juiceSource: vasiliybudarinphotos
Grapefruit juice

Food that contains Vitamin C and are beneficial for treating or preventing UTIs are:

  • Grapefruit
  • Strawberry
  • Red pepper
  • Oranges
  • Kiwifruit
  • Yogurt
Recommended Article
Read Exploring Alternative Approaches: Effective UTI Treatment Without Antibiotics to learn about other ways to treat UTI naturally.

Dosage of Vitamin C for UTIs

According to The National Academy of Science and NIH, the following is the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) of Vitamin C:

  • Men above 19 years: 90 mg daily
  • Women above 19 years: 75 mg daily
  • Pregnant women: 85 mg daily
  • Breastfeeding women: 120 mg daily
  • Smokers: 35 mg beyond the RDA

The Upper Intake level (UL) of Vitamin C is the maximum intake of the Vitamin. The UL of Vitamin C is 2000 mg daily.

The intake level beyond UL may cause problems.

Side effects of Vitamin C for UTIs

Nausea might be the side effect of the medicationSource: Africa_images
Nausea

The most common side effect due to an overdose of Vitamin C is gastrointestinal distress and diarrhea. 

The other side effects may include:

  • Weakness
  • Joint pain
  • Weight loss
  • Painful urination
  • Blood in urine
  • Chills and fever
  • Stomach pain
  • Nausea and vomiting
Warning:
Consult your doctor on facing the side effects mentioned above, as delaying may cause more serious problems.

Conclusion

Vitamin C can be an effective approach for the treatment of recurrent Urinary Tract Infections. 

However, researchers have conflicting opinions about the usefulness of Vitamin C in this regard, and due to less scientific evidence, it becomes more challenging to accept this for active use.

The study to know its benefits is still under discussion. 

Vitamin C has some properties that can help to treat UTIs, such as its water-soluble nature, turning urine pH acidic, anti-biofilm effect, and anti-microbial action.

These benefits can be acquired by taking Vitamin C riched food, such as grapefruit, strawberries, etc.

There is a recommended amount of daily Vitamin C intake, and it depends upon the age of the person.

Due to its soluble nature, excess vitamin is naturally eliminated with urine. However, an overdose (greater than 2000 mg daily) may cause side effects.

Therefore, it is advised to visit your doctor to prevent serious complications.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is Vitamin C given in UTIs?

Vitamin C has some properties that can be beneficial in treating UTIs. Its anti-microbial and anti-biofilm effect inhibits the growth of infection-causing bacteria, thus preventing UTIs. Also, its ability to produce Nitric Oxide that turns the pH more acidic can be beneficial to kill the bacteria.

Does Vitamin C help with UTIs?

Vitamin C can be effective in treating recurrent UTIs in women. However, there are very few evidences to know its full potential. Still, few scientists believe that Vitamin C can cause low and acidic pH and thus prevent UTIs. Furthermore, it is effective in preventing UTIs in pregnant women.

How much Vitamin C should you take?

According to Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA), the fixed amount of daily Vitamin C intake based on age is 90 and 75 mg daily for adult men and women. Pregnant and breastfeeding women can take up to 85 and 120 mg daily. However, consult your doctor for the best advice.

What fruits have Vitamin C for UTI?

Fruits that contain Vitamin C and are beneficial for treating or preventing UTIs are grapefruits, strawberries, oranges, and kiwifruit. Additionally, you can consume yogurt, red peppers, and green leafy vegetables. Consult your nutritionist before consuming these food items. On facing any side effects, be sure to administer prescribed medicines.

Citations:
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