Vitamin A Reduces Urinary Tract Symptoms in Men

Summary
Earlier research has shown that “lower urinary tract symptoms” (LUTS) occurring in males could be associated with vitamins and other nutrients. These nutrients may prevent “oxidative damage or cell growth and differentiation.” This study was conducted to see if nutrients like vitamins A and C and other nutrients could aggravate or prevent symptoms of lower urinary tract infections in men. It was concluded that men taking more Vitamin A and dietary carotenoids had a 40% to 50% lower risk rate of LUTS symptoms. Furthermore, a higher iron and vitamin C intake led to an improvement in symptoms of LUTS. Results demonstrate that altering intake of carotenoids and vitamin C impacts a man’s LUTS.

Introduction
LUTS is highly frequent and can often be acutely disabling for men. Pathological processes like oxidative damage are often associated with symptoms of LUTS in men. However the theory that antioxidants like Vitamin C can help prevent LUTS, does not prove effective at all times. In fact, some studies have shown that too much supplemental Vitamin C in the diet can also worsen symptoms of LUTS. The role of vitamin A and nutrients like carotenoids in LUTS has also not been clearly studied before. This study was undertaken to explore the actual relation of intake of dietary and supplemental micronutrients on LUTS.

Methodology

  • The study included 1466 men with ages ranging from 30 to 79 years. It was a part of the Boston Area Community Health (BACH) survey.
  • The participants were asked to answer extensive questionnaires to detect their regular diet and supplemental intake.
  • Questionnaires were also given to them to rate their LUTS symptoms according to approved scoring systems.

Results

  • 19.2% of the 1466 men had “moderate-to-severe” LUTS
  • Greater consumption of lycopene, b-carotene, total carotenoid, or vitamin A in the diet reduces the risk of LUTS symptoms by 40% to 50%.
  • However, smokers who consumed high b-carotene in their diet had worse symptoms of LUTS.
  • Vitamin C supplement intake of over 250mg per day raised the risk of symptoms of LUTS. However, men who consumed moderate-to-high amounts of iron along with Vitamin C improved on symptoms like impaired voiding of the bladder.

Shortcomings
Authors agree that since this study did not follow the participants over a longer period, but studied them only for one instance, they may have missed the actual causal link between Vitamins A, C, iron and LUTS. Also many participants may have changed their diets once they developed LUTS. This could also have skewed the results. The intake of some nutrients were assumed from the questionnaires and the actual values were also assumed. Further research is needed to confirm if high doses of Vitamin C and acidity of urine could be linked to LUTS symptoms.

 

Conclusion
This study shows that “men consuming more b-carotene, lycopene, or vitamin A from their diets were less likely to report LUTS.” Interpreting these results clinically, authors “provide support to recommendations for increased fruit and vegetable consumption, particularly those rich in carotenoids and vitamin C, as these may have benefits that extend to moderate-to-severe LUTS in men.” Understanding this could mean introduction of smaller, reasonable lifestyle adjustments could prevent and treat LUTS in the public health sphere. The findings indicate that for some men, LUTS could be improved by modifying urine composition through adjustments in the use of supplements in high doses.

For More Information:
Dietary but Not Supplemental Intakes of Carotenoids and Vitamin C Are Associated with Decreased Odds of Lower Urinary Tract Symptoms in Men
The Journal of Nutrition, December 2010
By Nancy N. Maserejian; Edward L. Giovannucci
From the New England Research Institutes, Watertown, Massachusetts, and the Department of Nutrition and Department of Epidemiology, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts

*FYI Living Lab Reports Are Summaries of the Original Research.
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