Upcoming Issue Highlights
Home Subscribe Advertise Sourcebook Free Product Info Home

Bladder Health

Bladder Health Bladder Health

Known to affect sleep, reduce quality of life, and be associated with depression in both men and women, lower urinary tract symptoms are a silent problem for many that natural ingredients can address.

Non-GMO Project

Bladder concerns are a hidden problem and much more prevalent than people realize. They can start early in life and often progressively worsen, said Tracey Seipel, ND, CEO of Seipel Group, Ashgrove, Queensland, Australia.

And bladder concerns are not openly discussed with doctors, health workers or even partners, Seipel added. “Many sufferers tolerate bladder issues in private and may stop socializing, exercising and traveling to cope. Because of the lack of public discussion, suffers incorrectly think they are alone in having a bladder problem, suffer in silence and, especially women, think it is part of their lot to put up with in life. They can become reclusive and isolated with a lowered quality of life and poor prognosis.”

“Because lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS) affect one in five adults, the condition cannot be ignored,” added Moran Werner Saido, Consumer Insight, IFF Health (New York). “LUTS are associated with lower urinary tract issues that can be caused by a variety of factors—those who are affected report a wide scope of moderate to severe conditions. Urinary incontinence (UI) and urinary frequency are common concerns, especially among older adults. UI affects up to 50 percent of older adults, which is about 600 million people around the world. It’s also two to three times more common in women than men.”

However, the bladder does not have to be a “mystery” organ and help is available for the many areas of bladder care.

A Concern for All Age Groups

Bladder concerns do not only affect older adults. Seipel pointed out that roughly 20 percent of 5-year-olds, 10 percent of 7-year-olds and 5 percent of 10-year-olds experience bedwetting (nocturnal enuresis). Boys tend to have more bedwetting and girls more incontinence and daytime bladder accidents.

She added that urinary tract infections (UTIs) are common in young women due to the shorter urethra or outflow tube. While approximately 50 percent of women experience a UTI once in their lifetime which will resolve and never reoccur, a fifth or more (10 percent women in total) will have repeat or chronic UTIs. UTIs peak in young women in their 20s to 30s, decline with age but then increase again in the elderly (30 percent over age 85 and again more in females) due to weaker bladder and pelvic floor function.

“Research shows repeat UTIs can be the cause of cystitis (bladder inflammation) but increasingly research shows a weakened urinary membrane defense and bladder oversensitivity, interstitial cystitis (IC) or bladder pain syndrome (BPS) can result from recurring UTIs,” Seipel said. Interstitial (non-bacterial cystitis/bladder pain syndrome) affects up to 6.5 percent women and does not respond to antibiotics as there is no infection involved. “UTI and chronic UTI/IC is more than simply a bacterial infection to be treated; it needs a holistic approach to support overall urinary health, protection and prevention supporting the bladder membrane defense, bladder and pelvic floor muscle function and collagen and connective tissue health,” she added.

Overactive bladder (OAB) affects up to 17 percent of the adult population (men and women almost equally) with the hallmark feature of the need to rush to the toilet with little or no warning. Nocturia (night-time urination) is also a key feature of OAB and in older men often OAB is causing their nocturia and not their prostate.

UI affects up to 20 percent of the population or more than 58 million Americans, according to the NIH (National Institutes of Health). More women experience the main forms of incontinence, (i.e., stress UI, urgency UI or a mixture of both) with peaks post-partum (up to 40 percent of women will experience stress incontinence for four years after childbirth) or during menopause (almost 50 percent of women) and after menopause (up to 75 percent of the elderly are affected).

As men age prostate enlargement can restrict urine outflow affecting 8 percent of men at 40, and up to 60 percent of older men. Nocturia is typically the most bothersome symptom but up to 50 percent of the time, the nocturia may be primarily due to overactive bladder or be a combination of BPH and OAB. “In these cases the bladder must be included in the treatment approach,” Seipel said. “When supplementing for the prostate, the improvements in prostate health generally take time to develop with best results at three to six months and beyond. A bladder supporting ingredient will generally produce faster results within weeks to months.”

Natural Ingredients to Consider

With all age groups affected, it should come as no surprise that the global UI market is projected to reach 4.22 billion dollars by 2027, and includes products ranging from prescription drugs, medical devices, diapers for adults, pads and supplements. “While the natural ingredients market for LUTS includes numerous products, the most popular ingredient for benign prostatic hyperplasia and overactive bladder is pumpkin,” said Saido. Other ingredients, such as saw palmetto are well known, however, they are not as widely used or studied as pumpkin. Pumpkin products include a wide variety of sources, quality and applications, either from seeds or oil.”

IFF Health’s proprietary blend of pumpkin extract EFLA 940 and SoyLife, Go-Less is a dietary supplement ingredient that provides natural, clinically demonstrated support for healthy bladder function and wellbeing. “It’s made using a dosages rationale based on the combination of traditional use, as well as established use and clinical science. Published human clinical trials demonstrate that the blend of EFLA 940 and SoyLife is safe and effective in addressing the cause of frequent urgencies and occasional urgencies in both women and men,” Saido said.

The pumpkin seed extract found in Go-Less, EFLA 940, supports normal and healthy bladder control by toning and maintaining detrusor and sphincter muscle strength, according to the company. A water-soluble pumpkin seed extract EFLA 940, contains the complete spectrum of polar and semi-polar constituents from the seed.

The soy germ extract known as SoyLife also promotes healthy bladder control by sustaining the bladder muscle and pelvic floor. It’s a soy germ extract standardized for 40 percent isoflavones, as well as other phytonutrients from soy, associated with improved health.

Four clinical studies substantiate the benefits of Go-Less for bladder support in both women and men. In a clinical trial, 12-weeks supplementation of Go-Less led to significant improvements in urination frequency, nocturia and urgency, compared to a placebo group with women suffering from bladder related voiding dysfunction, according to Saido.

Michael Chernyak, president with CK Nutraceuticals (New York), said the company offers a branded science-backed ingredient called UrgeFree that combines these two compounds—soy isoflavones (Glycine Max L.) and pumpkin seed extract (Cucurbita pepo extract)—to support bladder health safely and effectively. “It’s important to use a therapeutic dosage,” Chernyak advised manufacturers. “A higher loading dose for a period of two to four weeks, followed by a lower maintenance dose, is found to be beneficial. This is proven out in clinical settings.”

Continued Research

Probably most well-known for urinary tract health, cranberry is a traditional herb with clinical research to show its effect for UTIs, and in men with prostatitis improvements in urinary urgency (at three months) and frequency (at six months). “Cranberry stops bacteria (Escherichia coli) adhering to the urethral wall. D-mannose also became popular some years ago,” Seipel said. “D-mannose adheres to E.coli in the bladder and assists in E.coli removal from the body.”

Seipel also noted the research on pumpkin seed. “Cucurbita pepois shown in research to have effects with prostate health. Pumpkin seeds contain zinc and act as 5 alpha reductase inhibitors to assist with bladder symptoms associated with BPH and prostate health,” she said.

“Pumpkin and soy combination has become popular in formulations for reducing bladder frequency, incontinence and improving bladder control although the only published placebo-controlled research for all of these effects is in women only and the research does not give any results compared against placebo indicating any results were not statistically significant,” Seipel added.

She explained that Angelica archangelica (Garden angelica, wild celery) is commonly used in Europe although published research in men only for nocturia did not show statistically significant reduction in overall nocturia, although subgroup analysis of only those with a decreased bladder capacity, reached significance.

The Seipel Group’s Urox is a proprietary combination of Crateva nurvala (Cratevox), Equisetum arvense (Horsetail) and Lindera aggregata. Seipel said published research shows Urox is effective in men and women in reducing urinary incontinence, urgency, frequency and nocturia. Unpublished research (under review) in children shows Urox is effective in reducing bedwetting and daytime accidents and improves confidence in children 6-14 years. Horsetail and crateva in Urox are effective antimicrobials against E. coli. Research shows Urox helps in the prevention of chronic UTIs and non-bacterial cystitis and bladder oversensitivity by providing a holistic approach to support complete bladder emptying, bladder and pelvic floor muscle and sphincter health, as well as soothe urinary membranes.

At Ecuadorian Rainforest (New Jersey), Marketing Coordinator Ramon Luna pointed out that Chanca piedra has been an ever-popular herb from the Amazon with a number of potent plant chemicals. “Its name, when translated, means “stone breaker” which may tie into its use against kidney stones,” he said. “It is said the herb may help prevent those stones from forming in the first place.”

Category Trends

Despite the high prevalence of urinary incontinence, up to 50 percent of cases may not be reported. Commonly, individuals with urinary incontinence do not seek medical intervention, due to the embarrassment and negative perception UI can have with aging.

“Today, consumers are increasingly willing to seek bladder health solutions that improve their quality of life while aging,” said Saido. “They don’t want to experience aging with negative effects, so they are starting to reach for natural, preventative solutions before medicine becomes necessary.

“In general, it’s important to remember urinary incontinence does not cause any health problems; however, it affects quality of life,” she said. “And quality of life is something we need to cultivate.”

At the Seipel Group, Seipel said it’s the company’s mission “to de-stigmatize bladder concerns and provide ongoing research to show effectiveness (and allowable claims) for our ingredients. We are leaders in this category with the first clinically researched formula for incontinence, overactive bladder and bedwetting. We are changing the conversation around prostate to include the bladder and the conversation around chronic UTI/cystitis to include a holistic approach to overall bladder and preventative health.” NIE

For More Information:

• Ecuadorian Rainforest, www.intotherainforest.com
• IFF Health, https://iff-health.com
• CK Nutraceuticals, www.ckingredients.com
• Seipel Group, https://seipelgroup.com