Prevention For UTIs With Diet

February 4, 2023

Today our show is about urinary tract infections. What are they? How common are they? And what are some preventative measures with food and supplements that might help? We’ve worked with many clients who are in the middle of a UTI or who want to avoid getting another UTI, so we’ll share from experience in the clinic some tips and tricks that might help if you or someone you love is dealing with urinary tract issues.  

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LEAH: Welcome to Dishing Up Nutrition, brought to you by Nutritional Weight and Wellness. Today, our show is all about UTIs or urinary tract infections. What are UTIs? How common are they? And probably most importantly for this show, what are some preventative measures that we can take to prevent these UTIs? And this'll include the foods that we eat and the supplements that we take. So I am Leah Kleinschrodt. I'm a Registered and Licensed Dietitian, and I have been seeing clients at Nutritional Weight and Wellness for over five years now.

And at NWW, one of my favorite things is that clients make appointments for a whole host of reasons besides just weight loss and eating better. Just thinking about a couple clients I've seen recently, I know I've had some digestion clients, ulcerative colitis, a client with back pain, doing an eating plan for someone who had seizures, and even recently a teenage girl who was late in actually starting her period. So we get a whole host of things, don't we, Teresa?

TERESA: We sure do.

LEAH: Yeah. And we also have clients who make appointments because they want to avoid another UTI, or maybe it's because they're yet on another round of antibiotics for a UTI. And when I've met with these clients, oftentimes what'll happen is they get the infection, they take the antibiotics to clear the infection, and then they'll end up with a yeast infection after the antibiotics. And now we have double the trouble. And this can be such a vicious, vicious cycle of infection and antibiotic and yeast and clearing the yeast and then getting an infection again. And it's just miserable for a lot of women.

So today we want to offer some solutions to keep you out of that loop. Or if you are already in that loop or you've been there and done that and you don't want to go back, how do you break that cycle that you're already in? So today my cohost is Teresa Wagner, who is also a Registered and Licensed Dietitian, and has also helped many clients at Nutritional Weight and Wellness over the years with, again, a variety of different health problems.

TERESA: Yeah, that's right. Often clients, well, and just people I talk to in general, and you probably get this too when you're out in public and you're introducing yourself to somebody and they'll say, oh, what do you do for a living? And I'll say, oh, I'm a dietitian.

LEAH: Yep.

TERESA: And there's a lot of misconceptions about nutrition and, and the reason to work in this field. After all, diet is a part of our title, as a dietitian. But nutrition counseling is so much more than helping people lose weight or eating better to manage type two diabetes or eating to prevent or treat heart disease.

LEAH: Mm-Hmm.

TERESA: Which those are important too. I mean, absolutely those are important, but for a woman with reoccurring urinary tract infections, reducing the frequency or even eliminating those UTIs altogether is even more important. Although, you know, all things considered, having type two diabetes is often a cause of UTIs. High sugar levels: they feed bacteria. So there is that correlation too between some of those chronic conditions that we see commonly in our, in our offices and some of these other, other conditions too.

LEAH: Yeah, absolutely. Well, and of course we have to pick those topics and find that sugar connection. Those longtime listeners out there know, we always have to bring that sugar connection in there and figure out, okay, how is that playing a role with some of these things?

TERESA: Right.

What is a UTI?


LEAH: Yeah. And before we get too much further into our show and what to do and, and some of those food connections, I do want to just take a moment and define what a urinary tract infection is or what a UTI is and, and just kind of give some of those basics and give some, excuse me, some of those symptoms of what we're looking for.

So a UTI, urinary tract infection, that is an infection that happens somewhere in the urinary tract. And your urinary tract includes your kidneys and your bladder, and then kind of that little tube that goes from your bladder to the outside of the body. That's your urethra. And so really there can be an infection anywhere along those lines. Most commonly, we think about bladder infections. We think about bacteria that gets into that bladder causes infections causing symptoms, and most commonly that bacteria is E. coli. So when I think E. coli before I started learning more about UTIs, I would think about, you know, food outbreaks of like bad meat or things getting in our food system and causing food poisoning and things like that, which that's true.

TERESA: The peanut butter and the spinach outbreak.

LEAH: Exactly; which, and that's true, that is E. coli bacteria. But we also, as human beings, E. coli occurs naturally in our intestinal tract. It's kind of part of that microbiome, which we'll talk about in a few minutes. It's part of that flora in the gut, and it's naturally supposed to be there, and it's usually very harmless. But when it gets out of the intestinal tract, when it gets onto things like food, when it gets into other areas of the body like the urinary tract, that's when it becomes not so harmless. And so when when I was going to say women, but men can get this too, obviously, when someone gets a UTI, a lot of the common symptoms are like burning when you're urinating or you have really intense or frequent urges to urinate, or you might, your urine might be cloudy or might be kind of off colored or might be really foul or really strong smelling. And there may also be pain or pressure in your abdomen, pelvis, lower back, fever and chills can occur.

So again, like some of those typical infection types of symptoms. So that kind of lays the groundwork of what we're talking about. And actually we did a show on UTIs a couple of months ago. If listeners want to even do a little bit more deep dive into just some of that background and more deep dive into some of the food and nutrition connections into some of this, that show was done back on October 2nd. Jolene and Mel were the hosts. They did a great job of flushing some of this stuff out. So listeners, if if some of this stuff is interesting to you, just know there is another show, another really great resource that you can turn to.

What can cause recurring UTIs?


UTIs are also very common, especially in women. So thinking about how often does this occur and why, like, why are we making a whole show about this? Over half of women at some point in their lifetime are going to experience at least one UTI. And oftentimes it can be many UTIs. Sometimes it can even be a monthly infection for some unfortunate circumstances. Over 6 million visits yearly to physicians are for bladder infections. And many women will get that bladder infection after bladder infection. It's treated with an antibiotic. It may or may not clear right away. Sometimes they need a round or two and it treats the symptoms, but it may not treat that underlying imbalance that happens in the body that then keeps those infections recurring or coming back.

So then what happens is in a few weeks or a few months, another UTI appears, and then they need another round of antibiotics. And this ongoing antibiotics, you know, we need those antibiotics when we need them. They're great. They save many lives, but the ongoing antibiotics long-term can be problematic for the microbiome and can again, lead to some of those repeated infections.

TERESA: Right. And that problem with your microbiome is called dysbiosis, which is defined as an imbalance of microbial species, which those species can be like what you're talking about, bacteria like E. coli.

LEAH: Yep.

TERESA: It can be yeast. It can be protozoa. I mean, it can be all kinds of different things in that microbiome.

LEAH: Yeah.

TERESA: It's quite a diverse community in there.

LEAH: Definitely.

TERESA: So this imbalance becomes a problem because it's due to a reduction of this microbial diversity within certain bodily microbiomes. Okay. So certain micro bodily, or excuse me, certain microbiomes can mean things like the intestinal microbiome. And I would say that most of our listeners understand that our gut has a microbiome. That's pretty common to know about.

But lesser known is that the microbiome is not exclusively in the gut. It's not limited to the gut. We have an oral microbiome. The skin has a microbiome, as does the lungs, our eyes, the vagina, and the bladder has a microbiome as well. So like you were saying, after taking rounds of antibiotics for bladder infections, we have a reduction in that good bacteria of our microbiome and an increase in that harmful bacteria.

LEAH: Yep.

TERESA: Which leaves us susceptible to future bladder infections because of the reduction of those good bacteria from the antibiotics.

LEAH: Right. It's the kind of like, again, it's taken down our defense systems if we haven't been prudent in rebuilding them after we've had some of those antibiotics or we've had that infection.

Eat an anti-inflammatory eating plan to prevent UTIs


TERESA: And we'll get later in the show, we'll get into how to rebalance the microbiome. So we'll put a pin in that and we'll get to that in just a little bit. But when we're working with women who are experiencing reoccurring bladder infections, we stress the importance of eating real food to support their immune function and to support the lining of the bladder. We suggest an anti-inflammatory food plan. So Leah, let's explain more about…

LEAH: Yeah, tell us more.

TERESA: …an anti-inflammatory diet. Many times on Dishing Up Nutrition, we explain that sugar and flour are inflammatory. So think about the foods you are currently eating that might be inflammatory. Are you stopping at your favorite coffee shop to order a vanilla latte containing high fructose corn syrup? This would be an inflammatory habit. We suggest, you know, continuing with that habit. Right? But instead of ordering that sugary beverage, we suggest ordering a black coffee, adding some heavy cream, and maybe even a little bit of stevia to that if you prefer to have it a little bit sweeter.

LEAH: Yep.

TERESA: And there are some stevia drops that actually are vanilla flavored, so you can get that vanilla essence to your coffee as well.

LEAH: Mm-Hmm.

TERESA: Maybe you have the habit of pouring yourself one or two glasses of wine with dinner. You may have noticed that wine is very inflammatory. It leads to headaches, dehydration, face puffiness, inflamed stomach lining, swollen feet, flushing, all kinds of things that are inflammatory to the body or, or signs that this is an inflammatory thing.

LEAH: Yep. So why would the bladder and the urinary tract be any different. Right? In showing some of those signs of inflammation.

TERESA: Right. And I think as I'm looking at the time, we, it's time for our first break. So Leah, we can get back into this anti-inflammatory food plan when we come back.

LEAH: Yeah, for sure. So you are listening to Dishing Up Nutrition brought to you by Nutritional Weight and Wellness. If you or a friend or a daughter or a mother struggles with urinary tract infections, you will want to stay tuned. We have many, many solutions coming up in this show. We'll be right back.


TERESA: Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. I want to let you know about a cooking class we are offering Wednesday evening, February 22nd, called Cooking for One. Marianne, our culinary educator understands the struggles many of our clients go through because they are no longer cooking for their family. So they have lost their motivation to cook. They think why make all that mess just for me?

LEAH: Mm-Hmm.

TERESA: So join Marianne on February 22nd to get re-motivated so you can give yourself the self-care that comes out of your kitchen. This is a Zoom class, and the cost is only $25. Call 651-699-3438 to sign up.

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And before break, Leah and I were getting into eating an anti-inflammatory, anti-inflammatory diet for the prevention of urinary tract infections. And we were going over some things that were actually more inflammatory. So I was talking about ordering sugary coffees, having wine several nights a week. Another thing that can be inflammatory and can put you more at risk, especially if you are more susceptible to urinary tract infections, is having breakfast cereal with juice and toast. That's an inflammatory breakfast. Same with French toast, pancakes, muffins. These are all inflammatory and could set you up to have another infection.

Sugar feeds bad bacteria and causes inflammation


LEAH: Absolutely. And it's, it mostly because of that sugar connection. It's that surge in blood sugar. It's that, you know, the body has to deal with all that sugar, but sugar feeds those bad bacteria. And like you said, especially if someone is more prone to these UTIs, these are things that really we have to be very mindful of and very careful with.

TERESA: Right. And I guess we can even think about when we're thinking about blood sugar, is that our circulatory system is like the freeway of the body, right?

LEAH: Yeah.

TERESA: And every, it goes everywhere.

LEAH: Mm-Hmm.

TERESA: So we have blood vessels that go through all areas of the body, and so it really does feed those particular areas of the body today talking about the bladder. That sugar really does go to the bladder.

LEAH: Yeah. Yeah.

TERESA: And you can create that inflammation.

LEAH: That's perfect. I love that. I love that visual, like you said, of just like that highway within the body, basically: that circulatory system. So to build on that, then thinking about dinners, like pasta dinners. That's a common thing, you know, of having a bowl of pasta and you have the French bread to go along with it. And then if you're using a typical like marinara sauce, those pasta sauces, they don't have a small amount of sugar in them, you know, again, those will feed more of that bad bacteria and will just make your body feel more inflamed overall. And Teresa, you gave some great examples before of like a, you might just feel like puffy, like your eyes might feel puffy, or like your fingers might kind of feel like those, like that sausage type of feeling. You can't get your rings off the next day. Your knees may hurt and your back may hurt. I mean, these are just some, some of the common things we hear from clients of like, what happens when their body is inflamed?

So again, this, why would the bladder be excluded from some of this inflammation as well, like this, the, this inflammation can go to the bladder and inflame those tissues and in turn then those tissues are just very susceptible to collecting bad bacteria and turning into a UTI. So long story short, it is those processed carbs. It's that sugar that feed the bad bacteria and it ups the risk factors for those UTIs.

And actually Dr. Marion Nestle, I know we've quoted her on Dishing Up Nutrition before, and we used a lot of her research in some of our classes. One of her quotes was about ultra processed foods. She wrote that, “Ultra processed food cannot be made in your kitchen because the ingredients are industrially processed and are not available in the supermarket.” So actually it's not even real foods. So I think that sums it up really well of, of the things that we're talking about that create more inflammation in the body.

Eat natural fats to reduce inflammation


So then what we want to think about one of the components of an anti-inflammatory diet, one of these things that we do recommend is eating natural fats several times a day. If you think back, I know I definitely got caught in this trap, but eating a low fat or a no fat diet, this type of approach does not support healthy tissues in the urinary tract. You think about the, the bladder as a balloon only, only the wall, it's not made of rubber, it's made up of cells. All these cells, every single cell in your body, but especially in the bladder, contain these natural healing fats.

And they contain critical fatty acids. And these are things longtime listeners will, will have heard before: GLA, which is gamma linoleic acid, which is an omega six fatty acid. And our omega-3 fatty acids. So a low fat diet: when we are consciously restricting fat or not eating any fat at all, a low fat diet does not contain these building blocks to make a healthy, strong bladder lining.

TERESA: For some clients, simply adding back six to seven tablespoons of natural fat. Natural fats can be things like butter, coconut oil, olive oil, avocado oil. This can reduce the frequency and risk for reoccurring bladder infections. For breakfast, rather than eating a fast food or a processed convenient food breakfast with damaged fats such as soybean oil, canola oil, cottonseed oil, those types of oils, I may suggest more of an egg bake breakfast. Maybe deviled eggs made with organic eggs and avocado oil based mayos plus, you know, we want to get some of that good carb in there. So maybe a small bowl of blueberries and pour some heavy cream over the top. It's delicious.

LEAH: Yum.

TERESA: So good. Or maybe if you want more of a warm breakfast, maybe you cook two or three eggs in butter with some sweet potatoes and some sautéed spinach. You maybe sauté that spinach and butter, maybe you put, I really like to put coconut oil on the sweet potatoes. It's just those flavors are very complimentary. It makes it really, the sweet potato tastes really sweet without any sugar.

LEAH: Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. Love those ideas. And again, we got to start with, especially in the morning, I find that's really important for our clients is protein, like getting that protein in and then balancing out with some, some of those great fat examples. And, and we talk about processed carbs a lot as being inflammatory, but we still do need those good real food carbs, especially those really colorful carbohydrates.

So for many of our clients, simply switching from that processed food, more inflammatory type of diet and switching over to more of that real food eating plan. And whether that trouble time for you is at breakfast or lunch, or maybe it's more dinner, maybe it's more your snacks, but kind of step-wise, getting that real food into your plan, now they no longer struggle with bladder infections or now we're starting to make headway and getting people out of that vicious cycle again of infection and antibiotic and infection again.

For others, it's a great start. It's a great foundation, but it's not quite enough. So for others, we may need to take that next step. And the next best step, and we will elaborate more on this probably on the other side of our break here, but the next step I would say is we would say let's work individually with one of the Nutritional Weight and Wellness nutritionists and dietitians. It just helps so much to have a second set of ears, a second set of eyes on things and just a second brain to help troubleshoot and to kind of bring more things to the table.

TERESA: And we have lots of ideas. And so when we were giving these ideas today, it will, we can, we can tailor it to what of these ideas specifically work best for you.

LEAH: Yes, absolutely. So you are listening to Dishing Up Nutrition. Many of us need accountability and support to make changes because change is difficult. You may need to set up some weekly appointments, especially if you are trying to break this cycle of chronic UTIs. So set up a series of appointments and watch your progress. You can call us at (651) 699-3438 and we'll be right back.

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TERESA: Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. Have you ever said to yourself, today is my day to get healthy, or today is the day to lose those 30 pounds that have been hanging around for the past six years, or today is the day to take care of my bones so I don't have osteoporosis as I age. There is no better time than today to make that appointment. Call us at (651) 699-3438 and let's get started.

LEAH: I love that call to action. Let's get started today. So let's, let's circle us back then today into, so talking about UTIs. And so we talked about getting out the processed foods as much as we can, the refined oil, switching into the real foods, real, natural healing fats. And then we left our listeners with a little bit of a teaser saying, some people need to go that extra step. And we said, all right, that extra step, the kind of one of the big foundations is you might need to work individually one-on-one with one of us nutritionists or dietitians, just as you said Teresa, like sometimes you just need more ideas, more brain power, more just kind of more overall than what you can do on your own.

TERESA: Right. I feel like it's sometimes it's, it's nice to have a guide.

LEAH: Yes.

TERESA: You know, that you're not throwing darts at a moving target.

LEAH: Mm-hmm. Yeah. Yep. And again, a second set of ears, a second set of eyes so that you can truly evaluate what is going on in your own body too. Cause sometimes, sometimes we're not our own best judge either. Right?

TERESA: That's for sure.

Sufficient protein supports immune function


LEAH: Yeah. So for some clients that next step might be making sure that they are getting in enough protein to support their immune system because protein is a huge building block for our immune system. And when we go on those antibiotics, again, as much as we need them sometimes it can take down those immune defense systems if we don't do our due diligence and rebuilding that immune system or rebuilding kind of what got taken away.

And it may surprise you that on average the, the average American woman eats somewhere in the realm of 50 to 60 grams of protein a day. And think about this for yourself listeners, where is most of that protein coming from? In my experience when I've worked with clients who are kind of new to Nutritional Weight and Wellness and are new to Dishing Up Nutrition, they're typically eating only a little bit of protein in the morning, a little bit more at lunch, but then the majority of that protein's coming in at dinner time, like they're getting probably well over half that protein at dinnertime.

So one of the first things I look at with clients is, all right, how do we get more protein in and how do we balance that out throughout the day? So we typically recommend getting in somewhere in the realm of at least 15, but usually more like 25 to 30 grams of protein at every meal. So if you're eating three meals a day at 30 grams of protein per meal, that would be 90 grams of protein per day. So now we're far above what that average American woman is eating. Now we're talking, now this is what would be enough protein to actually support some of those great immune functions.

TERESA: Yeah, I would agree. When I'm working with a client who needs more protein to support immune function, I too, I usually recommend three to four ounces of protein or that's 21 to 28 grams of protein at least three times a day. And of course, you know, also those fats, right? We want to add six to seven tablespoons of those beneficial fats so that we can hydrate those tissues of the bladder.

LEAH: Mm-Hmm.

TERESA: But what's interesting with women, what I find is that women need a little more protein than they think that they need.

LEAH: Absolutely.

TERESA: And I would say that most women need around a hundred grams, maybe even more. But that gets kind of difficult as far as how to figure out how to fit that into their daily plan. So if we have a goal of that 90, 90 grams to a hundred grams, that really helps to build their immune system, their immune function so that they no longer have those urinary tract infections.

LEAH: Mm-Hmm.

TERESA: When a client eats animal protein, some of the key immune supporting nutrients are present in those bioavailable forms. So forms that our body can see and recognize and absorb.

LEAH: Yes.

TERESA: And use.

LEAH: Yep.

TERESA: Certain nutrients like B12, iron and zinc are present in those animal proteins. And zinc being an important nutrient for immune function, it's also great for your hair and for your skin. So that, that one has multiple benefits for us, as do the others as well. B12 is great for energy, as is iron.

LEAH: Yep.

TERESA: Yep. We need all of those. Now of course I encourage clients to eat a variety of vegetables for other nutrients as well. And while so far we've really been stressing the importance of proteins and fats, we always want people to eat plants; plants that look the way they grew.

LEAH: Mm-Hmm.  

TERESA: So if you think about spinach and broccoli and apples, they all look very close to what they look like as they were growing out in the fields.

LEAH: Yeah, that's a great point.

TERESA: So we always want to stress that plants are always important as well.

LEAH: Mm-Hmm. Yep. And I love to just kind of going back to what you had mentioned, when we focus on animal proteins, we get a nice side benefit of some of these nutrients that tag along that are also really crucial for the immune system and for other functions in the body. So it, it just speaks to that concept of when we eat real food, so much of like that hard work or that figuring out that we would try to do in our minds is already taken care of when we just eat those real foods. And when we eat those plant foods, it, we also wrap in some of these other nutrients, especially vitamin C cause that's another important thing, especially this time of year; cold and flu season, we think about the immune system a lot.  

TERESA: Right. It's that balance of the proteins, the fats and the carbohydrates.

Essential fatty acids support UTI prevention


LEAH: Yep. Yep. So it is important to eat sufficient protein, cook your food with those natural beneficial fats. And then for some clients it may be important to add a couple essential fatty acids. And when we say essential, I just want to highlight that. Essential just means that our body cannot make these nutrients on its own. We need to get them from somewhere. So we need to get them in from a food or a supplement especially. And if it's a supplement it's, we're probably just targeting higher amounts to try to get a therapeutic benefit from it. So the two essential fatty acids that we talk about the most and that are really important for UTIs, we mentioned them already, but one is GLA, which is gamma linoleic acid, which is an omega six fatty acid, and also our omega-3 fatty acids, EPA and DHA.

The healthy fats that we eat or that we cook our food in, plus these essential fatty acids help to keep those cells in the urinary tract, you know, keep that tissue hydrated, keep it flexible, keep it resistant to bacteria. So again, like this is a really important thing for those immune defenses or for kind of helping those barriers be intact and strong to get rid of some of that bacteria. So how much GLA and how much omega-3s? Teresa, maybe you can chime in here too, but what I typically recommend for most women going a little higher dose on the GLA.

So with our Nutrikey GLA, I usually recommend four of those softgels every day; doing that for at least three months and seeing how we're doing. But some women might need to take it even for six months or a year or it might be something that they need to take ongoing as a maintenance just to keep those tissues hydrated.

More nutrient support to prevent UTIs


So four softgels a day of the GLA. I usually recommend taking those with food. And then anywhere from three to four softgels of the omega-3s also because they, they lend itself really nicely to having an anti-inflammatory effect. I also make sure, this is another thing I talk to, especially all my Minnesota clients, but pretty much every client I talk to as well, getting your vitamin D level checked and knowing what that is and supplementing if you need to.

So vitamin D: super crucial for the immune system. It's a simple blood test. You can usually request it at your doctor's office. And what we're looking for is more than just the bare minimum. We're looking for a vitamin D level that's at least 50 nanograms per milliliter. I believe those are the units there; at least 50, even more in the range of 60, 70, 80, somewhere in that range. So listeners maybe go back, check in your MyChart, see if you've had your vitamin D level tested even in the last year and see were you kind of scraping the bottom of what's normal around 30 or are you more in that 50, 60, 80 range?

TERESA: We want to be optimal.

LEAH: Yes we want to be optimal. And 30 just isn't quite cutting it at that level. The vitamin D: very, very important. And I will even say like I talked to, I have a couple of clients who live in Florida and they had their vitamin D levels checked and they were low. So it, again, even if you kind of live in those sun shiny places most of the time, it is still important to know where that level is at.

Then sometimes I'll add in vitamin E, you know, 400 to 800 IUs a day just for a little extra tissue support, and a couple other broad spectrum things that I'm also thinking about just to keep those tissues healthy and hydrated. I think about limiting caffeine. So think about if you're, if you're a coffee drinker that's one, maybe two cups a day, avoiding soda and definitely drinking at least eight but probably more in the realm of 10 or even 12 glasses of filtered water.

And most clients, by default when we are looking at that filtered water, by default we're actually eliminating a lot of things that would naturally, naturally, that's not the right word, but contain those artificial sweeteners, things like aspartame or sucrose and getting some of that extra alcohol out, as you were mentioning earlier, Teresa.

TERESA: Right. And when you think about that, I mean you have the coffee, soda, alcohol, these are all bladder stimulants. And so this isn't going to be conducive to healing that bladder if, if that's what we're working on.

LEAH: Right. If it's constantly being stimulated or just kind of have these insults that are coming to it.

Importance of keeping the microbiome healthy


TERESA: Well let's get started here. Just before we go to break on the microbiome. We're going to go back, take a step back here and and revisit the topic of the microbiome, which we discussed earlier as not just living in our gut, but it also is all over our bodies including the bladder. And so it's important to keep that microbiome healthy. So we do suggest taking probiotics. And when we come back from break, I think we'll go into what kind of probiotics we suggest and how much we suggest.

LEAH: Yep. Absolutely. So you are listening to Dishing Up Nutrition. It is interesting that over 1 million women in the United States experience menopause each and every year. But few women have an have understanding as to why they're having symptoms or what actually might be possible solutions for them. So if that sounds like you let me recommend our six hour Menopause Solution Seminar. This is a video presentation that you can take when you have time. So in six hours, it's not a small chunk but it is chock full of information.

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TERESA: Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. February is Heart Health month. To protect your heart we suggest two important supplements: Omega-3 1000 and CoQ10-200. Lots of numbers there. This month both Omega-3 1000 and CoQ10-200 are on special. As a preventative measure, your heart will benefit from taking two to four omega-3s and one CoQ10-200. Of course eating real food and avoiding processed food is the foundation to a healthy heart.

All right, so back to our topic today of UTI or bladder infection prevention. We, before we went to break, we were talking about adding probiotics to rebalance the microbiome. And we really, like we were talking about in the beginning of the show, taking antibiotics reduces that diversity so it lowers the good bacteria, and then there's an imbalance of that good bacteria to bad bacteria cause we have that bad bacteria naturally.

LEAH: Yep.

TERESA: That's okay, as long as we have enough of the good bacteria to kind of keep it in check.

LEAH: Yep.

TERESA: So when we go on a round of antibiotic, what we want to do is we want to rebalance and especially if you've gone on several rounds of antibiotics we want to do this. So what I suggest is adding probiotics and in general, and we can play with these probiotics a little bit, but just a general recommendation that we can do is taking two to three of the Bifido bacteria before breakfast. And this bacteria is great for intestinal health because antibiotics and other over-the-counter drugs or prescription drugs or even lifestyle habits, they really can mess with the microbiome of the gut. So this one is really beneficial for the gut.

And then what I suggest is taking three Acidophilus capsules before lunch, dinner and at bedtime for the health of the bladder. And the lactobacillus acidophilus or the acidophilus that I was recommending is great. And it even gives you a hint in its name because it has that word acid in it: acidophilus. And the, and the, the pH of the bladder is actually more acidic and so we have these acid loving bacteria that we want to add back to that bladder to help maintain the health of that microbiome.

So those are the capsules, but if you prefer powders then we have an option for that as well. And you can do a third to a half a teaspoon of the probiotic powders instead of those capsules. And I would say typically with my clients who are coming to me because they're looking for UTI prevention or address this chronic condition, I usually do start with the powders actually.

LEAH: Yeah.

TERESA: Because they're a little bit more concentrated. You get more in the powdered than you do in the capsule. So a lot of times I start with the powders and then we move on to the capsules cause a lot of times those are a little bit easier just for your day-to-day.

LEAH: Yeah, absolutely. I do the same thing.

TERESA: Yeah. These clients who have had reoccurring UTIs and may need to use probiotics for several months at this level, and then what we try to do is reduce the amount of probiotics you have to take and just kind of have a maintenance level to keep those bladder infections at bay.

LEAH: Right. Absolutely. Yes. So the microbiome: really important to address that piece. We talked a little bit a couple of times now about the essential fatty acids necessary for healing. So I had suggested previously like taking at least four softgels of that GLA, but even six softgels of GLA. Again, we just need that therapeutic amount for a couple of months to hydrate those tissues.

And then also doing three to four softgels of those omega-3s every single day for the anti-inflammatory benefit. And then from there, again this is where it's good to work with a dietitian or nutritionist to figure out okay, what else, what else might be helpful to add into that mix? Because we could go the route of say adding in a little vitamin A cause that is really crucial for the immune system and that could look like a softgel of vitamin A or it could look like taking some Cod Liver Oil which has some of those omega-3s in it; not a super high dose but some. But it's got a great dose of some of that vitamin A in there.

And then we also mentioned too previously about that vitamin D: really important to get that checked to know where you're at and most of my clients are supplementing at least some amount, especially in the winter, just to get their levels in that 50 to 80 range for the vitamin D.

TERESA: Yes. It's just a good general recommendation for most people.

LEAH: Mm-Hmm.

More helpful tips for treating and preventing UTIs


TERESA: Well you might be asking what about drinking cranberry juice? Because that's often when if you Google, you know that that might be an at home remedy is cranberry juice. Well, cranberry juice, if it has no sugar it can be helpful but it has to contain no sugar and added sugar. Cause obviously cranberries are fruit so they're going to have some sugar.

LEAH: Right. Yep.

TERESA: But because this cranberry juice is unsweetened it, first of all it can be difficult to find.

LEAH: Mm-hmm.

TERESA: But it can be a little bit more tart than many people may prefer. So instead of cranberry juice, I often just recommend using Cran Max capsules instead.

LEAH: Mm-Hmm.

TERESA: One capsule of Cran Max has the equivalent benefit of eight ounces of cranberry juice cocktail. And what I usually recommend though is, is about two of those Cran Max capsules daily if that's the route you want to go.

LEAH: Yep. Exactly. And, and at some point too, once we've broken that cycle, some clients may be able to use that just if they feel symptoms coming on or they might be able to go down to one a day again, kind of finding more of that maintenance dose. You could eat cranberries.

TERESA: Absolutely.

LEAH: Right? Yeah. It's, but that's the other piece of it is, I know typically when I think about eating cranberries, I think about the stuff in the can or like the Craisins out there, like the sweetened dried cranberries and that's not what we're talking about.

TERESA: Lots of sugar.

LEAH: Lots of added sugar. So there's not too many people out there that are probably going to eat like regular unsweetened cranberries you know, alone or as part of that afternoon snack or something. But you could do cranberries. You could also do blueberries. These are great whole food choices. Both of these foods help prevent UTIs by, they kind of, they keep that bacteria, that E. coli bacteria from sticking to the lining of the urinary tract. So it keeps it from sticking in there and proliferating and, and causing more of an infection or wreaking more of that havoc. And then in addition, taking a thousand milligrams of vitamin C. So here's that immune system component. Vitamin C daily prevents bad bacteria from growing.

TERESA: And last but not least, we need to mention a supplement that is so beneficial and has helped many clients. It's called UT Soothe.

LEAH: Yes.

TERESA: So “urinary tract soothe.”

LEAH: This is the one I always think about when I have someone who's has a UTI or a prone to UTIs.

TERESA: Same. UT Soothe contains D-Mannose. D-Mannose sticks to the E. coli and remember E. coli is the most common cause of UTIs.

LEAH: Mm-Hmm.

TERESA: The D-Mannose sticks to the E. coli, which allows it to be eliminated from the body. This helps to treat UTIs without antibiotics as well as prevent them from occurring. And it also helps to get rid of that E. coli for good so that it is out of the bladder and it doesn't have that chance like Leah, like you were saying, to basically proliferate and cause more that infection to keep happening.

LEAH: Mm-Hmm.

LEAH: Yep. Yeah. I actually had a client that I worked with, oh, either last summer or last fall. She was taking our Nutrition for Weight Loss program. And UTIs, it wasn't the focus of why she came in or why we were meeting, but it came up in conversation and she was stuck in that cycle. Every month she was having another UTI. She'd go on antibiotics and just, and that had happened for, it was like six or eight months, something along those lines.

TERESA: Oh, miserable. Cause it's so painful.

LEAH: Yes. She was miserable. She was a pharmacist actually though, and she had dived into the research on her own and found D-Mannose, a combination of D-Mannose and vitamin C together. And by the time she and I met, she was already like one month kind of post not having a UTI. So it was really working for her and it, it could just kind of continued along. So bless her heart, she was able to kind of piece some of those things together herself.

TERESA: Yeah. And I bet with the addition of the lactobacillus…

LEAH: Yep.

TERESA: Acidophilus would be great combination.

LEAH: Yes. So our goal at Nutritional Weight and Wellness is to help each and every person experience better health through eating real food. It is a simple yet powerful message that eating real food is life changing. Thank you for joining us today and have a wonderful day.

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