Zinc for UTIs?
If you have been battling with a hard-to-beat case of UTI or your UTI keeps coming back, science has a new solution for you. According to Science Daily, experts now believe that zinc may provide an effective non antibiotic treatment for UTI. How is this possible? One of the major causes of UTIs is Uropathogenic Escherichia Coli and our immune system fights off this and many other types of bacteria by relying on zinc.
The team at the University of Queensland based their initial research on the premise that bacteria did not hold up well against zinc. Through their studies, they were then able to observe that the immune system uses zinc as “foot soldiers” to fight bacteria, including UPEC. While UPEC showed incredible resistance in its fight against the immune system, it is nonetheless susceptible to the effects of zinc.
It Works for Children Too?
Women are the most common victims of UTIs, but children routinely suffer from this infection too. As a result, an early study from 2016 also tried to observe the effect of zinc on UTIs. In the study, 200 children were split into groups of two. One set received zinc sulfate syrup and the other group did not.
These researchers found that students who had received zinc supplements recovered at a much faster rate than those who didn’t. Symptoms such as frequent or painful urination also cleared up more quickly in children who received the zinc supplements. However, whenever children suffered from abdominal pains, the supplements made it worse.
What Does This Mean for Women?
If you’ve been skeptical about taking your multivitamin supplements in the past, now is the time to include them in your morning routine. Multivitamins are relatively inexpensive and do not require a prescription, making them one of the easiest ways you can help to protect yourself from UTIs.
Zinc also helps to protect you against other harmful bacteria, such as salmonella and tuberculosis. Because of this, many women may view zinc supplements as a zinc antibiotic, but it is important to remember that this is a non antibiotic treatment.
Can I Overdose on Zinc?
While zinc has numerous benefits for the body, it is possible to overdo it. A dated but nonetheless relevant study from 2007 cautions against high-dose zinc supplements. In the study, researchers observed the effect of zinc on the urinary system and reproductive organs. The study found that high-dose zinc supplements led to higher rates of hospitalization for urinary complications.
However, it is well to note that it was men who were most affected by this. Also, after studying this subgroup further, researchers found that it was men who smoked who faced the greatest risk of urinary complications after high-dose zinc supplements.
Why Mess With a Good Thing?
If you have already been taking antibiotics and they work well for you, you may be wondering what’s the point of using zinc for UTI? The answer to this is antibiotic resistance. Over time, as bacteria become more exposed to antibiotics, they learn to adapt, making the medicine less and less effective. This exposes people to not just UTI infections, but also pneumonia, blood poisoning and foodborne diseases.
In fact, according to the World Health Organization, one of the most dangerous threats facing food security, global health and development is antibiotic resistance. Resistance has increased hospital stays and mortality rates, while also hiking up the cost of medical care.
Thus, when it comes to medicine to help UTI, using supplements as a zinc antimicrobial is an attractive alternative. Not only has several studies around the world confirmed its effectiveness, but when used moderately it is a risk-free method you can work into your routine at a negligible cost to you.