Supplements for Treating Kidney Infection in Seniors

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Kidney infections, also known as pyelonephritis, are a serious and potentially life-threatening condition that occurs when bacteria enters the urinary tract and infects the kidneys. They are more common in women than men and can cause severe pain, fever, and other symptoms. 

Dealing with kidney, urinary tract infections and bladder problems is challenging. It can impact elderly adults’ health and can result in them needing prescription drugs for treatment. There are things that seniors can do at home and more natural remedies to help treat kidney infections. 

Prevention is critical; seniors need to work to try and keep kidney problems from surfacing by taking care of their health. 

If symptoms become more serious, it’s probably too late to utilize supplements to help treat the bacterial infection in kidney, and it’s time to visit a doctor for antibiotics. 

Here are some of the most helpful supplements for seniors to use to ensure the prevention of and uti treatment of kidney problems and other bacterial infections related to the kidney.

You may also want to learn about nutritional supplements for seniors here.

Probiotics for Prevent urinary tract infections

Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that live in the gut and are known for their positive effects on overall health. 

Some studies have shown that probiotics may also have benefits for kidney health and also prevent bacterial infections. It aids in improving the healthy bacteria within your body. Probiotics are living microorganisms to help balance the body’s digestive tract.

There is also evidence that probiotics help decrease diarrhea in people who are suffering due to taking antibiotics. It’s important to note that probiotics are not a substitute for proper medical treatment for kidney infections, and it’s always important to consult a doctor if you suspect you have a kidney infection.

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Probiotics can be taken in supplement form, as well as through consuming probiotic-rich foods such as yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, and other fermented foods.

It’s important to note that probiotics supplements should be taken under the guidance of a physician, especially if you’re taking any other medications or have a pre-existing medical condition such as kidney disease. 

Probiotic supplements are generally considered safe, but some people may experience minor side effects such as gas and bloating. 

It’s also important to select the right type and strain of probiotics which is most beneficial for the urinary tract, and Lactobacillus and E. coli Nissle are some strains which are known to be beneficial for urinary tract health.

Vitamin C for Boosting Immune System

Vitamin C is an antioxidant, which makes it effective in helping to treat kidney issues and improve your kidney health. It protects tissues within your body and balances oxygen in cells. 

There is even animal-based research demonstrating that it can prevent kidney scarring from infection, and boost enzymes found in the kidneys. It may also help to decrease inflammation in the urinary tract, which can help to prevent UTIs.

Eating foods dense in vitamin C is a great way to get it, as well as taking an over-the-counter supplement. It can also be taken in supplement form, as well as through consuming rich foods such as cantaloupe, oranges and orange juice, grapefruit, and other citrus foods and juices and leafy greens.

While it is generally considered safe, taking large doses of this supplements may cause side effects such as stomach cramps, diarrhea and nausea. High doses of this vitamin may also lead to kidney stone formation if taken in large doses and for long periods.

It’s also important to note that taking high doses of this supplements may interact with certain medications, including blood thinners and medications for high blood pressure, so it’s important to talk to your doctor before starting any supplement regimen.

It is always best to get your vitamins and minerals from natural food sources as opposed to supplements. A balanced diet with a variety of fruits and vegetables should provide enough Vitamin for an average healthy individual and prevent urinary tract infections.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids for Inflammation Reduction

Omega-3 fatty acids are a type of polyunsaturated fatty acid that are known for their anti-inflammatory properties. They are commonly found in fish, such as salmon, mackerel, and sardines, as well as in certain plant-based sources such as flaxseed and chia seeds.

Inflammation in the kidneys can lead to a decline in kidney function and can increase the risk factors of chronic kidney disease (CKD) and other kidney-related complications. As we age, the risk of chronic inflammation increases, which can lead to a decline in overall health and specifically in kidney health.

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A study published in the Journal of Lipid Research found that omega-3 fatty acids can reduce inflammation in the kidneys and protect against kidney injury. 

Other studies have also found that omega-3 fatty acids may be beneficial for reducing inflammation in older adults with CKD and other kidney-related conditions.

It’s important to note that not all omega-3 supplements are created equal and some may contain impurities, so it’s important to choose a high-quality, third-party tested supplement. 

Also, older adults with certain medical conditions such as blood clotting disorder or on blood-thinning medication should consult with their healthcare officer before starting an Omega-3 supplement regimen.

In summary, Omega-3 fatty acids are known for their anti-inflammatory properties, and studies have shown that they may be beneficial for reducing inflammation in the kidneys, particularly in older adults. They can be obtained from fish and certain plant-based sources, or through supplements. However, it’s important to consult with a healthcare professional before starting.

Parsley and Apple Juice

Besides vitamin C-rich foods, some supplements can simply be more organic approaches to helping your kidneys. Parsley juice is a diuretic with a lot of nutrients that help to increase how often you urinate. Seniors who are already taking antibiotics for any other reason find that they are more effective since parsley juice helps to flush out bacteria within the kidneys at an accelerated rate.

Apples are also nutrient-dense with high acid content. It helps the kidneys to maintain acidity in the urine to cultivate the growth of more bacteria. Apples also contain anti-inflammatory abilities, which are beneficial to help the kidneys heal after infection.

Cranberry Supplements & Extracts for Preventing Recurrent UTIs

UTIs are particularly common among older adults, as the risk of developing UTIs increases with age. Cranberries contain compounds called proanthocyanidins, which can prevent UTIs bacteria from adhering to the urinary tract’s walls, thereby reducing the risk of urinary tract infection. 

Seniors with a history of urinary tract infections have long been told the advantages of cranberries for bladder health, and they can also be beneficial for seniors with low kidney function. 

The evidence supports the use of cranberry supplement to help keep bacteria from sticking to the urinary and kidney walls and prevents kidney stones from forming.

There have been several studies that suggest cranberry supplements may be beneficial in reducing the risk of recurrent urinary tract infections in older adults. 

A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Directors Association found that older women who took cranberry juice or capsules had a lower risk of recurrent urinary tract infection. Another study published in the Journal of Urology found that cranberry reduced the risk of UTI symptoms in older men.

It’s important to note that cranberry extract supplements come in different forms, such as capsules, tablets, and juice. It’s essential to check the dosage and ingredients, as some cranberries may contain added sugar or other ingredients that are not beneficial for older adults.

The experts at Rahav Wellness Immunology state that cranberry is rich in antioxidants and holds immunoregulatory and anti-inflammatory properties, so it acts as a cleanser of the kidneys to help break down fats and remove excess water. You actually will get better benefits by drinking organic cranberry or using supplements, since the cranberry juice you buy at the grocery store is more diluted. 

D-mannose for Urinary Tract Health

D-mannose is well known as a natural sugar which is similar to glucose and is found in small amounts in fruits such as cranberries and blueberries. It has been traditionally used to support urinary tract health and prevent recurrent urinary tract infections (UTIs) in both men and women, particularly in older adults.

D-mannose works by preventing certain types of bacteria, such as E. coli, from sticking to the walls of the urinary tract. When these common bacteria stick to the urinary tract, they can cause infections such as urinary tract infection and kidney infections. By preventing bacteria from sticking to the urinary tract, D-mannose can help to reduce the risk of these infections.

Studies have shown that D-mannose may be effective in reducing the risk factors of recurrent infections in older adults. Journal of Urology found that older women who took D-mannose had a lower risk of recurrent urinary tract infection compared to those who took a placebo. Another study published in the Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy found that D-mannose was effective in preventing recurrence of UTIs in older women.

It’s important to note that D-mannose is generally considered safe, but high doses may cause stomach upset, diarrhea and gas. 

In summary, D-mannose is a natural sugar that can help to support urinary tract health and prevent recurrent UTIs and kidney infections in older adults. It may be an effective alternative to antibiotics, but it’s important to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any supplement regimen.

Berberine for Supporting Urinary Tract & Kidney Health 

Berberine is an alkaloid compound that is found in several different plants, including the bark and roots of the berberis and goldenseal plants. It has been traditionally used in Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine for centuries to support various health conditions, including those related to the urinary tract and kidneys.

Berberine has been shown to have antimicrobial properties, which can help to prevent the growth of bacteria that can cause urinary tract infections and kidney infections. It may also possess anti-inflammatory properties, which can help to reduce inflammation in the urinary tract and kidneys.

Reduce Your Risk of Kidney & Urinary Tract Infection

Kidney infections are a common and serious condition among older adults and can lead to severe complications if left untreated. 

Elderly individuals are at a higher risk of developing kidney infections due to a number of factors, including a weakened immune system, decreased mobility, and chronic health conditions such as diabetes. 

However, there are several steps that older adults can take to reduce their risk of kidney infections.

Stay active & Maintain Mobility

One of the most important things older adults can do to reduce their risk of kidney infections is to stay active and maintain good mobility. This can be done by engaging in regular physical activity, such as walking or swimming, and by taking steps to prevent falls. 

Additionally, older adults should be mindful of their posture, as sitting or standing for long periods of time can lead to a buildup of pressure on the bladder and increase the risk of kidney infections.

Healthy Diet & Hydration

Another way to reduce the risk of kidney infections in older adults is to maintain a healthy diet and hydration as a natural remedy. 

This includes drinking plenty of water to help flush bacteria out of the urinary tract, and eating a balanced diet that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, and other nutrient-dense foods. It is also important to avoid foods and drinks that may irritate the bladder or urinary tract, such as spicy foods, caffeine, and alcohol.

Hygiene

Older adults should also be mindful of their hygiene and take steps to prevent urinary tract infections. This can include wiping from front to back after using the bathroom, urinating after sex, and avoiding the use of harsh soaps or bubble baths.

Be Aware of Symptoms

It’s also important for older adults to be aware of the symptoms of kidney infections and to seek medical attention if they suspect they have one. 

This includes symptoms such as fever, chills, back or abdominal pain, nausea, or vomiting. It’s also important for older adults to consult their doctor if they have any concerns about their urinary tract infections and health.

The best treatment is prevention, so some other ways to help ensure that you keep your kidneys healthy and functioning properly include:

  • Drink fluids frequently
  • Don’t hold your urine
  • Stay away from scented bath soaps to clean your area

Medications that may increase the risk of kidney infections

Certain medications can increase the risk of kidney infections in older adults. These include:

  1. Diuretics
    These medications, also called “water pills,” are used to increase urine output and are often prescribed to treat high blood pressure, heart failure, and other conditions. They can increase the risk of kidney infections by causing dehydration, which can lead to a buildup of bacteria in the urinary tract.
  2. Narcotics
    Narcotics, also called opioids, are strong pain medications that can slow down the muscles in the urinary tract and increase the risk of infections.
  3. Immunosuppressant medications
    These medications are used to suppress the immune system and are often prescribed to treat autoimmune diseases or after organ transplants. They can increase the risk of infections by weakening the body’s ability to fight off bacteria.
  4. Catheters
    Urinary catheters, which are tubes that are inserted into the bladder to drain urine, can increase the risk of infections by providing a pathway for bacteria to enter the urinary tract.

If you’re taking any of these medications and are at risk of kidney infections, it’s important to talk to your healthcare professional about alternative options.

Consider incorporating exercise and movement, and ensure you have your kidneys tested and monitored if you’re prone to kidney infections. 

Be sure to discuss with your doctor before taking any supplements, so you know and understand any potential interferences, particularly if you’re already on medicine or treatments.

About the Author

Jared Levenson is a former binge eating wrestler turned Zen Buddhist Monk, Internal Family Systems counselor and nutrition wellness coach. He's helped hundreds of people through universal meal principles and internal family systems to make peace with food, stop binge eating, and find true health and wholeness.

@jared_levenson

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