Lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS) occurs when has trouble storing and voiding urine. The most common LUTS is overactive bladder, which is simply the need to urinate although little urine is in the bladder. Overactive bladder (OAB) is incredibly common occurring in about 15% of men and 30% of women. It becomes more common with age. It is also more common in women, especially when associated with loss of bladder control. Economic costs of overactive bladder in the United States is 12.6 billion dollars.
Multiple factors can lead to OAB in men, some of which include enlargement of the prostate causing urination difficulty, overactive bladder and excessive urination during the night. Studies show that about one-third of men ages 50 years and older suffer from some symptoms of OAB. In an effort to help this condition, researchers are looking at how micronutrients affect overactive bladder, specifically vitamin D.
Not only may vitamin D have an impact on OAB in men, studies show it may play a role in many aspects of male reproductive health including male hypogonadism. Hypogonadism is a failure of the testes to function normally. Research suggests vitamin D status is positively associated with testosterone and gonadal function.
New research on vitamin D and OAB
A recent study evaluated the relationship between serum 25(OH)D levels and urinary symptoms in 434 Korean men. The researchers evaluated the patient’s urinary tract health via several standard health questionnaires as well as their 25(OH)D levels. Vitamin D deficiency was defined as levels below < 20 ng/mL, and vitamin D insufficiency was defined as 25(OH)D levels between 20-30 ng/mL.
Then the researchers treated 40 of these men with vitamin D deficiency (mean 14 ng/ml) with a single intramuscular injection of 200,000 IU of vitamin D. Two months after treatment, the researchers reassessed the participant’s response to the questionnaires, serum 25(OH)D, and several inflammatory markers.
- Overactive bladder symptoms were significantly correlated with vitamin D levels (P value unavailable).
- Even after 200,000 IU injection, 25(OH)D only went from 14 to 23 ng/ml.
- Moderate to severe OAB were both most prevalent during the winter (p=0.042).
- Symptoms of OAB decreased by about 40% after vitamin D.
Overactive bladder impairs sleep, socialization, and intimate relations. A 40% reduction is as large, if not larger, then the eight standard overactive bladder medications. Would it have been even better if treatment had obtained final 25(OH)D >40 ng/ml?
Vitamin D Council recommendations
Supplementing with 5,000-10,000 IU vitamin D3 per day may help prevent or decrease severity of overactive bladder symptoms. Do you have overactive bladder and supplement with vitamin D? We encourage you to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell us your story. If you do so, it will help others.
Namery, R. & Cannell, JJ., MD. Overactive bladder? Studies show Vitamin D helps. The Vitamin D Council Blog & Newsletter, 6/2018.