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Alpha Lipoic Acid Could Help Treat Overactive Bladder

Urge to Go - Bladder Control

Studies suggest alpha lipoic acid could help safely reduce the urge to go. It may even work better than medication used to treat overactive bladder, which can ironically create a bladder that "won't go." That's because these anticholinergic drugs can interfere with completely emptying the bladder. Conversely, alpha lipoic acid can help improve bladder function and even counteract other causes of an underactive bladder. (ii.148-150)

What Causes an Overactive or Underactive Bladder?

Overactive bladder increases the urge to urinate. One of the reasons for this feeling is because of the bladder muscle contracts too much and doesn't work properly. Both under and overactive bladder conditions are linked to: (ii.148-150)

  • Blocked blood flow.
  • Free radical damage.
  • Impaired nerves in the bladder.

Enlarged bladder walls block blood flow, affect bladder contractions, and cause more injury (and further thickening) of the bladder. The end result is bladder outlet obstruction and urine retention. (ii.150)

Bladder outlet obstruction affects how well the bladder works. It can lead to both an increased urge to go and retention of urine. Inflammation can also damage nerves needed for the bladder to contract and empty fully. (ii.148-150)

Inflammation related to benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) can cause obstruction in the bladder. Both bladder issues are also common complications of diabetes — a condition called diabetic cystopathy. (ii.149151-152)

How Can Alpha Lipoic Acid Help Bladder Function?

Alpha lipoic acid is a water and fat-soluble antioxidant with powerful anti-inflammatory properties as well. Both of these attributes can help reduce the urge to go without blocking the ability to fully empty the bladder. (150)

Research shows that alpha lipoic acid activity protects bladder cells from free radicals and cell death. This prevents thickening of the bladder wall. (ii.150)

In an animal study, the combination of alpha lipoic acid and coenzyme Q10 (Co-Q10) increased nerve responsiveness in the bladder compared to untreated animals. It also improved the effectiveness of solifenacin, a conventional drug prescribed to treat overactive bladder. (ii.148)

Solifenacin works by binding to receptors in the bladder muscle for acetylcholine. A chemical that transmits nerve signals, acetylcholine attaches to a certain type of receptor in the bladder and helps regulate muscle contractions. Similarly, animal studies suggest alpha lipoic acid works in the same way. Alpha lipoic acid was also shown to counteract nerve-damaging activity in the bladders of diabetic rats. (153)

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