Night-time toilet visits were reduced following a trial that used organic Angelica leaf extract herb. Pumpkin seed extract was also shown to help with urinary incontinence in a separate trial. Viridian Nutrition uncovers the studies behind the ingredients linked to bladder health.
Living with urinary incontinence is more than a physical problem - it can also have an impact on an individual’s emotional state. Simply laughing too hard out loud in public or sneezing can trigger unwanted leakage. Many find themselves inadvertently adapting their life around their incontinence.
Embarrassed to talk about it? Urinary incontinence is a fairly common problem. The NHS estimates that 14 million people in the UK have some degree of urinary incontinencei and 30-50% of all older adults are affected.
Urinary incontinence is defined as the involuntary leakage of urine and there are several different forms of incontinence including:
- Stress – when the bladder is under pressure such as laughing or sneezing.
- Urge – uncontrollable urge to pass urine causing involuntary leakages.
- Overflow – inability to empty the bladder entirely causing leakages.
The most common cause of urinary incontinence is due to the weakening of the pelvic muscles. This can happen during pregnancy, childbirth, weight gain and generally with age. Additionally, an enlarged prostate gland can also be a key cause for incontinence in men.
Urinary incontinence can seriously impact an individual’s quality of life and a study conducted by Abrahams et al found that urinary incontinence can have an even greater impact on quality of life than those living with type 2 diabetesii. However, it can be managed or overcome.
The research into organic Angelica archangelica
A herbal extract sourced from an organically certified island – close to the edge of the Arctic Circle, off the Icelandic coastline, has demonstrated beneficial effects on an overactive bladder. In a randomised controlled trial on a group of men, supplementation with 200mg of organic Angelica archangelica leaf extract significantly reduced nocturia (toilet visits during the night) and improved total bladder volumeiii.
Organic Icelandic Angelica Archangelica has been studied for its benefits on bladder health.
Research into pumpkin seed extract
Pumpkin seed extract has also been shown to help with urinary incontinence. In a double-blind trial over 12 weeks, 218mg of pumpkin seed extract alongside soya germ in women was found to significantly reduce urination urgency and nocturia.iv
Pumpkin Seed Extract used in a 12-week trial shown to help with urinary incontinence.
Additionally, pumpkin seed extract has also been purported to assist men suffering with benign prostatic hyperplasia (enlarged prostate gland). The effects of pumpkin seed extract were assessed over a one-year period in males experiencing lower urinary symptoms associated with BPH. The outcome indicated an improvement in International Prostate Symptom Score and perceived quality of life compared to placebo.v
A natural solution to urinary incontinence?
You’ve read the research, so what are the options? Well, it can be concluded that supplementation with these two herbal extracts may be able assist those experiencing an overactive bladder and so, may offer a natural support for urinary incontinence.
Salma Dawood is a Technical Advisor at Viridian Nutrition. She holds a BSc honours degree in Human Nutrition.
i Buckley, B. S., & Lapitan, M. C. M. (2009) Prevalence of urinary and faecal incontinence and nocturnal enuresis and attitudes to treatment and help seeking amongst a community-based representative sample of adults in the United Kingdom. International journal of clinical practice, 63(4), 568-57.
ii Abrams P, Kelleher CJ, Kerr LA, Rogers RG. Overactive bladder significantly affects quality of life. Am J Manag Care. 2000 Jul;6(11 Suppl):S580-90. Review.
iii Sigurdsson S, Geirsson G, Gudmundsdottir H, Egilsdottir PB, Gudbjarnason S. A parallel, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study to investigate the effect of SagaPro on nocturia in men. Scand J Urol. 2013 Feb;47(1):26-32
iv Shim, Bongseok & Jeong, Hyewon & Lee, Sara & Hwang, Sehee & Moon, Byeongseok & Storni, Charlotte. (2014). A randomized double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial of a product containing pumpkin seed extract and soy germ extract to improve overactive bladder-related voiding dysfunction and quality of life. Journal of Functional Foods.
v Vahlensieck W, Theurer C, Pfitzer E, Patz B, Banik N, Engelmann U. Effects of pumpkin seed in men with lower urinary tract symptoms due to benign prostatic hyperplasia in the one-year, randomized, placebo- controlled GRANU study. Urol Int. 2015;94(3):286-95.