TERRY’S BOTTOM LINE:
Urgent urination, overactive bladder, nighttime trips to the
bathroom, incontinence, and bedwetting greatly reduce quality of life, rest,
and even the ability to travel. However, there is an amazing extract that
strengthens bladder muscles and increases bladder capacity. Angelica
archangelica works directly on the bladder making it the perfect
choice for men and women.
This amazing extract comes from angelica (Angelica
archangelica), which grows in Iceland. I recommend using an extract that comes
from the leaves. It is important to note that Chinese angelica (Angelica
sinensis), also known as dong quai, is not the same as angelica (Angelica
Angelica archangelica leaf extract will make a big
difference for anyone who:
- Constantly needs to go to the bathroom
- Deals with enlarged prostate or BPH (benign prostate
- Suffers from low bladder capacity
- Fights incontinence
- Suffers from enuresis (bedwetting)
- Is sleep deprived from nighttime bathroom trips
Dealing with an overactive bladder that makes you go the
bathroom several times a day or night, or worse yet, dealing with enuresis
(bedwetting) because of a weak and leaking bladder is possibly one of the most
frustrating and embarrassing problems anyone can endure.
These are not isolated problems. About 17% of women and 16%
of men over the age of 18 have overactive bladder issues. As we age, overactive
bladder becomes more common, affecting one in five adults over the age of 40.
For men, the causes of overactive bladder often overlap with
symptoms of benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH). Aside from urinary urgency
during the day, many men deal with nocturia – a need to go to the bathroom
several times a night, which is extremely disruptive to sleep. Of course,
nocturia isn’t just limited to men dealing with BPH. The chances increase with
age for women, too.
Others deal with daily incontinence; those who worry that
every sneeze or laugh will make them wet their pants are not alone. Urinary
incontinence, whether due to chronic bladder irritation, bladder weakness,
bacteria, or BPH, affects at least 25 million Americans. Most of the sufferers
are women, but one-third of women and men 30 to 70 years old
have experienced some symptoms of urinary incontinence.
And while bedwetting is often associated with children,
there are some adults who, because of their overactive or weak bladders, have
never experienced a dry night. The natural herb I recommend can offer a true
ray of hope in this case as well.
Conventional prescription approaches bring side effects and
risks, and aren’t always effective. Of course, in many cases, even natural
approaches to dealing with bladder health and incontinence are divided between
men and women. However, angelica (Angelica archangelica) – the
angels’ herb – is the perfect choice for both, and it is the subject of
this Terry Talks Nutrition®.
The fruits, leaves, and roots of Angelica archangelica have
been used in folk medicine for centuries, and it was cultivated in the Nordic
countries during the Middle Ages. Vikings even used this herb as a form of
currency. In fact, banning the theft of angelica was actually written into some
of the earliest law books in Iceland about 1,000 years ago! These days,
angelica tea from the leaves and cereal from the seeds are popular foods in
Icelandic angelica has been found to contain a number of
important compounds, including isoquercitrin and other flavonoids, polyphenols,
and polysaccharides. It is these compounds that are considered to be
responsible for the plant’s many beneficial effects. Some scientists believe it
is the intense arctic summer with 24 hours of daylight that spurs the growth
and concentration of nutrients in this herb.
Found throughout Iceland, angelica leaves are gathered by
hand by local people in an eco-friendly manner. Although abundant, wild
angelica is still recognized as a valuable resource, so only eco-friendly and
sustainable methods (commonly referred to as “wild harvesting” or “wild
crafting”) are used to harvest the plant.
Clinical Results – Stronger Bladder, Better Sleep
Icelandic angelica has clinical research to back it up. In
an 8-week, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study, men suffering from
nocturia – an overactive bladder at night – received angelica leaf extract or
placebo. The men in this study were age 45 and older, which is often when men
begin noticing urinary frequency and the first symptoms of BPH.
Many times, any urinary frequency issues for men are
immediately considered a prostate problem. But that’s not always the case. In
fact, overactive bladder is prevalent too, and requires a very different
approach than we’d use for prostate health.
Of course, one of the biggest problems with nocturia isn’t
just the fact of having to go to the bathroom; it’s the disruption of sleep,
low energy and grogginess the next day. After a while, the lack of sleep wears
down immune resistance, reduces your ability to concentrate, leads to weight gain,
and truly hurts your quality of life.
There are a few things that are measured when researchers
test those dealing with nocturia, including nocturnal urinary output and
nocturnal urinary capacity. What often happens as people age (and also in many
cases of diabetes, BPH, and cardiovascular issues) is that bladder capacity
decreases as well, in part because it never seems to stop contracting, so there
is simply less room in the bladder at any given time. Bladder tissue also gets
weaker with age, making people more prone to accidental “leaks” before they can
find a bathroom or while they sleep.
During this study, three main parameters were measured:
increase in bladder volume, reduction in nocturnal voids (bathroom trips), and
increase in the duration of the first sleep period. The results were excellent.
In the subgroup with a bladder capacity of less than 260 ml,
those taking angelica saw an increase of over 170% in bladder capacity vs. the
In the subgroup with more than 3 bathroom trips during the
standardized 8.7 hour night, angelica reduced the number of trips by up to 48%.
And, in the subgroup of men age 70 or older, angelica
increased the first uninterrupted sleep period by 180% vs. the placebo group.
This is impressive, because the prevalence of nocturia for men aged 70 and
older can range from 50% to 80% or more. No wonder so many older individuals
only get a few hours of sleep each night.
This is hopeful news for a number of reasons. First, men
often don’t seek medical advice for urinary frequency as they may simply figure
that it is an unavoidable consequence of getting older.
Additionally, there are the complications of the
prescription drugs to consider. Many of them – whether they are hormone
medications themselves or receptor agents that try to balance hormone levels –
carry risks and side effects with them. There are also surgical interventions
that have many risks, and can be unsuccessful.
What is especially interesting about this study is that its
direct action was not on the prostate, but rather on the bladder. That means it
can be beneficial for both men and women. Plus, the angelica
extract was very well tolerated and showed no hormonal effects. It also showed
no unwanted side effects like increased blood pressure or heart rate, or
reduced libido – a definite difference from many prescription drugs.
So why does it work? The authors of the study note that the
isoquercitrin content in the angelica leaf extract may be at least partly
responsible. Isoquercitrin influences the activity of leukotrienes (LTD4) that
are derived from arachidonic acid in the smooth muscle cells of the bladder.
They cause contractions in the bladder and urethra by stimulating receptors.
When this happens, the result is an overactive and potentially leaky bladder
and a feeling of “needing to go” throughout the day and night.
Isoquercitrin may inhibit the activity of these leukotrienes
by either slowing their production or stopping them from binding on the
receptor cells that trigger the bladder contractions. The result is less
urinary urgency, an ability of the bladder to fill to greater capacity before
needing to be emptied, and much more restful, undisturbed sleep.
Another thing to note is that angelica extract has replaced
saw palmetto berry as the number one bladder product in Iceland. That’s quite a
feat! If it didn’t work, it wouldn’t sell so amazingly well.
If you deal with an overactive bladder, BPH, urgency, or
frequent trips to the bathroom at night, Icelandic angelica extract is the
perfect choice. I’d recommend that you start with 200 mg per day – 100 mg
in the morning and 100 mg at night – for the first few days, and then drop down
to 100 mg per day when you start to notice less urgency and better sleep.
You’ll be able to tell that it’s working – just count the trips you make to the
If you deal with an overactive bladder, BPH, urgency, or
frequent trips to the bathroom at night, I recommend taking 100-200 mg of
Angelica (Angelica archangelica) Leaf Extract daily.