George Krucik, MD, MBA
Frequent urination can sometimes be the harbinger of bad health news, such as a bladder infection. At other times going to the bathroom frequently just means your body is doing its job to cleanse your system of fluids and waste. Swelling or edema in the body is often treated with prescription or over-the-counter diuretic medications, a type of drug that increases urination to pump excess fluids from your body. Certain vitamins and minerals can also have a diuretic effect on your body, even if you are not intending to expel extra fluids. Consult your doctor to determine if using vitamins to fight water retention is right for you.
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Vitamin B6 manages your metabolism in several ways. The nutrient metabolizes both protein and red blood cells and regulates your blood sugar levels, according to the National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements, or ODS. A deficiency of B6 could cause you to develop anemia and its associated symptoms, such as fatigue. Vitamin B6 also has diuretic effects and rids your body of excess fluids, in the form of urination. California-based women's health specialist Dr. Marilynn Pratt explains that vitamin B6 can be especially helpful to women who experience water retention before they begin their menstrual cycle. According to the ODS, adults should take between 1.3 and 2 mg of vitamin B6 daily. Using too much of the nutrient as a natural diuretic could lead to nerve damage in your hands and feet, in some cases. Check with your doctor to determine appropriate dosages---and to prevent dehydration---if you're using the supplement specifically to induce frequent urination.
Vitamin C, also called ascorbic acid, is a nutrient that you don't store in your body and thus need to keep taking in through diet. Adult recommended daily allowances of vitamin C range from 75 to 120 mg, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center website. The antioxidant vitamin can be a powerhouse, preventing scurvy, and may strengthen your immune system. Due to the fact that your body can't store vitamin C, excess amounts of the vitamin are naturally flushed out of your system through urination. The diuretic effects of the nutrient has been studied for decades, as related in a 1937 "Biochemical Journal" article. For this reason, UMMC cautions people to drink lots of water while taking vitamin C supplements, to prevent dehydration.
Magnesium is not classified as a vitamin as B6 and C are, but rather is an electrolyte. No matter how it's labeled, magnesium is an essential nutrient that can cause you to urinate more frequently when you have large doses running through your body. A 1998 issue of the "Journal of Women's Health" reported that taking 200 mg of magnesium daily for approximately two months relieved women of child-bearing age of premenstrual water retention. The efficacy of the dietary supplement was measured by urinary output; women who took magnesium urinated more than those who did not take the mineral.
- Mothernature.com: Nature's Medicines: Water Retention
- "Biochemical Journal"; The Diuretic Action of Vitamin C; Mohammed Abdo Abbasy; February 1937.
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Vitamin C
- "Journal of Women's Health"; Magnesium Supplementation Alleviates Premenstrual Symptoms of Water Retention; A.F. Walker et al; November 1998.
- Project AWARE: Water Retention—Alternative Remedies