Interstitial Cystitis Supplements to Avoid

Cindy Wilson Thumbby Cindy Wilson
BS, Dietetics and Nutrition

When it comes to treating or curing the well-known bladder pain syndrome – Interstitial Cystitis, people often think about things they should consume.

It is natural to look for what can benefit us. But, in search of a reliable cure, you may have overlooked the things you should avoid.

So, in this post, you will learn about supplements you should avoid and take to treat IC.

Supplements to Avoid with Bladder Pain Syndrome

Interstitial cystitis or bladder pain syndrome is associated with pelvic floor dysfunction, which causes pain, urgency, and frequency. The root cause of IC is unknown yet, however. Some supplements worsen the symptoms.

So, to effectively treat interstitial cystitis, keep an eye on following supplements that worsen the condition.

1- Vitamin C

Vitamin C is one of the most abundant antioxidants. It is frequently used in medicines and also available in fruits in abundance. Moreover, depending on the long list of its beneficial effects, it is considered a “must-have” vitamin in daily diet. But with interstitial cystitis, Vit. C is proven to worsen the situation.

Research has shown that Vit. C has a positive relation with urinary storage.[2] So, a higher intake of Vit. C can create a “go-to” emergency in IC patients. Another study shows that patients with interstitial cystitis should avoid citrus fruits because of their Vit. C content.[3]

So, if you are taking multivitamins and noticing bladder pain, then consult with your physician about it. Almost all multivitamins contain Vit. C in considerable amounts.

2- Potassium

Potassium is an abundant mineral that performs and regulates several functions in the human body. But with interstitial cystitis, potassium worsens the situation.

Recent studies have found that patients with IC report a severe increase in bladder pain. Because of their damaged epithelium, which shows a higher sensitivity towards potassium than an average person.[4] Other studies have shown a significant positive correlation between potassium and an increase in pelvic pain & urgency/frequency symptoms.

Thus, reducing down the potassium levels would be a big favor to help you cure IC. Consult with your physician and dietitian, and try to cut down potassium levels.

3- Caffeine

Caffeine is a well-known brain clarity enhancer and psychostimulant which helps improve cognitive functions. But, for those suffering from bladder pain syndrome (IC), it is not friendly at all.

In recent research, it is identified that caffeine promotes early urgency and increases the frequency of symptoms. So, patients with lower urinary tract infections should consider their caffeine intake levels.[5]

It is easy to notice caffeine sensitivity in normal individuals. But patients with interstitial cystitis show a higher sensitivity because of their damaged bladder epithelial. It results in increasing pelvic pain, discomfort, and poor quality of life.

4- Iron Supplements

Iron is an essential element that regulates and contributes to various essential body functions. However, iron supplements are found to worsen the conditions in patients with IC.

Studies have identified that iron supplements have some side effects on the digestive tract. People have reported constipation, uncomfortable GI, and other side effects. But the dosage level is still unidentified.[6] Ultimately, iron supplements promote bladder pain and pelvic floor dysfunction, making things worse for interstitial cystitis patients.

That’s why it is suggested to consult with your doctor and take suggested amounts of supplements.

Recommended Supplements for IC

For the treatment of interstitial cystitis, supplements are a good option and can be used with or without prescriptive medicine. They are considered effective alternative medicine for IC treatment. In both situations, supplements are effective and can boost the immune system. But we suggest consulting with your physician if you are taking the supplements with prescription medicines.

IC supplements are formulated with compounds that help in reducing the pain, frequency, and urgency associated with interstitial cystitis. These compounds can be antacids, anti-inflammatory essential amino acids, mucopolysaccharides, and bioflavonoids that promote interstitial cystitis treatment.

So, here are the best supplements for interstitial cystitis.

1- Calcium Glycerophosphate (Prelief) – Best Antacid for IC

There are many foods, like supplements, to avoid in IC, which exacerbates the bladder symptoms. For example, alcohol, caffeine, citrus fruits & juices, carbonated beverages, and tomato products are well-known bladder irritants.[7]

Basically, these foods contain titratable acids, which disturb and cause discomfort in the bladder, resulting in increased bladder pain. Calcium Glycerophosphate is clinically proven for lowering down the titratable acids in foods.[8]

Clinical studies have proven that calcium intake, even after the consumption of exacerbators, can help reduce the discomfort, bladder pain, and associated IC symptoms in the patient. [8]

It is suggested to take Calcium Glycerophosphate before meals or before taking any known symptom exacerbator. However, the efficiency depends on the concentration.

Prelief Acid Reducer Caplets Dietary Supplement

Prelief Prelief Acid Reducer Caplets Dietary Supplement For IC Patients
Why Is It The Best?

Prelief is the best antacids for patients with IC and bladder pain syndrome because:

  • It works on the food, not on your body.
  • It is free from the drug, artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners, grain products, sugar, talc, or sodium.
  • Taking 2 to 3 Prelief caplets with your food or drink is enough to reduce the acid and minimize discomfort.

Prelief is a well-known brand for Calcium Glycerophosphate supplements among patients with bladder syndrome. It is used as an alternative medicine for interstitial cystitis. These caplets are specially formulated to help reduce bladder pain syndrome and eliminate gut health issues in patients with IC.

Prelief is clinically proven for reducing the acid concentration from food and beverages up to 95% in both patients with IC and chronic bladder pain syndrome.[9]

2- Bladder Healers for IC – Aloe vera

It is assumed that the defective bladder mucosal lining causes interstitial cystitis or chronic bladder pain syndrome. The defect in the bladder mucosal lining can be detected by the increasing levels of Hyaluronic acid – a vital glycosaminoglycan present in connective tissues.

When the damage occurs in the epithelial layers, hyaluronic acid levels increase in the urine. Thus, it supports the assumption that interstitial cystitis relates to pelvic floor damage.[10]

There wasn’t any relation between bladder toxicity and hyaluronic acid in studies. But when bladder irritants react with damaged epithelium layers, the patient feels excessive pain and discomfort on the pelvic floor.

Aloe vera is a famous plant because of its healing and therapeutic properties. Research has shown that aloe vera helps in healing the bladder epithelium layer. Clinically, it was detected based on the levels of hyaluronic acid in the urine of patients with IC.

Aloe Vera Supplement for Patients with Interstitial Cystitis

Desert Harvest Aloe Vera Supplements For IC Patients
Why is Desert Harvest Super-Strength Aloe Vera Supplements Best?

Prelief is the best antacids for patients with IC and bladder pain syndrome because:

  • Organic, vegan-friendly, and low in oxalates.
  • 600 mg freeze-dried whole leaf aloe vera powder is the active ingredient.
  • Clinically tested to relieve pain, inflammation and improve urinary tract function.
  • Specially formulated for IC patients.

Use code NUTRIINSPECTOR at checkout to get a 10% DISCOUNT off the order.

Desert Harvest Super-Strength Aloe Vera Supplements are a viable option for patients with IC. It is clinically proven to reduce the discomfort in the bladder effectively. In a study, 7 out of 8 patients with IC reported a great relief in their bladder pain, urgency, and pelvic floor discomfort.[11]

Moreover, this is the only aloe vera product in the market specially designed for IC patients. It is FREE from laxatives, allergens such as gluten, and completely vegan friendly.

Since these supplements are organic, patients will notice other benefits, such as relief in irritable bowel syndrome, bladder inflammation, and pain relief.

Additionally, this concentrated aloe vera has no anthraquinones and has no known side effects. However, every patient is unique, so we suggest taking an allergy test before regular intake.

3- Anti-Inflammatory Supplement

Bladder inflammation is the most common factor noticed by every patient with interstitial cystitis. However, all patients have unique auto-immunity or varying immune systems. But in every case, inflammation creates discomfort in bladder function.

The leading cause of interstitial cystitis is unknown yet. But the initiation of inflammation is linked with increased permeability of the bladder’s mucosal layer (vasodilation). In response to vasodilation, the body itself starts counter functions, i.e., leukocyte migration & activates mediators such as nitric oxide & histamine release. It causes swelling in the epithelium layer of the bladder, leading to ulceration, which bleeds easily.

Mediators, i.e., histamine release, are also responsible for bladder irritation which affects the frequency and causes urgency. The process and its side effects will remain the same if the cause isn’t removed, as noticed in many IC patients. [12]

In this situation, oral anti-inflammatory supplementations play a considerable role in reducing inflammation and pelvic floor discomfort in patients with IC & bladder syndrome.

Basically, anti-inflammatory supplements, such as L-arginine, improve nitric oxide levels in the body. Nitric oxides act on the bladder walls and improve blood circulation in its cells. Resulting in reducing inflammation and pain around the bladder and pelvic floor. [13]

Nature’s Bounty L-Arginine 1000 mg, 50 Tablets

Natures Bounty L Arginine Anti Inflammatory Supplements For Interstitial Cystitis
Why Nature’s Bounty L-Arginine Supplements are the Best?

Prelief is the best antacids for patients with IC and bladder pain syndrome because:

  • It contains the optimal concentration of nitric oxide required for IC patients.
  • No GMO, FREE from additives and allergens, and vegan friendly.
  • Laboratory tested.
  • One serving per day is enough for optimal results.

L-Arginine is a common amino acid essential for the body and present in many foods. It is a precursor of nitric oxide, which increases the blood circulation around the bladder cells.

Recent research has shown that oral supplementation of L-Arginine increases the nitric oxide levels in the urine of patients with interstitial cystitis, resulting in improving the symptoms of IC patients. Increased blood circulation in bladder cells helps heal the epithelial layer. Ultimately, the patient feels significant relief in pain and inflammation.

Nature’s Bounty L-Arginine supplements are specially formulated for patients with interstitial cystitis. These supplements contain 1000 mg of L-Arginine (1 gram), which is clinically proven for giving the best anti-inflammatory effects.

Omega-3 Fish Oil Supplements

kori krill omega 3 oil
Why Is It the Best?
  • Help reduce bladder inflammation, support IC treatment.
  • Non-GMO, allergen FREE, and keto-friendly.
  • Formulated with clinically tested ingredients.
  • Gives 1200 mg Omega-3s per serving.

Omega-3 fish oils are another viable option for anti-inflammatory supplements for interstitial cystitis. It is one of the most famous unsaturated fatty acids. Unlike omega-6 fatty acid, which promotes inflammation, omega-3 helps reduce inflammation.

However, both polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) are essential for the human body. They take part in different functions and maintain fluidity & flexibility in the cellular environment. Omega-6 contributes to an entirely different mechanism.

Recent studies have shown that intake of omega-3 fatty acids and decreasing the consumption of omega-6 can help reduce the bladder inflammation symptoms in IC patients. [14]

The Omega-3 supplement of Kori Krill Oil is the best pick for IC patients. Unlike other supplements, it comes in an easy-to-swallow form with no fishy after-taste. Moreover, it contains multiple omega-3s, which are not common in food sources.

4- Histamine Inhibitor

Histamine is the mediator released by the body’s response to damage in the internal epithelia of the bladder. With many other mediators, histamine is a significant reason behind the inflammation in the bladder wall. [15]

Quercetin is one of the most studied and commonly used flavonoids – a plant chemical is known to have remarkable anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and cytoprotective properties. For IC patients, quercetin is proven for inhibiting inflammatory cell functions and histamine release. It leads to inhibition of allergic pathways in the bladder, resulting in ease in the bladder pain.

Naturally, quercetin is present in the pulp of citrus fruits. That is why IC patients are prone to a lower intake of quercetin. However, research has shown that oral supplementation of quercetin can significantly reduce bladder inflammation.

Additionally, it is also noticed that a combination of quercetin with chondroitin sulfate can give additional mast cell inhibition leading to suppressing inflammation. [16]

Now Foods Quercetin with Bromelain, Veg-Capsules

Now Foods Quercetin Supplements For IC
Why Now Quercetin Supplements are the Best?
  • Spatial formulated for interstitial cystitis.
  • Non-GMO, FREE from allergens, and vegan friendly.
  • GMP certified.
  • Suggested TWO servings per day.

Among various quercetin supplements, Now Foods Quercetin with Bromelain is the best one. It is specially formulated for IC patients who suffer from severe bladder pain. These supplements give relief from pain and soothe the IC treatment. Hence, considered an alternative medicine for IC treatment.

Each capsule contains 800mg of quercetin, an optimal concentration. It is clinically proven that regular intake of quercetin supplements helps reduce IC symptoms. [17] It is suggested to take TWO servings per day for significant pain relief in the bladder pain syndrome.

4- Other Supplements

Interstitial cystitis or bladder pain syndrome is a chronic disease related to severe pain and discomfort in the pelvic floor. Aside from the supplements listed above, which are clinically tested, some additional vitamins and minerals are proven to help minimize bladder symptoms, such as vitamin D, magnesium, collagen, and probiotics.

All these nutrients are considered alternative medicines to cure urinary tract infection and associated interstitial cystitis/ bladder pain syndrome. As the leading cause of IC is unknown, it is also unclear how these supplements work. However, research has shown that these supplements help reduce IC symptoms.

Here is how these supplements help cure interstitial cystitis symptoms.

  • Magnesium, an essential mineral regulating more than THREE HUNDRED functions in the human body, is supposed to reduce allergic histamine release, worsening the IC symptoms. [15]
  • Vitamin D (Calciferol) is an essential vitamin for bone health. However, research has shown the remarkable results of vitamin D in reducing edema and bladder wall leukocyte infiltration in an IC animal model. [18]
  • Collagen, the most abundant protein in the human body, relates to the permeability of the bladder’s urothelial basement membrane permeability. In recent research, it is found that reduction in collagen levels is associated with interstitial cystitis. [19] So, consumption of collagen supplements can work as an effective alternative medicine.
  •  Probiotics are healthy bacteria that promote gut health and nurture good gut bacteria. There isn’t any solid evidence on the activity of probiotics against IC, however. A few studies have shown positive relations. Recent research has shown that Lactobacillus, a probiotic, helps prevent recurring urinary tract infections, one of the most common infections. [20]

Depending on these findings, here are some of the best magnesium, collagen, probiotics, and Vit. D-based supplements for interstitial cystitis patients.

a- NOW Magnesium Citrate – Best Magnesium Supplement

Now Magnesium Citrate Supplements For IC

NOW Magnesium Citrate is one of the best magnesium supplements for IC. The supplement gives you 400 mg of magnesium from 2,665 mg magnesium citrate – equal to 95% daily value of magnesium. So, if you want to reduce the symptoms of interstitial cystitis, you can take these supplements without consulting with your doctor.

However, if you are taking any other supplements, then seeking advice from your doctor would be beneficial.

Although it is non-GMO and free from allergens, we believe that every patient is different. So, testing it for allergies before regular use would be a plus.

Additionally, these supplements are GMP certified, halal, vegan, and keto-friendly, proving their versatility of use among a vast audience.

b- Essential Elements Collagen Peptide Supplements

Essential Elements Collagen Peptide Supplements For Interstitial Cystitis

The Essential Elements is a well-known brand for manufacturing effective supplements for interstitial patients. Their Collagen Peptide is the best pick for IC, enzymatically formulated to improve its absorption in the body. Moreover, it contains nineteen naturally occurring amino acids, regulating multiple functions in the body.

c- Acidophilus Probiotic by Nature’s Bounty

Acidophilus Probiotic By Natures Bounty

The Acidophilus probiotic by Nature’s Bounty is a famous Lactobacillus supplement. Lactobacillus acidophilus – the best probiotic for interstitial cystitis, is well known for its beneficial effects on gut health. Moreover, studies on bladder pain syndrome have also suggested that probiotics, especially Lactobacillus, help improve gut health and pelvic floor dysfunction.

These supplements are an excellent pick to take Lactobacillus from a source other than food. These supplements provide 0.5 mg daily value of Lactobacillus acidophilus. So, you can take one pill a day without your doctor’s advice.

d- NatureWise Vitamin D3 Supplements

NatureWise Vit. D3 Supplements For Interstitial Cystitis

Here comes the best Vit. D supplement for interstitial cystitis patients – NatureWise Vit. D3 Supplements.

The supplements provide 125mcg of Vit. D3 helps reduce Vitamin D deficiency in the body. Supplementation of Vit D at optimal levels will improve bladder health and help cure IC, as proven in the research. [18]

Compounded Dietary Supplements for Interstitial Cystitis

In addition to the supplements listed above, here are some of the best compounded dietary supplements for interstitial cystitis. These supplements contain multiple nutrients in an amount to improve IC symptoms.

1- CystoProtek®

CystoProtek is a well-known patented oral dietary supplement specially formulated for interstitial cystitis and pelvic dysfunction patients. It contains multiple active ingredients, including glucosamine sulfate, quercetin dehydrates, and olive kernel extract. These active ingredients target various pathways in interstitial cystitis and help improve bladder wall dysfunction symptoms.

In a recent study, patients aged 18 to 69 years with IC took two capsules of CystoProtek® twice a day with food. 50% of patients reported an overall positive impact in which men noticed 51.8% and women noticed a 48.5% reduction in their symptoms. [25]

So, CystoProtek is the best pick for effective treatment for patients with interstitial cystitis.

2- Desert Harvest Dietary Supplements

Here is another compounded dietary supplement formulated for patients with bladder pain syndrome. Desert Harvest is a well-known brand among interstitial cystitis patients. This compounded dietary supplement contains calcium, quercetin, and aloe vera as active ingredients.

These ingredients are scientifically proven to improve bladder pain symptoms and cure pelvic dysfunction. These ingredients help reduce bladder pain, inflammation, and urinary urgency & frequency.

So, if you feel severe inflammation in your suprapubic region, opt for these supplements for relief.

Desert Harvest Interstitial Cystitis Starter Kit

Use code NUTRIINSPECTOR at checkout to get a 10% DISCOUNT off the order.

Dietary Modification for IC Patients

Supplements are an essential part of IC treatment. But the food you eat makes a significant difference in the results. It is assumed that a diet full of bladder irritants would worsen the IC symptoms, leading to the recurrence of IC even after its cure. [22]

For effective and lasting treatment, modification in a patient’s diet and consideration of an elimination diet can help improve symptoms. It won’t only help in IC treatment but also enhance the patient’s immunity against bladder infections and IC flares.

Moreover, IC patients also have food sensitivities. So, the use of IC-friendly foods during and after the treatment will soothe the whole process.

Here are some of the best IC-friendly foods or natural remedies for interstitial cystitis you can consider in your daily diet.

  • Garlic
  • Fish
  • Milk
  • Kale
  • Spinach
  • Plum
  • Pear
  • Apple
  • Broccoli
  • Dates

Here is my IC Diet article for the full list of foods that help and hinder healing.

Calcium Glycerophosphate

Physical Therapy and Bladder Training for Interstitial Cystitis

In addition to medication, supplementation, and an IC-friendly diet, considering cam therapies and bladder training or physical therapy would be effective. According to recent studies, manual physical therapy can be helpful for patients with pelvic floor dysfunction or interstitial cystitis. [21]

Additionally, in the guidelines from the American Urological Association, bladder training for IC cure is listed as the first-line treatment. [23]

In a study, researchers used bladder training combined with physical therapy and diet control. After 12 weeks of controlled study with the help of a healthcare provider, 88% of patients reported significant improvement in symptoms. [24]

Moreover, cam therapies have shifted to multidisciplinary and individualized approaches. In a recent study, CAM therapy physical therapy was more frequently reported by patients’ physicians because of their profound benefits in the treatment.

Thus, physical therapy, CAM therapy, and bladder training are considered the best IC treatment methods.


Can vitamins irritate the bladder?

Yes, vitamins can irritate the bladder, but not all vitamins can. For example, Vit. C can irritate the bladder epithelium and induce urinary urgency and frequency. Thus, it is suggested to avoid citrus fruits containing vitamin C in IC. [3]

What are some early symptoms of interstitial cystitis? 

According to studies, some early symptoms of interstitial cystitis are urinary urgency, pelvic pain, bladder inflammation, and urinary tract infection. [26]

What is the best cure for chronic bladder pain syndrome? 

The best cure for chronic bladder pain syndrome or interstitial cystitis is unknown yet. However, according to the guidelines of the American Urology Association, bladder training, physical therapy, CAM therapy, and dietary modifications are the best ways to cure interstitial cystitis. [23]

Can turmeric help with interstitial cystitis?

Turmeric is a well-known spice and famous for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidative properties. [27] That is why it is assumed that turmeric can help with interstitial cystitis. However, there isn’t any evidence from research and studies on it yet.

Does D-mannose help interstitial cystitis?

D-mannose is a type of sugar supposed to help patients with interstitial cystitis. Recent studies have shown that D-mannose can help cure urinary tract infections. [28] However, the action mechanism is yet to discover. Some patients have reported that D-mannose helped them improve the IC symptoms, but clinical assessment is needed for confirmation.

Is baking soda good for interstitial cystitis? 

Yes, sodium bicarbonate or baking soda is good for interstitial cystitis. A survey-based study reported that sodium bicarbonate helps improve the symptoms associated with interstitial cystitis. Thus, it is concluded that patients should take sodium bicarbonate with water, especially before eating any bladder irritant food.


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About Author

Cindy Wilson Thumb
BS, Nutrition & Food Science | Connect with on LinkedIn
Cindy Wilson

Hello, I am Cindy, and this a website where I inspect everything related to nutrition and a healthy lifestyle. I have a BS in Dietetics and Nutrition (Kansas State University) and have completed a dozen specialty courses related to nutrition, biochemistry, and food science. I am open to learning more, but foremost I would like to share all my knowledge with you.

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