Which Ancestral Supplements Might Help with Interstitial Cystitis?
Last year we welcomed the Ancestral Supplements range of products to the store. They’ve been extremely popular and I already love them – every time I add a new one to the site, I seem to add it to my mental list of products I want to try! The one that has impressed me the most so far has been the Blood Vitality, which is a brilliant, natural way to keep my iron levels up, but there are loads of items that I haven’t had chance to try yet!
I originally wanted to bring the Ancestral products to the store because I thought they could have a role in helping people with interstitial cystitis. I have decided that this month, I will talk about a few of the Ancestral products that I feel might have applications in addressing bladder issues.
Please note that I am not a doctor and nothing in this article is intended to constitute medical advice. Please also note that no research has been carried out into the effects of Ancestral Supplements products on bladder conditions. The material in this post represents only my opinions, which I am sharing for your interest and entertainment. Always consult with a qualified healthcare practitioner before beginning any new supplements or embarking on any diet or lifestyle changes.
First of all, let me tell you that Brian, owner of Ancestral Supplements, recommends that people who are looking for gentle, foundation, whole body nourishment should begin with some or all of the following products: Beef Organs, Beef Liver and Bone and Marrow. These provide the broadest range of all-round support. People who are looking for support in a more specific area should choose products that particularly target their own health concern.
Let me also tell you that you are likely to experience some degree of detoxification symptoms when you first begin a new Ancestral Supplements product. The way these manifest and the extent to which they do so will probably depend on: a) the state of your general health; and b) your own particular weak areas. For example, I live a generally healthy lifestyle and have taken lots of steps in the past to clean up my diet, address leaky gut and candida, and replenish my good gut bacteria. I therefore tend to experience only mild detoxification symptoms when I begin new supplements, if I experience any at all. My weaknesses are that I suffer from anxiety easily and don’t have an easy time with my hormones. My own detoxification symptoms therefore tend to include anxiety that feels different to normal and an unusual menstrual cycle (perhaps shorter, or easier, or with more mood issues). As my health has improved, any detoxification symptoms I experience are milder and less wide ranging than they were at the start of my healing journey. Your own symptoms, if you get any, will likely target your weak areas.
Detoxification symptoms are not unique to Ancestral Supplements products and are nothing to worry about. I actually consider them a good thing, because it means that whatever I am taking is having some sort of effect! They usually pass within a few days and for me they are never too unpleasant. You can reduce the likelihood of experiencing detox symptoms by introducing new supplements slowly in low doses. The weaker you are, the wiser it is to do this, as people in very poor health are likely to experience more severe symptoms. Detoxification symptoms are also known as die-off reactions or Herxheimer reactions (Herx reactions) and I would encourage you to learn a bit about them before you embark on any natural supplements, be they Ancestral or otherwise!
Finally, I want to alert you to the fact that Ancestral Supplements’ own website contains a staggering amount of information about each of their products and the system that it targets. I am going to provide only a brief summary of each product that I mention, because this blog post would turn into a book otherwise! If a particular product catches your interest, or you want to learn other ways to support a particular body system, I cannot recommend strongly enough that you go and check out the Ancestral Supplements website. They have a separate page for each product and at the bottom there is often bonus information, including recipes, dietary advice and lifestyle recommendations. Unlike me, they also reference their work, so you can find further reading should you wish to do so!
Now that we’ve got that cleared up, let’s get into the Ancestral Supplements products that I think might be useful in interstitial cystitis and other bladder conditions!
It has been hypothesised that the glycosaminoglycan (GAG) layer of the bladder is compromised in those with interstitial cystitis. GAG molecules are long molecules that strongly attract water, allowing them to form a mucous membrane on various body surfaces, including the urothelium (the layer of the bladder that forms a barrier between urine and deeper bladder layers). When the GAG layer of the bladder is damaged, urine comes into contact with the urothelium where it can cause inflammation and irritation. Although not all interstitial cystitis cases involve GAG layer damage, plenty do. Repairing the GAG layer might therefore be an important step in addressing the condition. The following Ancestral Supplements products all contain glycosaminoglycan molecules:
- Bone and Marrow, Pure Marrow and Living Bone
- Collagen (contains types I, II and II collagen and also contains chondroitin sulphates, as found in glucosamine and chondroitin supplements)
- Trachea with Liver (also contains chondroitin sulphates and type II collagen)
- Wild Caught Fish Eggs. This also contains vitamins A and D, which play an important role in fighting infections, and omega 3, which is anti-inflammatory. It is a whole food source of iodine, which is an essential component of the thyroid hormones T3 and T4 (see later for more about the thyroid).
If your bladder issues are accompanied with infection, including chronic embedded infection, then these products might be of interest:
- Spleen, which contains tuftsin, splenopentin and splenin to support and modulate the immune system and inflammatory health. Tuftsin stimulates macrophages and other defence cells; tuftsin deficiency is linked to bacterial infections. Splenin helps to increase neutrophils and macrophages. Spleen also contains alkylglycerols (AKGs) which further boost the immune system and might help with treatment-resistant conditions.
- Thymus with Liver, which contains thymosin, thymopoietin and serum thymic factor to assist with the development of T-cells and support immune system health. Thymus with Liver might support the thymus gland, which plays a crucial role in fighting infections, viruses and fungal overgrowths. People with chronic bacterial infections, candida overgrowth, viral infections including Epstein Barr (which has been linked to bladder pain conditions), autoimmune conditions (including rheumatoid arthritis) and allergies (including hay fever) might be especially interested in nourishing their thymus gland.
If you suspect a histamine component to your bladder issues, especially if you have overactive bladder, allergies or hay fever, then these products might be worth a look:
- Thymus with Liver, for the reasons explained above
- Kidney, which contains the enzyme diamine oxidase (DAO) important in histamine breakdown. Based on the principle of like supports like, Kidney might also support kidney health and urinary health and could therefore be useful in those of you whose urinary issues extend further up than just the bladder.
I actually think the pairing of Thymus and Kidney could be very exciting for those of you with quite complex and stubborn interstitial cystitis. And yes, you could take them alongside other natural interstitial cystitis products! I actually put Thymus into the store sooner than planned because a customer told me that her own daughter’s bladder pain had cleared up after addressing Epstein Barr and taking steps to support the Thymus gland. If any of you have success with it, please let me know – I’ll be really excited to hear about it!
Chronic bladder pain is often accompanied by digestive complaints. These might be obvious digestive disorders like diarrhoea, constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, and Crohn’s Disease. They might also be less obvious – think Candida or frequent thrush, food intolerances, eczema, migraines, anxiety or depression, or just generally rubbish health. I’m sure you remember me writing about leaky gut and food intolerances on lots of previous occasions, but in case you missed them, you can check out this post and this one.
Those of you with digestive issues might like to consider these products:
- Trachea with Liver – tracheal cartilage has been shown to be very effective in inflammatory conditions of the gut. It also contains glycosaminoglycan molecules and type II collagen, which might help to heal the gut and support digestive health.
- Intestines with Tripe, which contains collagen, glutamine, and probiotics, as well as gut-specific enzymes and proteins. These might help to heal a leaky gut and support overall gut health.
- Gallbladder with Ox Bile and Liver, which contains bile acids and gallbladder-specific proteins and enzymes. These might encourage healthy bile flow for improved digestion and better absorption of fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K, which in turn might help to address leaky gut and related conditions.
- Collagen, which contains types I, II and III collagen, as well as glycosaminoglycan molecules and chondroitin sulphates. These are important components of connective tissue and might be useful in addressing leaky gut. Collagen has anti-inflammatory properties which have been shown to be very effective in inflammatory conditions of the gut.
Many interstitial cystitis patients feel there is a connection to their hormones. I get a LOT of people telling me that things got worse around menopause and a fair few of those tell me they had a blip around pregnancy, but then got better again for a few years. They often experience vaginal dryness or have vaginal pain conditions like vulvodynia. If you feel that your bladder issues might have a hormonal connection, regardless of whether you are male or female, menstruating or post-menopausal, the following products might help:
- If you are female, Female Enhancement Mixture with Mammary (FEMM). This is not yet available, but is expected in Winter 2021. As the name suggests, it supports female hormone balance and the health of female reproductive hormones. As a bonus, it contains bone matrix, bone marrow and cartilage and glycosaminoglycan molecules. It is also a natural source of vitamin B6, something many IC sufferers might be deficient in, because they are often unable to tolerate supplemental B6.
- If you are male, Male Optimization Formula with Organs (MOFO). As the name suggests, this one supports male hormone balance and the health of male reproductive hormones! As a bonus, it contains bone matrix, bone marrow and cartilage and glycosaminoglycan molecules.
- Both genders: Wild Caught Fish Eggs. This contains phospholipids and omega 3 which are important for hormone synthesis, as well as zinc and vitamin D, which are important for fertility.
- Both genders: Tallow. This contains cholesterol, which is a precursor to all sex hormones. Taking Tallow alongside FEMM or MOFO might help them to work more effectively. Tallow also assists with the absorption of the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K and helps to support inflammation and immune health.
If you have interstitial cystitis or vaginal pain issues, I would recommend that you get your reproductive hormone levels checked. In the first instance, your GP should be able to do this for free. If you want a more detailed check, see this blog post about salivary and dried urine hormone testing.
If you have underactive thyroid:
- Thyroid with Liver, which contains whole thyroid glandular and might support thyroid health.
If you have a history of frequent infections, including bladder infections, or if you have interstitial cystitis or PGAD, I would recommend that you get your thyroid hormone levels checked. In the first instance, your GP should be able to do this for free. If you want a more detailed check, visit Thyroid UK and Stop the Thyroid Madness for more information about this.
If you are male and want extra prostate support:
- Prostate with Liver, which might support healthy urine flow and erectile health. I am unsure whether this will help with prostatitis, but if any of you try it for that and have success with it, I would be interested to know! Yes, it can be taken alongside other natural interstitial cystitis products!
There are two other products that I am very excited about with regards to bladder health and women’s health – Bladder Restore and Placenta. As the name suggests, I think the Bladder Restore will be especially useful in addressing bladder issues! Placenta will not be available until the end of July and Bladder Restore will not be available until at least Winter 2021, so I will write about them in their own post some other time.
Okay, I hope you found that little introduction to some of the Ancestral Supplements range useful. Personally I think all of the products sound so good that it is hard to know which to choose! I just want them all really! If you try any of them, do bear in mind what I said about detoxification reactions and do also allow them sufficient time to take effect. As with Tiny Pioneer Simply PEA, you need to think in terms of several weeks (ideally three months) rather than a few days – the bladder is a complex organ with many layers that replenish at different speeds! And do remember to have a look at the Ancestral Supplements website for extra information about all of the mentioned products – you will not believe how much there is to learn there!
Until next time,
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