We all diaper and clean our babies, and then at some point, almost like a switch, we decide this is no longer acceptable. “Potty Training” begins and there is a billion dollar industry that boasts “simple” and ‘quick” ways to facilitate this process. We never think of the possibility of bedwetting.
Let’s review how we got to this point….
We diaper newborns because their nervous system is not yet fully developed. As these little beings grow, we feed them nutrient dense breast milk and foods to develop a properly functioning nervous system. As children continue to grow and develop, the frequency of nighttime wetting decreases and continence improves. Yet some children continue bedwetting while others stop.
Methylation and bedwetting
As with many facets of development, there are numerous reasons why a single condition, such as nighttime wetting, can have multiple contributing causes.
The bulk of cases are more stubborn than the amelioration by common sense remedies such as reducing or eliminating sugar, urination just before bedtime, elimination of caffeine, and removing or reducing electronics in the sleeping space. These cases require further evaluation. Recent research has brought to light the Methylation challenges that can cause bedwetting issues in children.
We know bedwetting occurs in those with delayed central nervous system development. We know that the body needs ample B12 and Folate to develop the nervous system properly. Supporting with proper B12 and folate can be very helpful in these cases. Other research has shown that kids with bedwetting issues have lower folate levels (compared with the “control group”).
Upon further evaluation, assessing gene SNPs such as MTHFR, PEMT, DAO, COMT and FUT2 were common in kids with bedwetting troubles (all of the SNPs mentioned have some effect on B12 or folate metabolism). B12 and Folate are critical for proper methylation. If an individual has low folate and low B12, then their methylation system is going to function less optimally. Interestingly enough, Methylation genes are passed from parents, so it is likely there is a family history of bedwetting in many cases.
Causes of low folate and B12
Other than genetic predisposition there are a list of reasons that could predispose kids to Low Folate, and B12 levels and subsequently bedwetting such as:
- Vegan and Vegetarian diets (low in B12)
- Medications (antacids, and other pharmaceuticals that rob b12 and folate stores)
- Low protein intake (fussy eaters; kids need 0.8 g of protein per kg of body weight)
- Caffeine (found in many sodas, and never recommended)
- Limited vegetable consumption (provides folate and fiber)
- Limited red meat intake (provides B12)
- Limited healthy carbohydrate consumption (too much gluten containing foods and processed foods rob the body of B12 and folate)
- High sugar consumption (a pseudo diuretic effect can occur and kids can excessively urinate)
- Stress and fears (uses up methylation nutrients faster)
- Food allergies (use up B12 and folate quickly)
Supplements that could help
Supplements to consider in a bedwetting child (provided all the obvious steps have been taken); to maximize proper methylation (consult your doctor to get the correct dosage for your child’s age):
- Methyl Folate
- B2 (supports MTHFR)
- Glycine (if children are anxious over the situation)
It’s worth noting that bedwetting can occur in adults too.
This article is for educational purposes and is not a substitute for advice from a qualified health professional.