Cranberry extract has a proven track record in supporting urinary health. Beginning in the 1980’s scientific studies have shown the ability of cranberry juice and cranberry extract to prevent the attachment of E. coli, the primary bacteria that causes UTIs, to uroepithelial cells on the walls of the urinary tract. And, without the ability to attach, bacteria cannot cause a UTI.
However, the benefits of cranberry extract may be boosted by the addition of other nutrients that have different modes of action such as D-Mannose, probiotics/prebiotics and Vitamin C.
D-mannose is a simple sugar found in many fruits, vegetables, and plants that also helps prevent certain kinds of bacteria like E. coli from attaching to the walls of the bladder and lower urinary tract, but it does so in another process. D-Mannose is chemically attracted to compounds called lectins which bacteria also uses to attach itself to the walls of the urinary tract. Once D-mannose occupies the lectins, they are unable to attach to the wall of the urinary tract, the bacteria are flushed out of the body through urination.
Pathogenic bacteria that cause most of the urogenital infections come from the rectum to the perineal area and then on to the vagina. Intestinal probiotics such as L. rhamnosus, L. acidophilus, and L. fermentes reside in the colon, perineal area and vagina, and help to prevent bacterial infections in those areas. Prebiotics such as FOS (fructooligosaccharides) stimulate microflora, especially probiotics, by providing basic nutrition and energy for their health and propagation.
In addition to the everyday nutritional value that Vitamin C gives us, it can specifically help with the prevention of UTIs. Various modes of action for Vitamin C have been studied and the conclusions are that the nutrient may help prevent UTIs in multiple ways. One mode of action is its ability to alter the pH of urine to create unfavorable conditions for bacteria to survive. Another is to cause the reduction of urinary nitrites to more benign compounds such as reactive nitrogen oxides.
It’s clear that the addition of specific other nutrients may provide a more complete solution to avoiding UTIs than cranberry extract alone. Adding D-mannose, probiotics, prebiotics and Vitamin C significantly increases the benefits of a urinary health supplement and helps provide protection from recurring UTIs.