Twice a Day Keeps the “Bugs” Away
18 April 2004
Twice a Day Keeps the “Bugs” Away
Drinking Cranberry juice twice daily is a clear solution to this common problem
While an apple a day keeps the doctor away, another red fruit, consumed twice per day, can be a healthy helper for many New Zealand women. It’s clear that cranberry juice can help maintain urinary tract health, but it is only recently that researchers have begun to understand it should be consumed twice per day in order to achieve optimum results.
According to well-documented findings, regular consumption of cranberry juice may help protect against urinary tract infections (UTIs), even those caused by antibiotic resistant bacteria, by keeping the “bugs,” or certain bacteria, from sticking to the urinary tract wall and causing infection.
Findings published in a research letter to the editor in The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), were the first to identify the duration of cranberry’s beneficial anti-stick, or anti-adhesion effect.
This research found that cranberry’s anti-stick effect starts within two hours of consumption and can last for up to ten, which suggests consuming one serving in the morning and one in the evening provides around-the-clock protection.
“Research shows that cranberry juice keeps bacteria from sticking to the urinary tract wall – so basically when the bugs don’t stick, UTIs can’t occur” said Amy B. Howell, Ph.D., research scientist at Rutgers and lead investigator of the JAMA study. “This effect works best when a certain level of cranberry juice is maintained in the system, so drinking a glass in the morning and one in the evening results in the best possible health benefits.” She added, “following a simple ‘twice a day’ rule is a great way to take full advantage of the anti-adhesion effect to maintain a healthy urinary tract.”
The cranberry’s “anti-stick” effect may also be a useful ally in fighting one of the world’s most pressing health problems—antibiotic resistance.
UTIs are among the most common bacterial infections and some E. coli bacteria that cause them are now becoming increasingly resistant to the commonly-prescribed antibiotics used to treat them.
Anyone who suspects an infection should always consult a physician. Cranberry juice cocktail should not be used as a treatment for infection, but may be an effective part of a prevention routine.
When buying cranberry product, it is important to buy a brand with sufficient cranberry content, so check the label.
Ocean Spray Cranberry Classic - with 25 percent cranberry content - is recommended by Australasian urogynocologists.
Bio: Amy B. Howell, Ph.D.
Associate Research Scientist
Marucci Center for Blueberry and Cranberry Research
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
Dr. Amy B. Howell is an associate research scientist at the Marucci Center for Blueberry and Cranberry Research at Rutgers University, where she works on isolating natural products from cranberries and blueberries that benefit health. Since 1993, Dr. Howell has been engaged in research aimed at identifying the active compounds in cranberries that prevent urinary tract infections and determining their role in maintenance of urinary tract health. With the help of a team of scientists, Dr. Howell isolated specific compounds from cranberry fruit, called condensed tannins or proanthocyanidins, which were found to be capable of preventing E. coli bacteria from attaching to cells from the urinary tract. This work, funded in part by research grants from Ocean Spray Cranberries, Inc., was published in The New England Journal of Medicine. Her work on identification of the unique molecular structures of these beneficial cranberry tannins has been published in both Phytochemistry and the Journal of Natural Products. She is also studying the pharmacokinetics and bioavailability of the cranberry tannins in an effort to determine site(s) of action and dose-response. Dr. Howell’s current study, published in The Journal of the American Medical Association, investigates cranberry’s role in preventing antibiotic resistant bacteria from colonizing the urinary tract.
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