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Nutrient - Cranberry fights urinary tract infections

By Holly Taylor BSc(Hons) DipCNM MBANT NTCC

A recent study claims that the tradition that cranberry wards off urinary tract infections (UTIs) may well be true. The study, presented at the 240th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society (ACS), shows that cranberry may help prevent UTIs that are commonly caused by the E. coli bacteria.

The study involved growing strains of E. coli collected from the urine of healthy volunteers before and after consumption of a cranberry juice drink. The scientists then tested the E. coli for their ability to stick together and form biofilms. Biofilms are thin, slimy layers that provide an environment in which bacteria thrive. They enable the bacteria to grow and multiply, so that an infection can take root, continue or become more severe.

When the scientists analysed their data, they found that cranberry juice prevents E. coli from being able to stick to the urinary tract and form a biofilm. This increases the chance of the E. coli being flushed out of the urinary tract, aiding the removal of an infection or helping to prevent one from taking hold. Overall, the results suggest that the beneficial substances in cranberry juice could reach the urinary tract and prevent bacterial adhesion, within eight hours of consumption. 

Article References

Liu Y et al. Direct adhesion force measurements between E. coli and human uro-epithelial cells in cranberry juice cocktail. Mol Nutr Food Res. (2010). [Epub ahead of print]

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