Fighting Urinary Tract Infections with Cranberry Juice
It has been observed by scientists that with eight hours of drinking cranberry juice, it can prevent bacteria from forming inside the urinary tract. UTIs are a type infection caused by bacteria entering and growing in your urinary tract system. Your urinary system involves both the kidneys, two ureters, your bladder, and the urethra. The most common type of infection is caused by E-coli bacteria, although some of these bacteria are thought to come from fecal matter.
The bacteria responsible for more than %95 of urinary tract infections are a pathogenic strain of the same E. coli bacteria found in the lower intestine. The problematic strain of E. coli carries tiny, arm-like appendages called fimbriae that anchor the bacteria to the surfaces of the urinary tract’s cells. If not for these fimbriae, the flow of urine would simply wash the bacteria away. However, once they’re securely latched onto the urinary tract walls, they quickly start reproducing.
It was found that cranberries contain molecules known as proanthocyanidins and flavonols which are thought to be responsible for preventing E-coli with Fimbriae to adhere to your cell walls. While this will help you flush out the bacteria, it doesn’t affect the growth rate of E-coli, though it can protect against some bacteria. Bacterial movement is a key mechanism for infection to spread, as bugs literally swim to the urinary tract and escape the body’s immune system response.
Research has found that cranberry juice alters and increases certain thermodynamic properties of bacteria in the urinary tract, including the amount of energy they have to use up before they can attach to the tissue. This creates an energy barrier that they can’t overcome, and prevent them from latching on. If the bacteria can’t stick to the walls of the urinary tract, then they can be flushed out by the urine.
Studies show that cranberry juice seems more effective at preventing future bacterial infections than treating an existing one. The first thing to keep in mind is that treating and preventing urinary tract infections are two very different subjects. Cranberries are filled with antioxidants and have long been considered a very valuable boost to our overall health. In addition to these antioxidants, cranberries contain hippuronic acid. This compound has been shown to make it much more difficult for the bacteria which causes urinary tract infections, to attach to the bladder wall because this acid works to acidify the urine. This lowers the risk of getting a UTI in some cases. There are doctors that believe that once you have a UTI, cranberries in any form will do little to help treat it, and can actually make urination even more painful.
If you do want to try it, make sure that you are drinking 100% pure and natural cranberry juice because most of the sweetened versions with added sugar do not contain hippuronic acid and may aggravate your UTI even more.