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Standardized Testing Method for Cranberry Products Will Reveal Effectiveness of UTI Treatments

Natural compounds in cranberries are linked to the prevention of urinary tract infections (UTIs) but inconsistencies in methods currently used commercially to measure levels can result in the over- or under-estimation of potency levels, leaving product manufacturers and consumers without good data. A study recently published in the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture outlines a new, commercially viable method of measuring these compounds.

UTIs are caused by bacterial adhesion (bacteria growth) on cells in the bladder. To maintain urinary tract health, especially for those prone to UTIs, daily consumption of 36mg of cranberry proanthocyanidins (PACs) has shown effectiveness in inhibiting bacteria from adhering to bladder cells, multiplying and consequently causing infection. This amount of PACs can be easily consumed in a 9-10 oz (266-296 ml) serving of 27% cranberry juice cocktail.

PACs are small molecules (catechin or epicatechin) linked together to form larger polymers. The PACs in cranberries contain a high proportion of what are called "A-type double linkages" between the catechin or epicatechin molecules. Other food sources of PACs that do not contain these linkages (chocolate, grapes, apples and green tea) do not elicit the bacterial anti-adhesion activity.
 
 

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