You might already know about the connection between urinary tract infections and cranberry juice, but you might not be aware why exactly the fruit is so beneficial.
The answer is D-mannose, a simple sugar derived from cranberries and other fruits like apples and peaches. But unlike other sugars, D-mannose is especially good for your health.
The difference with this sugar lies in the way it's metabolized by the body. Unlike sucrose and fructose, D-mannose works like glucose, a sugar your body's cells are intended to utilize. Even though your body digests D-mannose at a slower pace than glucose, it does not act as a fuel supply for your body in the way glucose does.
In addition, the components of D-mannose don't break down before they're expelled in urine, and it does not stay in the body for long periods as glucose does.
Instead, much of the D-mannose you consume is cleansed by your kidneys and channeled to the bladder for quick elimination. These characteristics shed some light on the particular benefits of D-mannose and how it can effectively promote the health of your urinary system.
But what does D-mannose do when it's in the body, and how does it promote women's health? Because of its unique chemical composition, it is believed to provide the following health benefits:
Cranberry juice is well-known for its ability to assist those who suffer from urinary tract infections, and this comes from the ingredient D-mannose.
Half of all women will experience a urinary tract infection (UTI) at least once in their lifetime, and one in five women will experience a UTI more than once in her life.
Studies performed on the effects of D-mannose in assisting with UTIs have supported its ability to help decrease the risk of recurrent UTIs, with a success rate equivalent to that of preventive UTI medication.
Researchers hypothesize that D-mannose achieves these protective properties by shielding the urinary tract from its worst offender, E. coli. It's thought that mannose receptors lining the tract prevent the binding of E. coli bacteria, thereby preventing infections.
Along with its capacity to help treat and prevent UTIs, research also indicates the compound can help heal other bladder issues and promote overall bladder health.
Further research has also confirmed the potential of D-mannose to support digestive health and guard against an assortment of digestive issues. Researchers attribute this effect to D-mannose's prebiotic characteristics, which support the development of beneficial bacteria within the gut, increasing overall levels of digestive wellness.
Cranberries are a widely known source of D-mannose, but it's also found in other fruits and vegetables. Some of the most common D-mannose sources to incorporate into your diet include apples, oranges, peaches, seaweed, aloe vera, green beans, and cabbage.
If you're looking to boost your D-mannose intake even further, various supplements exist to help with that. While standalone powders and capsules are an option, Physician's Choice Women's Probiotic effectively combines six probiotic strains with prebiotics, D-mannose, and ProCran cranberry extract to support optimal gut and UT health.*
Whichever option you choose, be sure to remain alert for UTI symptoms and promptly check in with your doctor should they occur. While current research is promising for D-mannose's ability to protect against UTIs, more is needed to affirm its ability to treat existing infections.