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Cranberry and Urinary Tract Infections
Most people know that cranberry is good for infections of the urinary tract such as cystitis, but how does it work? It is not through any antibiotic effect since cranberry does not kill bacteria. What cranberry does it to prevent bacteria from adhering to the walls of the urinary tract: once they are there, they are almost impossible to dislodge.
The bacterium that causes cystitis is the Escherichia coli bacterium, known commonly as E. coli. Cranberry prevents E.coli from adhering to tissue walls by one or both of two potential mechanisms. Such bacteria possess filaments, or fimbriae, that allow them to stick to each other and to tissue walls. It has been proposed that cranberry changes these in some way to render them less sticky.
Another method is that the glycoproteins in cranberry change the pH of the urine and make it more acidic. This renders it less attractive to the E. coli which can no longer adhere to either the bladder or the internal surface of the urethra. However it works, cranberry prevents infection by preventing E. coli adhering to the internal tissue surfaces, but cannot remove an infection once it has set in.
Using Cranberry to Prevent Cystitis
Much has been written about the effects of cranberry on cystitis and infections of the urinary tract in women. Women are prone to such infections due to their anatomy, which is why this type of condition is mostly associated with them. However, men can also suffer from infections of the urethra all the way up to the bladder.
The infection is caused by E. coli - that apparently ubiquitous bacterium that does so much damage throughout your gastrointestinal and urinary systems, but once it has set in cranberry cannot remove it. Cranberry prevents the bacteria from attaching to the internal walls of the bladder and urethra, and while it cannot removing bacteria already attached it can prevent the situation deteriorating by preventing further infection.
By taking cranberry as a regular supplement in capsule form you can avoid infections of the urinary system and significantly reduce the effects of an infection that has already set in. Other tests have suggested the possibility of cranberry reducing the likelihood of certain cancers such as ovarian
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