Invite Health Podcast, Episode hosted by Amanda Williams, MPH.
On today’s episode, we are going to discuss cranberry extract! This is such a unique fruit in terms of all of the powerful antioxidants that are contained within the cranberries themselves. Now, oftentimes when we think about the benefits of cranberries, we commonly think of urinary tract and bladder health. But there are more beneficial things that cranberry extract can do for your overall health and wellness.
What’s the difference between cranberries from juice and the extract itself?
There is a difference between cranberry juice that you can purchase from your local grocery store and cranberry extract. Cranberry extract is what is packed with powerful polyphenols, flavonols, anthocyanins; all of these chemical constituents that are really responsible for giving cranberries that tart taste, but also their health benefit.
Components like Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Vitamin K and other powerful antioxidants are found within the cranberry. Plus, it is really high in fiber! Cranberry has manose, a naturally occurring carbohydrate. This is what is providing that supportive effect of fending off pathogens inside your body.
Cranberry Extract For Urinary Support
Americans generally do not have a high intake of cranberries (other than it being a Thanksgiving staple). But cranberries can really provide a supercharge of support to our system and it is very impressive. When scientists first started to research cranberry extract for urinary tract health, researchers initially thought that the cranberry itself was somehow inhibiting the growth of the bacteria in the urine. But then they found out that the extract was actually doing something completely different.
Think of a slip and slide; you put water on the slide, jump on top of it and slide on down. This is basically the same concept of what cranberry is doing inside of the urinary bladder. It is creating this slippery slope, which makes it difficult for pathogens to be able to adhere to the bladder wall. When pathogens and bacteria stick to the bladder wall, that is when you can have recurrent infection.
It is estimated that 60% of women at some point will experience a Urinary Tract Infection (UTI). Now, the real issue is that most women don’t have an isolated one-time UTI. Many women will have recurrent UTIs. This can be extremely problematic because then they are continuously put on antibiotics in order to kill the pathogens in the bladder, which alters your healthy microbiome within the intestines. This ironically leaves you more susceptible to infection. This occurrence is not just limited to women! Men, especially as they get older, are more prone to the development of UTIs because of inadequate full bladder emptying.
There are numerous clinical studies on cranberry extract, specifically focusing on its benefit for urinary health. Research has shown that cranberry extract is beneficial for active infections but, most importantly, it is extremely beneficial for women and men who have recurrent UTIs.
Cranberry Extract For Overall Wellness
Cranberry is extremely beneficial for your overall health, other than just urinary health. This includes GI health, especially peptic ulcers. Peptic ulcers are not just brought on by stress, but it is also created by a pesky bacteria known as H. Pylori, or Helicobacter pylori. When H. Pylori takes over in the stomach, you can end up with ulcers and may even have a greater risk for the development of stomach cancers. In one study, researchers gave a group of individuals who had all tested positive for H. Pylori infection and were at a higher risk for gastric cancer cranberry extract for 35 days. After that, they retested the participants. Fifteen percent of them had a negative H. Pylori test – that is just after take cranberry extract. This tell you that cranberry is creating that environment where it is making it very difficult for bacteria to actually adhere.
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