How Cranberry Defeats Bacterial Infections

By: Byron J. Richards, Board Certified Clinical Nutritionist
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Infectious E. coli is the primary cause of troubling urinary tract infections. Cranberry is widely used as a natural remedy. The latest science shows that cranberry1 drastically reduces the ability of E. coli to stick to the walls of the urinary tract, enabling the force of urine flow to flush the bacteria out of your body.

Scientists at Worcester Polytechnic Institute used atomic force microscopy which is able to directly measure the nanoscale adhesion forces between E. coli and the epithelial cells that line the urinary tract. Small hair-like projections cover the surface of E. coli and are used to literally hook on to human cells, like sticky Velcro. Cranberry causes the hair-like projections to curl up at which point they loose their hooking power and either don’t attach or only weakly attach. The force of urine flow is then adequate to clear them.

This is an interesting study as it documents the forces involved in a mechanical way. It serves to further assist our understanding in a tried and tested natural remedy for urinary tract infections.

Referenced Studies:
  1. ^ Cranberry’s Antibacterial Properties  Nutrition & Food Research  1.Yatao Liu, Paola A. Pinzón-Arango, Amparo M. Gallardo-Moreno, Terri A. Camesano

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