A recent study at Rutgers University, and published in Phytochemistry, confirmed a long-held theory that ingestion of cranberries is helpful in protecting against harmful bacterial in the urinary tract. This is due to one of its natural compounds called proanthocyanidin [PAC’s], and its anti-adhesion effect. Cranberry components are potential anti-caries agents since they inhibit acid production, attachment, and biofilm formation by Streptococcus mutans.
The anti-adhesion property of cranberries prevents bacteria from sticking to the urinary tract, which is one of the most common regions for a woman to develop a bacterial infection. There is some conjecture that PAC’s found in cranberry may minimize gum disease by the same mechanism. Regarding periodontal diseases, the same cranberry fraction inhibits host inflammatory responses, production, and activity of enzymes that cause the destruction of the extracellular matrix, biofilm formation, and adherence of Porphyromonas gingivalis, and proteolytic activities and coaggregation of periodontopathogens. The study concluded that 80% of the antibiotic-resistant bacteria were prevented from sticking by the anti-adhesion property of cranberries.
This study compared the action of PAC’s in cranberries to those in other foods such as grape and apple juice, dark chocolate and green tea. Apparently, not all PAC-rich foods have the same success or offer the same protection. By means of comparison, one eight-ounce glass of cranberry juice has the equivalent PAC’s as a cup of frozen or fresh cranberries, 1/3 cup of sweetened dried cranberries or 1/3 cup of cranberry sauce. Both this study and earlier research show that the benefits of one glass of cranberry juice kicks in about two hours after consumption and lasts for about 10 hours. So, it is recommended that you drink one glass of cranberry juice in the morning and one in the evening for the maximum protection. Remember, cranberry is a food and not a treatment. Keep in mind that anyone who suspects an infection should consult the appropriate health care practitioner.
ZoAnna Scheinfeld, MS, DMD
Hanna Orland, DMD
290 Carpenter Drive, 200A
Atlanta (Sandy Springs), GA 30328
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