Cranberries Provide Eight-Hour Health Protection
SAVANNAH, Ga., Oct. 28 /PRNewswire/ — For those who think cranberries are nothing more than a turkey side dish, new research revealed this week confirms that the crimson berry may be small, but its health benefits are large. Leading scientists from throughout the country and abroad convened today in Savannah, GA, for the Fourth Cranberry Institute Health Research Conference to review the latest findings on the potential health benefits of cranberries, including studies that reveal an eight-hour protection against certain harmful bacteria and significant improvements in biomarkers for many chronic diseases.
More than 30 nutrition scientists from leading research institutions, including the National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and a variety of prestigious universities, presented new findings about the cranberry’s antibacterial and anti-adhesion properties, as well as promising new areas of research in anti-aging, anti-cancer and protection against cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome and type II diabetes.
“New studies are continually finding how unique cranberries are, and that their potential health benefits are impressive,” said Jere Downing, executive director, Cranberry Institute, the nonprofit organization dedicated to cranberry health research. There seems to be no denying that cranberries are antioxidant-rich and deliver unique proanthocyanidins (PACs) that are responsible for cranberries’ beneficial anti-adhesion properties.
Cranberry Juice Cocktail Offers Eight-Hour Urinary Tract Protection
Cranberries may offer help to more than 11 million American women each year who contract urinary tract infections (UTIs). UTIs cost some $1.6 billion in healthcare and the only known treatment is antibiotic therapy, which increasingly contributes to creating bacterial resistant strains of pathogens.
Cranberry PACs have been shown to protect against P-fimbriated Escherichia coli (E. coli), which is thought to be responsible for as much as 95% of urinary tract infections, and other strains of E. coli bacteria through anti-adhesion properties, so that pathogenic bacteria are unable to adhere to our cells, multiply and cause an infection. New research presented by Amy Howell, Ph.D., associate research scientist at Rutgers University, Marucci Center for Blueberry and Cranberry Research and Extension, examined the anti-adhesion effects of 16 oz. of cranberry juice cocktail (CJC) versus water on subject urine samples exposed to E. coli bacteria. The researchers, including lead researcher Terri A. Camesano, Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, reported that CJC provided protection against the pathogen for up to eight-hours.
“The potential for cranberry juice cocktail to help prevent urinary tract infections is significant, especially since we know that the berry’s unique proanthocyanidins offer at least an eight-hour anti-adhesion benefit,” said Howell. “Based on this and other studies, we recommend that drinking cranberry juice twice daily can help maintain a healthy urinary tract,” she added.
The same anti-adhesion benefits studied in urinary tract health are now being identified in other areas of the body, such as the oral cavity, stomach and small intestine. Studies at the conference identified that cranberry PACs help prevent oral bacteria from adhering to tooth and denture surfaces, thereby helping to protect against gum disease and cavities. In addition, researchers from the University of Maine conducted trials to determine if cranberry PACs can help protect against E. coli 0157:H7, the strain responsible for serious–and even life-threatening–cases of foodborne illnesses.
While more studies are needed, the preliminary studies suggest that cranberry PACs may play a role in oral health, gastrointestinal health and protection against bacterial, fungal and even viral illnesses.
Emerging research suggests that cranberries may also play a role in cardiovascular health. A University of Scranton study presented one way in which the cranberry provides cardioprotection. In the study, animals fed a high-fat diet with two doses of cranberry juice cocktail (CJC) daily had significantly decreased atherosclerotic development, compared to animals fed a high-fat diet without CJC. The mechanism of the effect of CJC on atherosclerosis is currently under examination, but is thought to be from the potent antioxidant capacity of the berries.
Numerous ongoing and recently completed studies are evaluating the role cranberries may have in preventing certain cancers. Preliminary in vitro studies conducted at the University of Massachusetts found that compounds in cranberries limit the proliferation of human breast, colon and prostate tumor cell lines in a dose-dependent manner. Researchers at the University of Western Ontario presented research showing that cranberry extracts impaired the growth of eight different human cancer cell lines.
The Cranberry Institute
The Cranberry Institute is a not-for-profit organization founded in 1951 to further the success of cranberry growers and the industry in the Americas through health, agricultural and environmental stewardship research, as well as cranberry promotion and education.
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SOURCE The Cranberry Institute