Scientists have discovered that Escherichia coli (E. coli), a bacteria that usually lives in the bowel, has attachment ‘grabbers’ that allow it to latch on to a person’s urethra (tube from the bladder to the outside world). Using these grabbers, E. coli holds onto the urethra and then populates the area, creating the typical symptoms of a urinary tract infection (burning or stinging pain when urinating, an offensive urinary odour, cloudy or smoky coloured urine, urgency and frequency of urination, low back pain and, in older people, a tendency to become confused and disorientated).
In Cranberry, molecules called ProAnthoCyanidins (PACs) insert into the E. coli’s grabbers, blocking them and stopping them from being able to attach to the urinary tract lining. As a person passes urine, the molecules of E. coli are simply washed out of the urethra and the infection may be cleared more easily!
So there you go, science once again reveals the amazing molecular world to show how herbs and natural supplements assist the body to achieve & maintain health.
By the way, drinking the required amount of water will help this process by allowing more frequent flushing of the bacteria, and having good toilet hygiene will help to minimise the transfer of E. coli to the urethra in the first place. Frequent urinary tract infections may be a sign of underlying diseases such as diabetes or kidney disease, so make sure you get checked out via blood tests for these possibilities. As not all cranberry products have good levels of PACs, it’s a good idea to talk to your Naturopath to make sure you’re getting the real deal.