Eat your cranberries!

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    Nov 18, 2007 5:50 PM GMT
    At this holiday season, this is a good time to point out a couple of benefits of eating cranberries...the fresher the better...

    Cranberry Juice Shows Promise as Alternative to Antibiotics

    New research has greatly increased our understanding of how cranberry juice prevents urinary tract and kidney infections.

    A series of studies led by Terri Camesano from Worcester Polytechnic Institute, the latest of which were presented September 19, 2006 at the annual meeting of the American Chemical Society in San Francisco, show that compounds in cranberry juice have the capacity to actually change E. coli bacteria-even strains that have become resistant to conventional treatment-in ways that render them unable to initiate an infection. E. coli, a class of microorganisms responsible for a wide variety of human illnesses ranging from urinary tract and kidney infections to gastroenteritis to tooth decay, are changed in several ways by a group of tannins (called proanthocyanidins) found primarily in cranberries. Each one of these changes can prevent the bacteria from adhering to cells in the body, a necessary first step in any infection.

    Cranberry proanthocyanidins:

    Alter E. coli's cell membranes
    Prevent the bacteria from making contact with cells or attaching to them even if they somehow manage to get close enough
    Change the shape of E.coli from rods to spheres
    Disrupt bacterial communication
    Alter E. coli Cell Membranes

    In research published February 2006 in Biotechnology and Bioengineering, Camesano showed that exposure to cranberry juice causes tiny tendrils (known as fimbriae) on the surface of the type of E. coli bacteria responsible for the most serious types of urinary tract infections to become compressed. Since its fimbriae are what allow the bacteria to bind tightly to the lining of the urinary tract, compressing them greatly reduces E. coli's ability to remain in place long enough to launch an infection.

    Prevent E. coli from Making Contact

    In research published in August 2006 in Colloids and Surfaces, B. Biointerfaces Camesano found that chemical changes caused by cranberry juice also create an energy barrier that prevents the bacteria from getting close enough to the urinary tract lining to try to adhere in the first place.

    Change E. coli's Shape and Activity

    Camesano's latest work reveals that cranberry juice can transform E. coli in even more radical ways, which have never before been observed. When the bacteria were grown in solutions containing various concentrations of either cranberry juice or cranberry tannins, E. coli, which is normally a gram-negative rod-shaped bacterium, became spherical and started behaving like gram-positive bacteria. Since gram-negative and gram-positive bacteria differ primarily in the structure of their cell membranes, these results suggest that cranberry tannins actually alter E. coli's membrane.

    The research Camesano presented at the ACS meeting also included yet another, more preliminary finding: when exposed to cranberry juice, E. coli appear to lose their ability to secrete indole, a molecule involved in a form of bacterial communication called quorum sensing, which is used by E. coli to determine when sufficient bacteria are present at a location to stage a successful infection attack.

    "We are beginning to get a picture of cranberry juice and, in particular, the tannins found in cranberries, as potentially potent antibacterial agents," Camesano said. "These results are surprising and intriguing, particularly given the increasing concern about the growing resistance of certain disease-causing bacteria to antibiotics." For most of these effects, the higher the concentration of either cranberry juice or tannins, the greater their impact on E. coli, suggesting that whole cranberry products and juice that has not been highly diluted may have the greatest health effects.

    Cranberries Combat Herpes Virus

    Laboratory studies published in the October 2004 issue of the Journal of Science, Food and Agriculture have shown that a phytonutrient isolated from cranberries is effective against the herpes simplex virus (HSV-2), the cause of genital herpes. In a manner similar to the way the tannins in cranberries protect against bladder infection by preventing bacteria from adhering to the bladder wall, cranberries' antiviral compound, proanthocyanidin A-1, inhibits the attachment and penetration of the herpes virus.While this is promising, we look forward to studies involving human subject to confirm these findings.

    World's Healthiest Foods

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Nov 18, 2007 8:39 PM GMT
    Sweet! More reasons to drink cosmosicon_smile.gif

    Who knew they were good for me?
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    Nov 18, 2007 8:55 PM GMT
    Funny to see you embracing alternative modalities now.
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    Nov 18, 2007 9:05 PM GMT
    "Funny to see you embracing alternative modalities now."

    Well, after being psychologically fucked over by conventional medicine, can you blame him?
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    Nov 19, 2007 11:05 AM GMT
    I LOVE cranberry juice, but it's mostly loaded with sugar since cranberries are so sour.

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    Dec 22, 2007 11:49 PM GMT
    i'd like too