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Scientists Discover How Cranberries Fight Infections

Scientists Discover How Cranberries Fight Infections

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By    |   Tuesday, 25 October 2016 12:04 PM

Native Americans have used cranberries for centuries in poultices to treat wounds, and many modern American women use cranberries to help prevent urinary tract infections (UTIs). Now Canadian researchers believe their positive abilities can be harnessed to fight bacteria that is responsible for problematic and invasive infections.

For years, there was little scientific evidence to back up the medicinal benefits of cranberries in treating UTIs. At first, scientists believed cranberries made urine more acidic and, therefore, made it more difficult for bacteria like E. coli to survive.

Recent studies have indicated that cranberries contain compounds such as proanthocyanidins (PACs) that prevent the bacteria from sticking to urinary tract walls, either by creating a slippery coating that discourages bacteria from sticking, or by changing the bacteria itself and make it incapable of sticking.

A new study, however, shows that cranberries may disrupt bacteria's ability to communicate, stopping it in its tracks and preventing it from becoming virulent.

Results of previous studies caused scientists from McGill University and INRS-Institut Armand-Frappier to hypothesize that the compounds might have antioxidant, anti-adhesion and anti-microbial properties that help fend off different types of bacterial infections.

To test their theory, they fed fruit flies — a commonly used model for studying human infections — cranberry extract, and discovered that cranberry protected the flies from a bacterial infection. In addition, they lived longer than their cranberry-free counterparts.

Basically, they found that the cranberry extract reduced the severity of the bacterial infection.

"This means that cranberries could be part of the arsenal used to manage infections and potentially minimize the dependence on antibiotics for the global public," said study author Eric Déziel, professor-of Canada's INRS-Institut Armand-Frappier.

"Cranberry PACs interrupt the ability for bacteria to communicate with each other, spread and become virulent ," he said. "The cranberry extract successfully interferes with the chain of events associated with the spread and severity of chronic bacterial infections."

The new study suggests, says Déziel, that PACs may help control the virulence or spread of potentially dangerous bacterial infections around the world.

The study was published in Nature's Scientific Reports.


 

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Native Americans have used cranberries for centuries in poultices to treat wounds, and many modern American women use cranberries to help prevent urinary tract infections (UTIs). Now Canadian researchers believe their positive abilities can be harnessed to fight bacteria...
scientists, discover, cranberries, fight, infection, bacteria
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2016-04-25
Tuesday, 25 October 2016 12:04 PM
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