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Cranberries Might Fight Infections

Researchers are starting to understand how cranberry juice can fight a host of human illnesses, including urinary tract infections caused by E. coli bacteria.

Scientists have discovered compounds (tannins) found in cranberry juice can render E. coli bacteria incapable of initiating an infection. Researchers at Worcester Polytechnic Institute say the cranberry may offer an alternative to antibiotic treatment to combat E. coli in the future.

Annually, about 8 million people are affected by urinary tract infections. Researchers have suspected that something in cranberry juice stopped bacteria from adhering to the lining of the urinary tract, and now they are able to see how this interference takes place.

On the molecular level the tannins in cranberry juice cause the shape of the bacteria to change from rods to spheres. The tannins also alter the bacterial cell membranes, and they make it difficult for the bacteria to make contact with the cells, or from latching on if they do make contact.

The higher the concentration of cranberry juice, the stronger the effects were on the bacteria, indicating that whole cranberry products would have better results than diluted products.

Used with permission from www.health-eheadlines.com, © 2006, Write On, Inc.

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