Found in many edible plants such as grape seeds, pine bark, choke berries and cranberries, proanthocyanidins (PACs, or PAs) have received much attention from researchers around the world. PACs are anti-inflammatory, anti-carcinogenic, anti-viral and also protect the cardiovascular system. Other health benefits of PACs include their ability to help wounds heal, reduce insulin resistance in diabetics, improve nigh vision, slow the degenerative effects of aging on skin and help reduce levels of “bad” cholesterol in the body. What’s more these compounds can also help treat urinary tract infections (UTIs).
A Closer Look at Cranberries
French scientists took a closer look at PAC’s and cranberries to find just how important the right dosage of cranberries was to urinary tract health. In 2004, it was suggested that 36 milligrams of PAC was needed from the North American cranberry in order to be effective in fighting off urinary tract infections.
More recent studies have confirmed that lower dosage of PAC’s were less effective at fighting urinary tract bacteria than were amounts over 36 milligrams. In fact, researchers found that 72mg was even more effective in fighting urinary tract infections than the recommended lower dosages.
Although PAC’s are not exclusive to cranberries, a certain type of PACs found in the fruit, called A-type PACs, is the only type that seems to keep E coli. bacteria off of the urinary walls and prevent “bacterial adhesion”.
Most Effective Dose for Long-Term Success
Scientists conducted a study involving volunteers from four different countries and randomly assigned them anywhere from 0 to 72 mg of PAC’s. It was discovered that, after six hours, the 18mg dose displayed an anti-adhesion capability of 50%, compared to 90% with a 36mg dose and, 100% with a 72mg dose. After 24 hours, lower doses had no adhesion and the 72mg dose had 50%.
These results demonstrated that a split dose of 36mg in the morning and 36 mg in the evening may be most effective in fighting off urinary tract infections. Another reason to enjoy the bountiful goodness of cranberries.
In other research, children drinking pure cranberry juice had an almost 66% less infection recurrence rate than children that were assigned the other juice to drink. The study helped show that real, true cranberry juice, not diluted sugar filled juice cocktails, greatly reduced the occurrence of urinary tract infections in all age groups, even children. It seems that doctors should be prescribing cranberry juice and cranberry juice extracts for urinary tract infections.
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