Anti-adhesion and Antibiotic Resistance
regarding the mechanism of action of cranberry juice cocktail in
helping prevent UTIs involved acidification of the urine. However,
that has not been confirmed, and evidence has been accumulating
instead which indicates that natural components in the fruit act
to inhibit the adhesion of infection-causing E. coli bacteria within
the urinary tract. The compounds responsible have been identified
by Howell et al. as proanthocyanidins (PACs), or condensed tannins.
While many fruits contain similar compounds, thus far only the PACs
of cranberries and blueberries, which are botanically related species,
have been shown to exhibit this effect. More detailed work presented
in April 2002 showed that of tests with cranberries, grapes, apples,
tea, and chocolate, only cranberries exhibited this ability to block
bacteria from sticking.
is perhaps best known for its effect on urinary tract health, newer
research indicates that it may act elsewhere in the body against
other bacteria as well. The adhesion of the different types of bacteria
that cause both stomach ulcers, and periodontal gum disease, have
been shown to be inhibited in the presence of cranberry, and it
is likely that others susceptible bacteria will be found as well.
It is likely
that the anti adhesion effect may have far reaching implications.
Not only may regular consumption of cranberry products help maintain
health, but in the process will reduce the number of infections
in a given population, and thereby the doses of antibiotics which
are needed. It is becoming increasingly clear that a reduction in
general antibiotic use also reduces the likelihood of the bacteria
becoming resistant to those very same antibiotics, which is a public
health problem of global proportions.