A close cousin of D-glucose, the simple sugar D-mannose provides a natural approach to urinary tract health. Several different fruits and vegetables carry the simple sugar including cranberries, apples, pineapples, peaches, and broccoli. After consuming this simple sugar, the D-mannose passes through the kidneys and binds to excess bacteria that would otherwise remain attached to the inner wall of the bladder. The result of this process is that bacteria that could potentially threaten urinary tract health is ultimately flushed down the drain.
Ordinarily, the urinary system isn’t welcoming to bacteria, viruses, or any other microorganisms. Because of the high acidity levels in the urinary tract, most bacteria find the environment inhospitable, not to mention the attack from a body’s immune defenses. Yet millions of people each year still develop UTIs. The overwhelming majority of UTIs are caused by unfriendly intruders, particularly E. coli from the GI tract that has managed to gain entry to the urinary tract.
The benefits of using D-mannose is that it is a naturally occurring sugar and won’t overreact by wiping out all the bacteria (many of which are beneficial!) like some other forms of treatment. D-mannose works by attacking E. coli at its own game. As mentioned before, bacteria must find a way to stick to the body tissue they’re infecting if they hope to cause damage. Molecules of mannose naturally coat the surfaces of cells in the urinary tract, which is what the E. coli latch onto. By flooding the infected area with D-mannose taken orally and being extracted from the body via urine, the E. coli is overrun by the simple sugar and hitches a ride out of the urinary tract. This leaves those few bacteria left as easy prey for the body’s immune system.
Because of the natural properties of D-mannose, side effects are almost non-existent for many who take the supplement. Since it is a simple sugar, if you have diabetes it is always a good idea to speak with your doctor before taking D-mannose, they may want to monitor your blood sugar levels while you’re taking D-mannose.
– Keith Helm III
- Wright, J.V., & Lenard, L. (2001) D-Mannose & Bladder Infection: The Natural Alternative to Antibiotics. Auburn, WA: Dragon Art
- Hickling, D. R., & Nitti, V. W. (2013). Management of recurrent urinary tract infections in healthy adult women. Reviews in urology, 15(2), 41–48.