D-Mannose May Prevent Common Urinary Tract Infections
While 60% of untreated women had a UTI during the trial, only 15% of those using D-mannose had infections
At the beginning of every urinary tract infection
(UTI), harmful bacteria cling to the inner lining of the bladder or urethra (the tube that carries urine out of the bladder). D-mannose
, a sugar, has been found in a test tube to prevent bacteria from sticking in this way, leading researchers to hope that, as a supplement, it could prevent UTIs. A report in the BJU International
describes research suggesting that D-mannose does prevent UTIs in women known to have them frequently.
D-mannose prevents UTIs as effectively as an antibiotic
The report describes a trial in which 308 women who suffered from recurrent UTIs were given either 2 grams of D-mannose powder per day, 50 mg of the antibiotic nitrofurantoin per day, or no treatment. After six months, the following effects were noted:
Women treated with either D-mannose or the antibiotic had a lower risk of UTI recurrences than untreated women.
While 60% of untreated women experienced a UTI during the trial, only 15% of those using D-mannose and 20% of those using the antibiotic had infections.
Statistical calculations suggested that D-mannose and the antibiotic were equally effective.
Women using D-mannose had fewer side effects than women using the antibiotic.
"We believe that D-mannose may be a useful agent for the prevention of recurrent UTIs," the researchers said. They noted that placebo-controlled trials would be needed to verify their findings.
Keeping your urinary tract infection-free
If you suffer from recurrent UTIs, these findings suggest that D-mannose may be helpful to you. Here are some other things you can do to avoid infections:
- Flush with water. One way to prevent bacteria from clinging to the urinary tract is to keep fluid flowing through the system, so drink plenty of water throughout the day.
- Take cranberry. Whether as juice or concentrated capsule, cranberry has been found in most, although not all, studies to be an effective UTI preventer. Unsweetened juice is a good choice, since it can help flush the urinary system without adding immune-impairing sugar to the system.
- Reach for herbs. Uva ursi (Arctostaphylos uva ursi) is often used to prevent UTIs, and studies show it may be effective for treating them; however, it should only be used with medical supervision once an infection is underway.
(BJU Int 2014;113:9-10)
Maureen Williams, ND, completed her doctorate in naturopathic medicine at Bastyr University in Seattle and has been in private practice since 1995. With an abiding commitment to access to care, she has worked in free clinics in the US and Canada, and in rural clinics in Guatemala and Honduras where she has studied traditional herbal medicine. She currently lives and practices in Victoria, BC, and lectures and writes extensively for both professional and community audiences on topics including family nutrition, menopause, anxiety and depression, heart disease, cancer, and easing stress. Dr. Williams is a regular contributor to Healthnotes Newswire.