Cranberry Extract Now Proven to Scramble Bacteria Communication, Cuts Virulence

The power of the cranberry is resurfacing as new research shows the mechanism by which cranberry extract cuts bacteria communication, stops it from spreading and lessens its pathogenic damage.

As the media continues to scare the world about the antibiotic apocalypse and doctors prescribe fewer antibiotics to prevent antibiotic resistance, researchers have gone back to the drawing board – the kitchen!

The American cranberry (Vaccinium macrocarpon L) contains compounds — such as proanthocyanidins (PACs) — that provide meaningful antioxidant, anti-adhesion and anti-microbial properties that stave off infection.

Scientists from McGill University and INRS-Institut Armand-Frappier in Canada published novel data in Nature’s Scientific Reports hypothesizing that cranberries may also have an anti-virulence potential. Virulence refers to the strength of damage — or pathogenicity — a germ is capable of.

They wondered to what extent cranberries could manage bacterial infections so they tested their theories on fruit flies — a common model for testing human infections. That’s when they discovered that cranberry provided flies protection from a bacterial infection and they lived longer than their cranberry-free counterparts.

Basically, the cranberry extract reduced the severity of the bacterial infection.

Professor-investigator Dr. Déziel said,

Cranberry PACs interrupt the ability for bacteria to communicate with each other, spread and become virulent — a process known as quorum sensing. The cranberry extract successfully interferes with the chain of events associated with the spread and severity of chronic bacterial infections.

Perhaps unfairly, cranberries are often associated with urinary tract
infections. Without really knowing why, people run for cranberries especially during a UTI, which is typically caused by E. coli, staph, and other bacteria. Having a home remedy that works is important in this case, as reports in the last decade indicate that E. coli bacteria have become resistant to one of the most powerful antibiotics – Cipro, a high-powered drug with life-altering side effects.

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