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D-Mannose For Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs)

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are the second most common infection, with more than 8 million people getting affected every year. In comparison to men, women are increasingly affected by UTIs. Studies show that more than 50 per cent of women develop UTI during their lifetime [1] . And in that, about 20 per cent of the case becomes recurrent, with some suffering for more than three years.

Commonly, the treatment method for UTIs are antibiotics, but the thing with antibiotics is that they kill even the friendly micro-organisms in your body which are essential for your bodily functions. In women, this can lead to increased risk of yeast infections, among other issues [2] .

That is where D-mannose makes its entry. A natural treatment for UTIs, it is ascertained to be 90 per cent more effective than any other treatment methods. Let's get to know what D-mannose is and how it can be used for treating urinary tract infections.

What Is D-Mannose?

A type of sugar often related to glucose, D-mannose is the supplemented form of mannose. Mannose is a simple sugar called monosaccharide and is produced in the human body from glucose that is attained from consuming fruits and vegetables [3] . The supplement is known by the names carubinose, D-manosa, mannose and seminose. In scientific terms, mannose is 2-epimer of glucose and can be found in various types of fruits, microbes and plants. D-mannose is considered a prebiotic as it can stimulate the growth of good bacteria in your gut [4] .

It is absorbed in a slower rate in the gastrointestinal tract when compared to that of the absorption rate of glucose. As it has a glycemic index lower than glucose, it has to be converted into fructose and then glucose after consumption. This, in turn, reduces the insulin response as well as the direct impact of it on your blood sugar levels. D-mannose is filtered out of your body and does not get deposited, thereby does not act as an energising fuel for your body[5] .

Apart from the vegetables and fruits, D-mannose is available in the form of supplements as well. It is available in health stores and you can order it online too. It is available in capsule and powder form, and the capsules come in 500 milligrams usually. D-mannose powder dissolves in water easily and can be consumed in that manner[6] .

The sugar can benefit your body in various ways, that is, it treats and prevents urinary tract infections, may suppress type 1 diabetes, works as a prebiotic, and treats carbohydrate-deficient glycoprotein syndrome type 1b [7] . In the current article, we will be focusing on the benefit of using D-mannose in treating UTIs.

D-Mannose For Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs)

90 per cent of UTIs are caused by E.coli bacteria. These bacteria enter the urinary tract and latch on to the cells, growing and causing infection. Various studies have been conducted to study the role of D-mannose in treating active UTIs and preventing them from developing in the future [8] . The sugar attacks the bacteria through your urine, as it is available in abundance in urine. As the bacteria E.coli attract towards sugar, the presence of D-mannose will cause it to let go of your bladder walls and go after the sugar [9] .

As aforementioned, your body absorbs D-mannose eight times slower, in comparison to that of glucose. Due to our body's difficulty in absorbing the sugar, it is directly passed to the bloodstream from where it will go to the kidneys and then into the bladder. Once it reaches the bladder, the bacteria are asserted to grab on to the free-floating D-mannose[10] . This is then flushed out of your system while passing urine. Studies point out that, as the bacteria latch on to the sugar - the number of bacteria in your urinary tract is reduced and thus, reducing the risks of developing a urinary tract infection [11] .

It is also suggested that D-mannose is effective in preventing UTIs because of its link with the Tamm-Horsfall protein (a glycoprotein that plays a key role in your body's defence against UTIs). The sugar is said to 'activate' the protein, which will work towards destroying the E.coli bacteria. Cranberry juice has been a proven measure used for combating UTIs, which can be further supported by pointing out the active ingredient in cranberry juice is D-mannose [12] .

In a study published in the World Journal of Urology in 2014 which included 308 participants (women with a history of recurrent UTI), it was revealed that D-mannose had a significant impact on lowering the risks of UTIs. The participants were divided into three groups and each group were made to undergo different treatment methods [13] .

One group received 2 grams of D-mannose powder in 200 millilitres of water daily for six months. The other received 50 milligrams of Nitrofurantoin (an antibiotic) daily and the third group did not receive any additional treatment. All the 308 women had already received initial antibiotic treatment. The group with D-mannose showed a significant reduction in the risk of developing a UTI in comparison to the other two groups.

D-mannose is considered as a natural remedy for treating UTIs because it does not destroy any friendly bacteria, is safe for most people, does not cause grave side effects when consumed in a controlled manner[14] .

Foods Rich In D-Mannose

The simple sugar is found in various types of foods, especially fruits. Some of the foods that have a high content of D-mannose are mentioned below. You can add these into your diet to get some D-mannose into your system [15] .

  • Apples
  • Oranges
  • Cranberries
  • Gooseberries
  • Peaches
  • Blueberries
  • Mangoes
  • Red currants
  • Black currants
  • Tomatoes
  • Seaweed
  • Broccoli
  • Green beans
  • Aloe vera
  • Turnips
  • Eggplant
  • Cabbage
  • Fenugreek seeds
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Kidney beans

Dosage Of D-Mannose For Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs)

Before consuming the sugar supplement, you have to consider the factors such as, whether you are trying to prevent infection or treat an active infection, the type of product you want to take and the dose you will need to take. D-mannose is used for preventing a UTI in people who have frequent UTIs or for treating an active UTI [16] [17] .

According to studies, the dosage for the condition are as follows:

  • For treating an active UTI: 1.5 grams twice daily for 3 days. Then, once daily for 10 days; or 1 gram three times daily for 14 days.
  • For preventing frequent UTIs: 2 grams once daily, or 1 gram twice daily.
  • For preventing post-intercourse UTIs: Take 2 grams one hour prior to intercourse and another tablespoon immediately afterwards.

*Caution: Consult a doctor before incorporating D-mannose into your diet.

Side Effects And Risks Of D-Mannose

When consumed in a controlled manner, it is safe as it is a naturally occurring sugar in most types of food. Overconsumption of the D-mannose supplement can cause the following[18] [19] :

  • Stomach bloating
  • Loose stools
  • Bloating
  • Kidney damage
  • Could alter blood sugar levels in individuals with type 2diabetes

Pregnant and breastfeeding women should avoid consuming D-mannose supplements [20] .

View Article References
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  2. [2] Stein, R., Dogan, H. S., Hoebeke, P., Kočvara, R., Nijman, R. J., Radmayr, C., & Tekgül, S. (2015). Urinary tract infections in children: EAU/ESPU guidelines.European urology,67(3), 546-558.
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  7. [7] Stutman, O., Dien, P., Wisun, R. E., & Lattime, E. C. (1980). Natural cytotoxic cells against solid tumors in mice: blocking of cytotoxicity by D-mannose.Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences,77(5), 2895-2898.
  8. [8] Hull, R. A., Gill, R. E., Hsu, P. A. T. R. I. C. I. A., Minshew, B. H., & Falkow, S. T. A. N. L. E. Y. (1981). Construction and expression of recombinant plasmids encoding type 1 or D-mannose-resistant pili from a urinary tract infection Escherichia coli isolate.Infection and Immunity,33(3), 933-938.
  9. [9] Hagberg, L., Jodal, U., Korhonen, T. K., Lidin-Janson, G., Lindberg, U., & Eden, C. S. (1981). Adhesion, hemagglutination, and virulence of Escherichia coli causing urinary tract infections.Infection and Immunity,31(2), 564-570.
  10. [10] Altarac, S., & Papeš, D. (2014). Use of d‐mannose in prophylaxis of recurrent urinary tract infections (UTIs) in women.BJU international,113(1), 9-10.
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