If you’ve ever experienced a urinary tract infection (UTI), you know they’re no joke. And the antibiotics that go along with them aren’t so awesome either.
However, a naturally occurring substance called D-Mannose is offering UTI sufferers hope. Read more to learn what D-Mannose is and what it could mean for the future of urinary tract infections!
What is a UTI?
Caused by bacteria entering the urethra, a UTI wreaks havoc on the body in a very short space of time. Unlucky recipients will experience:
- Burning in the lower stomach
- Urinary urgency and frequency
- Stinging and burning with urination
- Fever and chills
- Blood in the urine
If left untreated, UTIs can climb the ureters into the kidneys and cause a kidney infection – an even riskier business. For anyone who has experienced the pain of a kidney infection, you can vouch that it isn’t an area you want problems with!
A quick round of antibiotics can generally fix an infection right up, but an increase in antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria and a renewed interest in holistic remedies have people looking for alternatives.
If you are looking for a different path to treatment, especially if you’re one of those who suffer recurrent infections and antibiotic rounds, there is hope in the form of a naturally occurring substance called D-Mannose.
What is D-Mannose?
D-Mannose is a simple sugar. The body manufactures small amounts of its own in certain cells and uses it to modify other cells to help them with their specific job functions.
It’s also found in fruits and vegetables. Sources include cranberries, broccoli, apples, green beans, peaches, corn, tomatoes, cabbage, and blueberries.
D-Mannose is used to treat a rare disease (carbohydrate-deficient glycoprotein syndrome type 1b) that causes the body to lose protein through the intestines. The sugar helps slow down protein loss and help the liver work better.
New research is now showing that D-Mannose has a promising career as an antibiotic alternative, offering an alternative to UTI sufferers.
How Does D-Mannose Work?
While D-Mannose is a sugar, it isn’t metabolized the same way that glucose, the most common sugar molecule, is. It also doesn’t get stored in the liver the same way most sugars go, but it filtered through and flushed out the kidneys.
Because of this property, it has a lower glycemic load than other simple sugars. It’s also what makes it helpful in UTI treatments.
Most UTIs are caused by E. Coli. The bacteria enter the urinary tract, attach, grow and multiply.
D-Mannose works by binding to the E. Coli and carrying it out of the urinary system when you pee.
The molecule is also considered to be prebiotic, meaning it fosters the growth of good bacteria that complete a number of useful functions and keep the gut healthy.
Is D-Mannose Effective?
There is a growing body of evidence showing the efficacy of this simple sugar.
- Studies have shown that D-Mannose was just as effective in helping women who had acute infections manage their symptoms as the compared antibiotic.
- D-Mannose was proven to be more effective at preventing recurring infections that regular antibiotics.
- A study in 2013 found that D-Mannose was just as effective as fighting off UTIs as the antibiotic nitrofurantoin.
When taken as a regular preventative supplement, the incident of recurring infections decreases.
As an action in response to acute symptoms of an infection, with a slightly higher dosage, many women find they are able to skip an antibiotic and head the infection off before it begins.
Taken in conjunction with an antibiotic, symptoms will be further decreased in a faster timeframe than with an antibiotic alone.
What is the Recommended Dosage for UTIs?
The dosage you should take of D-Mannose largely depends on your situation and the type of supplement you purchase.
You can buy D-Mannose powder in loose or capsule form and as a single supplement or part of a blend. Common additives that create a “urinary formula” include those with cranberry, dandelion, uva ursi and goldenseal.
If you are taking D-Mannose as part of a dietary regimen to avoid a UTI, aim for two grams daily. You can take a one gram dose twice a day, or two grams once.
If you have an active infection or feel one coming on, boost your dose to one gram three times a day for up to two weeks.
What are the Side Effects?
The most common side effects of D-Mannose are gastrointestinal, and include diarrhea, loose stools and bloating. Most people will notice minor stomach irritation if anything.
Some research has suggested that in high doses, D-Mannose may possibly cause damage to the kidneys as it’s metabolized.
As it is a sugar, further research is needed to determine if it has detrimental effects on blood sugar stabilization levels. Because it’s metabolized differently than other sugars and is low glycemic, initial research suggests it isn’t an issue.
The number of people who experience side effects of this natural antibiotic is low.
D-Mannose: The Future of UTI Treatment
If you’ve had a UTI, or are one of the unfortunate thirty to forty percent of the population who deal with recurrent infections, you know that prevention is the best cure.
Practice good hygiene habits, wipe front to back and wear cotton underwear that breathes.
Drink plenty of filtered water to keep things moving through your system; bacteria won’t have a chance to connect to your ureter walls if you’re regularly flushing them out.
However, having an arsenal of secondary measures when you feel that familiar urgency to pee coming on is a necessary backup plan.
Besides the traditional cranberry and dandelion supplements, consider adding D-Mannose to your supplement inventory.
Whether you take it preventatively to avoid a UTI altogether, or keep it on hand as the first line of defense when the feeling strikes, you might be able to keep yourself out of a doctor’s waiting room.