CRANBERRY JUICE EXTRACT
Product No. P03445
The cranberry is a member of the Ericaceae family that is composed of about 1350 species, including Scotch Heather, Rhododendrons and Blueberries.
The cranberry is a low-growing, woody, perennial plant with small, alternate, ovate leaves. The plant produces stems or vines up to 6 feet long, with short vertical branches, 2 - 8 inches in height that grow from buds, each containing as many as seven flowers. The majority of cranberries are harvested between September and October.
Cranberries have been used for many years - native people consumed cranberries as part of their diet, as well as used them in ceremonies, and for medicinal purposes.
Scientific research has shown cranberries to be of great benefit. They are packed with nutrients like antioxidants, which stabilise free radicals by donating an electron, thereby protecting the body from the harmful molecules exposed to in everyday life. These antioxidants are recognised as premier disease fighters, and may play a role in helping to prevent heart disease and certain cancers. According to one study, cranberries have been shown to contain more antioxidant phenols than 19 other commonly eaten fruits.
Indigenous people have used cranberry to treat urinary tract infections and other illnesses for centuries. Modern medical research has revealed that cranberries contain proanthocyanidins, which inhibit the fimbrial adhesion of bacteria - including Escherichia coli - to the urinary tract epithelium, therefore halting the subsequent reproduction that causes infection. It is now known proanthocyanidins are pivotal in the prevention of urinary tract infections, rather than the acidification of the urine, as was previously thought.
A study published in the Journal of the American Dental Association reported that a unique high-molecular-weight, nondialysable material found in cranberries has the ability to inhibit certain oral bacteria that are responsible for dental plaque and periodontal disease, and may even reverse the negative effects. Most other fruits tested showed no inhibition activity.
One clinical trial using a mouthwash containing cranberry nondialysable material (NDM) showed a significant reduction in the Streptococcus mutans bacteria in those that used it regularly. A large percentage of dental caries (cavities) can be attributed to S. mutans, therefore cranberry seems to be of great benefit in preventing them.
Peptic ulcers are increasingly being attributed to infection by Helicobacter pylori bacteria, as opposed to stress or stomach acidity. An NDM constituent of cranberry juice has also been shown to inhibit the adhesion of this type of bacteria to human gastric mucus, which therefore prevents the formation of peptic ulcers caused in this way.
H. pylori is not only capable of causing peptic ulcers (which are said to affect approximately 50% of the populations of Western countries above the age of 60) but has been linked to gastric adenocarcinomas (stomach cancer), non-ulcer dyspepsia (acid reflux disease), and gastritis (inflammation of the stomach). Therefore, cranberry may be beneficial to some extent in preventing all of these conditions.
Cranberries have also been shown to contain significant amounts of flavonoids, which have been shown to function as potent antioxidants, and may reduce the risk of atherosclerosis. This is because these compounds have been demonstrated to inhibit low-density lipoprotein (LDL, or ‘bad cholesterol’) oxidation, which, when accumulated in arteries, causes atherosclerosis by restricting the blood flow. In the advance stages of the disease, blood flow may decrease severely, or cease completely, resulting in angina (chest pain), thrombosis (blood clots) and myocardial infarction (heart attack).
Scientists have been obtaining promising results during research with diets high in antioxidants and other phytonutrients - studies suggest that they may provide protection against chronic age-related afflictions like loss of coordination and memory, by protecting brain cells from free radical damage and subsequent motor and cognitive function losses.
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