NEWS BRIEF: Safeguard your microbiome with “Nature’s probiotic”

You already know that cranberry is good for keeping bad bacteria out of your urinary tract. But it turns out, this tiny fruit may have an even bigger role in keeping you healthy.

Recent research shows it also helps keep the essential good bacteria in your body thriving.

A team of Tufts researchers recently set out to see what kind of protective effect cranberries might have on the microbiome. And more specifically, the gut composition of subjects eating a typically Western diet, comprised of meats, dairy, and—perhaps the most notable member of this list—simple sugars.

None of the subjects had digestive issues. And they all followed the diet outlined above—but with the addition of 30 grams of whole cranberry powder for one five-day stretch.

Ultimately, the cranberry-rich diet had a protective effect on the subjects’ microbiota. It helped to lower levels of bile acid linked to colon and gastrointestinal cancers. And it also helped to keep stores of beneficial short chain fatty acids intact—which friendly flora generates to protect GI cells.

This research appeared in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry late last year. And while it’s a pretty tiny study, the results are reassuring nevertheless.

I’ve always insisted that cranberry supplements aren’t just for women trying to avoid UTIs. In fact, I routinely recommend it for prostate health—due to its research-supported ability to improve prostate scores, rate of urine flow, average flow, total volume, and post-void residual urine volume in male patients with lower urinary tract symptoms.

But the fact that cranberry nourishes the microbiome adds another check to the box. And here’s why: The microbiome plays a critical role in preventing issues like prostatitis, benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), and even prostate cancer.

At their root, these are inflammatory diseases. And as I’m always telling you, the seat of your immunity is actually in your gut.

References:

  1. “Cranberries attenuate animal-based diet-induced changes in microbiota composition and functionality: a randomized crossover controlled feeding trial.” J Nutr Biochem. 2018 Dec;62:76-86.
  2. “The effectiveness of dried cranberries (Vaccinium macrocarpon) in men with lower urinary tract symptoms. Br J Nutr.2010; 104(8): 1,181-1,189.
  3. “The microbiome in prostate inflammation and prostate cancer.” Prostate Cancer Prostatic Dis. 2018 Sep;21(3):345-354.

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