Health Hotline Magazine | February 2023
reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) compared to those taking a placebo. The study summarized, “Those consuming cranberry had a significant improvement in flow-mediated dilation (FMD), which signals improvement of heart and blood vessel function. FMD is considered a sensitive biomarker of cardiovascular disease risk and measures how blood vessels widen when blood flow increases.” Furthermore, Dr. Ana Rodriguez-Mateos, Senior Lecturer in Nutrition at the Department of Nutritional Sciences at King’s College London and senior author of the study, said “The increases in polyphenols and metabolites in the bloodstream, and the related improvements in flow-mediated dilation (FMD) after cranberry consumption, emphasize the important role cranberries may play in cardiovascular disease prevention.”
CRANBERRY HELPS KEEP YOUR GI TRACT INTACT
CRANBERRY BENEFITS TO SINK YOUR TEETH INTO A surprising health benefit of drinking cranberry juice, taking cranberry chews, or even using cranberry-infused floss is its ability to prevent cavities and periodontal (gum) disease. Exposing the mouth and teeth directly to the bioactives in cranberry ensures its anti adhesive and anti-microbial properties are directly felt on the teeth themselves. In fact, the phenomenal polyphenol compounds in cranberry inhibit the production of organic acids and the formation of cavity-producing bacteria, such as Streptococcus mutans and Streptococcus sobrinus . Additionally, cranberry polyphenols may reduce inflammation, as well as the production and activity of enzymes
In another study, researchers sought to determine if cranberry extract could reverse obesity and its associated metabolic disorders, such as fatty liver, in diet-induced obese mice. Mice were given a high-fat, high-sucrose diet for 13 weeks to induce obesity, and then were fed the high-fat, high sucrose diet plus cranberry extract for eight weeks (the dose was equivalent to about 1 gram/day for a 154-pound human). After eight weeks, the cranberry extract had fully reversed fatty liver in the mice and reduced liver inflammation, as well as improved glucose tolerance and normalized insulin sensitivity. In the same study, the cranberry extract also triggered a bloom of a species of gut bacteria called Akkermansia muciniphila (A. muciniphila), which has been strongly correlated with healthy and lean bodies. In fact, a 12-week study showed that A. muciniphila was inversely related to fasting glucose, waist-to-hip ratio, and subcutaneous adipocyte diameter (the fat between your skin and muscles). Subjects with higher A. muciniphila abundance in the gut exhibited the healthiest metabolic status, particularly in fasting glucose, triglycerides, and body fat distribution. Polyphenols, like those found in cranberry, have the potential to increase growth of this special bacteria that studies show has a direct association with better glycemic control, as well as a marked decrease in fat mass and healthy metabolic function, improved intestinal barrier (leaky gut), and mucus layer thickness. In summary, “Cranberry extract can fully reverse a high fat-high sucrose, diet-induced insulin resistance and fatty liver, while triggering A. muciniphila blooming in the gut microbiota, thus underscoring the gut-liver axis as a primary target of cranberry polyphenols.”
BLOOD SUGAR OUT OF CONTROL? CRANBERRY STEPS UP TO THE CHALLENGE
There are a lot of factors to blame when it comes to our blood sugar being out of whack (a lack of fruits and vegetables and quality protein in the diet, too much sugar, refined carbs, and processed foods, and a sedentary lifestyle) which can ultimately lead to age-related diseases, obesity, and type-2 diabetes. But, where excess sugar in the bloodstream is our foe, cranberry supplementation is our friend. In fact, studies show that cranberry powder has beneficial e ects on diabetic-related metabolic conditions, including lipid profiles, serum insulin and glucose levels, insulin resistance, as well as biomarkers of oxidative stress. The declining function of pancreatic beta-cells (ß-cells)—the cells in the pancreas responsible for making and secreting insulin—as we age can negatively a ect how our body responds to glucose. Preserving the health of these cells helps maintain healthy glucose balance and can o er significant protection against type-2 diabetes. In a study to evaluate the e ectiveness of a cranberry-rich diet on the aging of pancreatic beta-cells, 24 aging rats consumed a diet that was supplemented with 2% cranberry powder or a standard, cranberry-free diet for 16 months (the equivalent of 12 grams daily for a 154-pound human). The rats fed the cranberry-supplemented diet showed a delayed decline in ß-cell function and improved ß-cell glucose responsiveness compared to the rats on the standard diet. This slowing down of the decline of ß-cell function by means of cranberry supplementation is promising for protecting against type-2 diabetes.
contributing to the destruction of the extracellular matrix in gum disease.
CULTIVATE GUT, LIVER, & METABOLIC
HEALTH WITH CRANBERRY
The inner lining of the gastrointestinal tract (the intestinal epithelium) acts as a barrier that protects the body from potentially toxic substances that move through the GI tract. The phytochemicals in cranberry provide protection to this important lining. Cranberry supports production of secretory IgA (SIgA), a key component of the gut’s mucosal
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