Health Hotline Magazine | February 2023
lining, which serves as the first line of defense in protecting the intestinal epithelium from toxins and pathogenic microorganisms. Cranberry proanthocyanidins also interfere with colonization of the gut by pathogenic Escherichia coli (E. coli) and reduce gut-barrier dysfunction caused by a diet high in processed carbohydrates, added sugar, and even nutrient deprivation. Studies have repeatedly identified polyphenol-rich compounds as promoters of gut microbial diversity. A 2022 study illustrated the synergy between cranberry’s proanthocyanidins and gut microbiota: Over a three-week period, a freeze-dried cranberry powder was shown to enhance short-chain fatty acid production (used by intestinal epithelial cells as an energy source) and lower the abundance of pathogenic bacteria.
IMMUNE SYSTEM SUPERHERO
CANCER + CRANBERRY… A DOSE OF HOPE? Data from preclinical studies show that cranberry-derived constituents, such as ursolic acid and proanthocyanidins, successfully decrease cancer cell density, viability, proliferation, adhesion, inflammation, and oxidative stress. In fact, a significant amount of research shows cranberry inhibits the growth leukemia, lung, melanoma, oral cavity, prostate, ovarian, esophageal, and renal cancer cell lines. When investigating cranberry and colon cancer, for example, researchers wrote, “several cranberry extracts inhibit the viability of colon cancer cell lines, including an organic-soluble cranberry extract, cranberry juice extract, cranberry proanthocyanidins, a flavonoid-rich fraction, a total polyphenolic fraction, and ursolic acid.” For references, email customerservice@natural grocers.com of 17 di erent cancers, including breast, colon, cervical, glioblastoma,
Vitamins A, C, and E are just a few of the well known vitamins and minerals for immune health— and cranberries contain them all and more. They’re even packed with super nutrients like lutein, zeaxanthin, folate, potassium, and manganese. That’s a lot of superpowers in just one tiny cranberry, and they all work together to supercharge your immune system. Studies investigating the e ects of cranberry supplementation on immune health help solidify its ability to ward o cold and flu symptoms, perfect for the change in seasons and even year-round. In a randomized, double-blind, and placebo-controlled study, 10 weeks of consumption of a beverage containing cranberry powder resulted in a fivefold increase in the production of T-cells, a 30% increase in natural killer (NK) cell proliferation, and a 20% reduction in pro-inflammatory cytokine interleukin (IL)-17 secretion—all vital to the function of a healthy immune system. In another study, researchers discovered that cranberry extract inhibited both influenza A and B virus replication. Interestingly, the same anti adhesive activities of cranberry against bacteria in the urinary tract, may also help it prevent viral attachment to healthy cells within the body. With these cutting-edge findings, cranberry is literally packing a one-two punch on the bacterial and viral fronts, making it a fantastic supplement to kick unwanted pathogens to the curb. Stay well year round and seasonally with cranberry! Wherever you are on your journey to health, cranberry can help catapult you into the best version of yourself. It might just be the tiny, mighty cranberry that could.
THE VERY “BRAINY” CRANBERRY
Why is it a good idea to take cranberry now more than ever? Because the health of your brain depends on it! Polyphenol-rich fruits have long been recognized for their protection against age-related neurodegeneration and several studies back this up, proving that compounds in cranberry support cognitive function and brain health. A May 2022 randomized, placebo-controlled study published in the journal Frontiers in Nutrition aimed to determine the impact of cranberry supplementation specifically on cognitive function in adults 50–80 years old. Dr. David Vauzour, Ph.D., leading researcher of the study and a senior research fellow in Molecular Nutrition at Norwich Medical School University of East Anglia (UK) said, “Past studies have shown that higher dietary flavonoid intake is associated with slower rates of cognitive decline and dementia. And foods rich in anthocyanins and proanthocyanidins, which give berries their red, blue, or purple color, have been found to improve cognition.” In the study, 60 adults took either 9 grams (split into two 4.5-gram sachets) per day of cranberry powder, equivalent to a cup of fresh cranberries, or a placebo, for 12 weeks. Memory and executive function assessments, including processing speed, working memory, episodic memory, and special navigation, as well as neuroimaging and blood samples, were conducted before and after to determine the impact of cranberry consumption on cognition and brain function.Results showed that subjects taking the cranberry powder saw “significant improvements” in memory of everyday events, neural functioning, and delivery of blood to the brain during the course of supplementation.
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