Urinary tract infections are the most common type of infection in the world, especially among women who have crossed menopause. Menopause is a stage where the reproductive hormones in a woman decline, putting an end to menstruation. Antibiotics, which are generally used to manage UTIs, have a short-term effect. However, there is a long–term risk of recurrence that still exists. Another concern to add to the woes is the increasing prevalence of antibiotic resistance. In this scenario, research was initiated for a better option to manage the concern.
What Is Urinary Tract Infection?
A urinary tract infection is an infection in the urinary system (which involves the kidneys, ureter, bladder, and urethra). It can involve any part of the urinary tract and is usually caused by bacteria. Infections of the urinary tract are very common in women and those who are female-assigned-at-birth. The most commonly affected site for an infection is the lower urinary tract, which consists of the urethra and bladder. Pain or burning sensation while urinating and frequent urge to urinate are the most common signs of a urinary infection.
What Is D-Mannose?
Doctors usually prescribe D-mannose as a supplement to prevent urinary infections. It is a type of simple sugar that occurs naturally. A sugar made up of one type of molecule is called a simple sugar. It is found naturally in the body and some plants (in the form of starch, etc.). D-mannose is found in cranberries, apples, oranges, peaches, broccoli, and green beans. It was used in ancient days to treat urinary infections in animals. Now, research is done on how it can also be effective in human urinary infections.
How Does D-Mannose Prevent or Treat UTIs?
Ninety percent of urinary infections are caused by a bacteria called E.coli. When these bacteria enter the urinary tract, they find an appropriate site on the surface of the cells and multiply, leading to an active infection. It is thought that by preventing these bacteria from attaching themselves, D-mannose could potentially be able to treat or prevent a UTI. Hence, when a person with a urinary infection consumes any food containing D-Mannose, it eventually helps the body eliminate it through the kidneys into the urinary tract. It attaches to the bacterial cells, thereby preventing them from attaching to the surface of the urinary tract and multiplying. Further studies are required to validate these results. It must not be used to replace standard medical care.
How Is D-Mannose Used?
D-mannose is available in various forms currently. There are three things to consider while using D-mannose supplements:
An active urinary infection or to prevent an infection in the urinary tract in people who get it frequently is treated using D-mannose. The dosage differs depending on its use. In order to avoid recurrent UTIs, it is advised to take two grams once daily or one gram twice daily. To treat an active UTI, it is advisable to take 1.5 grams twice a day for three days, followed by one gram for ten days or thrice a day for fourteen days. D-mannose is available in powder and capsule forms. The form of D-mannose required depends on the requirement of the patient.
What Are the Side Effects and Risks Associated With D-Mannose?
Side effects are infrequent in people who consume D-mannose. However, some have experienced bouts of diarrhea. It is inevitable to consult a physician before starting any supplements. People with diabetes must ensure safety before starting it, as D-mannose is a type of sugar. The blood sugar levels must be monitored before and after taking D-mannose to check for any spikes in the blood sugar. People with an active UTI must complete their visit to the healthcare professional. A UTI that is actively progressing can spread to the kidneys and blood if treatment with an appropriate antibiotic is delayed.
How Safe Are D-Mannose Supplements?
D-mannose is found naturally in a wide variety of foods and is therefore generally regarded as safe. However, larger dosages may be more poisonous or dangerous than those acquired through a typical diet. Studies on mice have demonstrated that prenatal mannose supplementation causes fetal mortality and eye abnormalities among the mice who survive despite the potential benefits of D-mannose in treating urinary tract infections.
Research has examined the safety and tolerability of a D-mannose product in people. According to this study, the D-mannose-containing product was well tolerated up to 90 ml of the study product (the exact dosage of D-mannose was not stated). The study used cranberry juice as the primary product constituent. In the clinical trials where D-mannose was examined as a single active ingredient at a dose of two to three grams per day, no significant side effects were associated. In addition, another study by Lenger et al. found that D-mannose was generally well tolerated with few adverse effects, with just a small percentage of users reporting diarrhea.
Adverse effects are expected to be dose-dependent, with diarrhea and bloating potentially occurring at daily doses higher than 0.2 g/kg of body weight. It was also found that D-mannose supplementation may potentially upset the blood glucose balance in humans with diabetes. It is also recommended to seek medical consultation before use in pregnant women.
Antibiotic resistance among UTI pathogens is expected to worsen the burden imposed by UTIs, resulting in a rising demand for alternative solutions. Antibiotics are still likely to be the first option of treatment for acute UTIs. Adding D-mannose to antibiotics could improve the outcome of the treatment. It can be a promising nutritional supplement that could be used to treat and prevent UTIs. This is particularly useful in individuals who get UTIs frequently. However, more research is required on its safety profile and efficiency. Most people show no side effects with the use of D-mannose. However, its effects in high doses still require attention.