Cranberry juice, long dissed as a mere folk remedy for relieving urinary tract infections in women, is finally getting some respect.
Thanks to Prof. Itzhak Ofek, a researcher at Tel Aviv University's Sackler Faculty of Medicine, the world now knows that science supports the folklore. Prof. Ofek's research on the tart berry over the past two decades shows that its juice indeed combats urinary tract infections.
And, hes discovered, the refreshing red beverage has additional medicinal qualities as well. Prof. Ofek has found that cranberry juice exhibits anti-viral properties against the flu, can prevent cavities, and lessens the reoccurrence of gastric ulcers. Unhappily for half the human race, however, new research published this year in the journal Molecular Nutrition & Food Research on ulcers, suggests that, like urinary tract infections, the healing power of cranberries apply only to women.
The remarkable healing property in cranberries stems from a heavy molecule known as non-dialyzable material or NDM. This molecule, isolated by Prof. Ofek and his colleagues, seems to coat some bodily surfaces with Teflon-like efficiency, preventing infection-causing agents from taking root.
Surprisingly, NDM appears to have no effect on some of the good bacteria in our bodies, says Prof. Ofek. His seminal research on the subject, in collaboration with Prof. Nathan Sharon from the Weizmann Institute, appeared in the worlds leading medical journal, the New England Journal of Medicine, in 1991. We understood that there was something in cranberry juice that doesnt let infections adhere to a womans bladder," Prof. Ofek says. "We figured it was a specific inhibitor and proved this to be the case.
A Unique Mouthwash
After the 1991 study, Prof. Ofek conjectured that if cranberries could protect against bacterial invasion in the bladder, "Could they work wonders elsewhere" He to
|Contact: George Hunka|
American Friends of Tel Aviv University