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What Is D-Mannose Used For? How Does D-Mannose Work? Find Out More About This Urinary Health Super Ingredient.
If you’ve heard about some of D-Mannose’s benefits and uses when it comes to urinary health, but aren’t quite sure what D-Mannose is used for, how it works, and how to take it, you’ve come to the right place. Here’s everything you need to know about D-Mannose.
It’s unlikely that German scientist Emil Fischer was aware of D-Mannose’s future benefits and uses for urinary health when it helped him win the Nobel Prize in 1902. But, it certainly makes for an interesting start to the story of an incredible ingredient! Both men and women looking for natural ingredients to support urinary health have become increasingly interested in D-Mannose in recent years, and for good reason.
In this guide, we’ll be covering all of the important aspects of D-Mannose: it’s benefits, what it’s used for, how it works, and how to tell if it might be the right choice for your own personal wellness regimen.
The Basics: What Is D-Mannose Used For?
D-Mannose can go by a few different names, including seminose, D-Manosa, and carubinose, but it’s really quite a simple ingredient. In fact, it’s actually a simple sugar just like glucose, and can be found naturally in common fruits like apples, peaches and blueberries. It also occurs naturally in the human body, and is sometimes used in its isolated form as an ingredient in herbal supplements.
There are a few answers to the question of what D-Mannose is used for but, as we’ll continue to explore in greater depth, its most popular application is as an ingredient to support a healthy urinary tract. Common D-Mannose uses include:
- Supporting healthy bacterial levels in the bladder and urinary tract as a prophylactic against urinary tract infections and cystitis.
- Promoting the growth of good bacteria in the digestive tract, due to it’s prebiotic characteristics.
D-Mannose is often used in conjunction with cranberry extract in urinary health supplements, as the two have a synergistic effect when combating unhealthy bacterial levels in the bladder and urinary tract. So how exactly does D-Mannose work within the urinary system? Let’s find out.
D-Mannose Benefits: How Does D-Mannose Work to Support Urinary Health?
Before we dive into D-Mannose’s benefits and how they actually work, it’s worth noting that our Guide to the Urinary System has some great background information on urinary tract infections and other aspects of urinary health we’ll be discussing here.
D-Mannose’s chemical composition gives it a unique advantage as a urinary health ingredient. Unlike other sugars, it is not stored in the liver after being absorbed by the gut; rather, it is filtered out via the kidneys, and is therefore able to make its way directly to the bladder.
Once there, D-Mannose can bind to E. Coli bacteria responsible for causing urinary tract infections, preventing them from adhering to the walls of the urinary tract. In a sense, this means D-Mannose benefits the urinary system by “flushing” bacteria out of the urinary tract that may otherwise remain there to cause infection.Researchers have taken an interest in D-Mannose’s potential benefits, and there are a number of interesting studies that give some further insight into how this ingredient works:
- In 2008, a team of researchers took an incredibly in-depth look at the microscopic mechanisms that allow E. Coli bacteria to bind to human bladder cells, and concluded that D-Mannose can help reduce the bacteria’s ability to adhere to the urinary tract through some pretty incredible microbiological methods.1
- A 2013 study investigating D-Mannose’s benefits as a prophylactic for recurrent UTIs found that the group of participants given D-Mannose after undergoing antibiotic treatment for a UTI were less likely to experience a recurrence.2
- In 2016, a pilot study examining 43 women with urinary tract infections found that those who took D-Mannose for 13 days experienced positive improvements to their urinary tract health. Those who continued to take D-Mannose for 6 months after also experienced healthier bacterial levels in the long-term.3
Although there is plenty of positive sentiment regarding D-Mannose’s benefits for urinary health, it’s important to note that many experts believe more research is required to truly understand its ability as a bladder health ingredient. Always consult your doctor if you’re having problems with your urinary health, or if you believe you may have a urinary tract infection.
How to Take D-Mannose and Possible Side Effects
Now that we’ve taken a look at what D-Mannose is used for, how D-Mannose works, and its potential benefits for urinary health, let’s conclude by talking about some easy ways you can implement it into your own personal wellness regimen.
How to Take D-Mannose
Earlier, we touched on the fact that there are a number of foods that are naturally rich in D-Mannose. A few others worth noting include:
- Green Beans
- Aloe Vera
The amount of D-Mannose contained in normal foods such as these may not be enough to provide noticeable support for bladder and urinary health. As a result, many people choose to use D-Mannose supplements in order to easily reach their desired intake. Oftentimes, these supplements will combine D-Mannose with other urinary health support ingredients like cranberry extract, uva ursi, and amino acids in order to provide a more well-rounded approach to promoting stronger urinary wellness.
D-Mannose Side Effects
Due to the fact that D-Mannose is a sugar and may have an effect on blood sugar levels, it’s important that those with diabetes take caution when using D-Mannose supplements, and consult with their doctor before doing so. It’s also important to understand and monitor your correct dosage, since the kidneys’ role in filtering D-Mannose into the urinary tract potentially puts them at risk of damage when consuming overly high doses.
In the studies noted here, as well as in others that have been conducted to study D-Mannose, the main side effects reported in some participants were mild gastrointestinal irritation in the form of diarrhea, bloating, or loose stools. Finally, as with most dietary supplement ingredients, it’s not advised that women who are pregnant or breastfeeding take D-Mannose.
Ultimately, D-Mannose’s benefits in supporting a healthy urinary tract have made it a truly exciting ingredient for those looking for natural ways to promote better urinary health. With these answers to questions like “what is D-Mannose used for” and “how does D-Mannose work”, you’re now well-furnished with the knowledge you need to decide whether or not D-Mannose can help you with your own personal wellness goals. After a chat with your doctor, of course!
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- Wellens A, Garofalo C, Nguyen H, Van Gerven N, Slättegård R, Hernalsteens J-P, et al. (2008) Intervening with Urinary Tract Infections Using Anti-Adhesives Based on the Crystal Structure of the FimH–Oligomannose-3 Complex. PLoS ONE 3(4): e2040. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0002040
- Kranjčec, B., Papeš, D. & Altarac, S. D-mannose powder for prophylaxis of recurrent urinary tract infections in women: a randomized clinical trial. World J Urol 32, 79–84 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00345-013-1091-6
- Domenici L, Monti M, Bracchi C, Giorgini M, Colagiovanni V, Muzii L, Benedetti Panici P. D-mannose: a promising support for acute urinary tract infections in women. A pilot study. Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci. 2016 Jul;20(13):2920-5. PMID: 27424995.