Keeping your urinary tract healthy plays a huge role in your everyday comfort and quality of life. So, let’s take a deeper look at the urinary tract and learn about two key nutrients that support urinary tract health to keep you feeling your best.*
What is the urinary tract?
The urinary tract is your body’s system for removing waste and extra fluid. It includes the:
- Kidneys: Your kidneys are complex, bean-shaped organs located just below the rib cage, one on either side of the body. They’re responsible for filtering your blood, removing waste and toxins, and maintaining a healthy balance of water, salts, and minerals in your blood. Your kidneys work 24/7, filtering about 120-150 quarts of blood per day, which produces around 1-2 quarts of urine.
- Ureters: Your ureters are tubes that connect your kidneys to your bladder, allowing small amounts of urine to travel down into your bladder every 10-15 seconds.
- Bladder: Your bladder is a hollow, muscular organ located within the pelvis. It acts as a reservoir for your urine, expanding as it fills, and contracting when you’re ready to empty your bladder. A healthy adult bladder can hold up to 2 cups of urine.
- Urethra: Your urethra is the final part of the urinary tract. It allows urine to pass from your bladder to outside your body.
Each part of the urinary tract plays an important role, and most of the time, they work together seamlessly. But sometimes, bacteria can invade parts of your urinary tract, which can make urination uncomfortable. So, that opens the next question:
How can you keep your urinary tract healthy?
Staying hydrated, urinating after sexual activity, and healthy bathroom habits, like wiping from front to back (for women) all contribute to urinary tract health. But for some, that may not be enough. Fortunately, there are two nutrients that are particularly beneficial for urinary tract health: cranberry and d-mannose.*
Cranberries have been connected to urinary tract health for a long time, and it’s because of one special nutrient. Cranberries are the only fruit known to contain soluble A-type proanthocyanidins (PACs). These powerful plant compounds bind to certain invaders and prevent them from sticking to the urinary tract.
Research shows that you need at least 36 mg of soluble PACs per day to reduce the risk of recurrent urinary tract infections (UTIs).**
Drinking 8-10 ounces of cranberry juice cocktail or 2-3 ounces of pure, unsweetened 100% cranberry juice can provide the recommended amount of PACs. But, cranberry juice may not be the best option for everyone. Cranberry juice cocktail is typically laden with added sugars, unsweetened cranberry juice is too tart for many to drink consistently, and juice may be a less reliable source of PACs over time.
That’s where high-quality cranberry supplements come in. Choose a cranberry supplement that provides 500 mg of cranberry powder and at least 36 mg of soluble PACs. And for extra peace of mind, make sure it’s independently tested and certified by a trusted organization, like NSF® International.
Now, cranberry shares the spotlight with d-mannose. D-mannose is a type of sugar found in fruits and vegetables, and it’s also naturally occurring within the body. Research shows that d-mannose helps flush bacteria from the urinary tract to support overall urinary tract health.*
If you plan to incorporate d-mannose into your daily routine, be sure to choose a supplement with 2,000 mg of d-mannose per daily dose, the research-backed dose for urinary tract health.* Just like cranberry, it’s best to opt for a supplement that’s independently tested and certified, so you know exactly what you’re getting.
Can you take cranberry and d-mannose together?
Cranberry and d-mannose work in two unique ways, providing the most broad-spectrum protection.* So, for complete urinary tract health support, it’s best to take both together.*
If lifestyle habits aren’t enough to keep your urinary tract healthy, talk to your doctor about adding cranberry or d-mannose to your daily routine for extra support.*
**Limited scientific evidence shows that by consuming 500 mg each day of cranberry dietary supplement, healthy women who have had a urinary tract infection (UTI) may reduce their risk of recurrent UTI.