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Mannose is a naturally occurring sugar that is considered to be a safe alternative for the treatment of urinary tract infections (UTIs). The success rate or treatment of UTIs through the use of mannose is rated to be as high as 80 to 90%. The kind of UTI-causing bacteria that mannose works on to disable their effects and relieve symptoms of UTI, cause a majority of all UTI cases. Therefore, it can be said that the success rate of mannose is this high because of its efficacy against these most common UTI-causing bacteria.

Mannose has been found to be especially effective in the treatment of UTI because it is absorbed slowly into the body. In fact, mannose has been found to be absorbed as much as 8 times slower into the body than glucose. Unlike glucose, Mannose is not taken into the body to be converted into glycogen or accumulated in the liver. Instead, it moves through the kidneys where it is filtered, and then sent to the bladder.

The lining of the bladder consists of polysaccharide molecules. A UTI infection is triggered when E coli bacteria attach themselves to these polysaccharide molecules. When mannose is routed to the bladder however, the E coli bacteria attach themselves to these mannose molecules, instead of adhering to the lining of the bladder. When the person urinates, both the E coli bacteria and the mannose molecules are thus expelled from the body naturally, eliminating the chances of an infection.


Overview of Mannose

Mannose is a sugar monomer that belongs to the hexose (monosaccharide with 6 carbon atoms) group of carbohydrates. It is formed with the oxidation of mannitol, a polyol used as diuretic agent, or through D-Glucose.

It is one of the most important sugars as far as its nutritive and therapeutic values are concerned. The most common sources of mannose are Cranberries, red currants, black currants, peaches, gooseberries, aloe vera and soy beans. It is also found in abundance in vegetables like cabbage, beans, egg plant, capsicum, turnip, and tomatoes and broccoli. Fenugreek seeds, kelp and shitake mushrooms are another important source of mannose.

Mannose is one of the easiest sugars to obtain in its natural form since most of these fruits and vegetables, legumes and herbs are available in abundance in nature. Sources like fenugreek seeds, kelp, and shitake mushrooms are easily available in specialty stores. Sources like aloe vera can actually be grown in your garden to provide an endless supply of mannose.

The composition of mannose in its natural sources depends to a large extent on the conditions under which the sources are processed. Organically grown or home grown produce is more likely to contain optimum amounts of mannose than produce that has been picked and stored for awhile. Heavily processed mannose sources are also less likely to contain the amount required for its beneficial properties to be effective.

The deficiency of mannose in the diet has been found to be connected to the consumptions of high quantities of processed foods and produce by the population. Organically grown produce that contains mannose in higher quantities tends to be less freely available and more expensive than processed foods.

Mannose deficiency has been linked to Carbohydrate Deficient Glycopotein Syndrome (CDGS), a genetic metabolic disorder that affects the functioning of the entire body. The symptoms of this illness include early psycho motor retardation, accompanied by hepatic dysfunction. The condition deteriorates as the person gets older with retinal deterioration, seizures, lack of reproductive development in women and other features commonly seen in patients.


History of Mannose

The word "mannose" comes from the word "manna," the food that was eaten by the Israelites during their wandering through the desert. The word finds mention in the Bible as well as the Koran which refer to the food "that has been provided as sustenance." It is most commonly thought to refer to the secretion of the tamarisk tree that was plentiful in the Sinai Peninsula during those days. Its resin or wax was sweet to taste and yellow in color. This secretion was found to have the most similar characteristics to that of manna.


Benefits of Mannose

As a naturally occurring sugar, mannose has many uses when digested by the body and absorbed into the blood stream. It facilitates cellular interaction, and aids in tissue building. Small quantities of mannose are manufactured inside our bodies, but taking additional supplements can keep the kidneys and bladder healthy. Since modern processing and growing of foods limits the amount we can easily get through eating, these benefits are more difficult to obtain than they once were.


Healthy Claims of Mannose

Regular intake of mannose is found to boost the body's immune system. This, in turn, increases the body's ability to fight infections. Diseases like psoriasis, arthritis and respiratory illnesses are all linked to weakened immune systems, and mannose helps build up the body's defenses against these conditions. Better immunity means an enhanced ability to release anti bodies that can attack and destroy the invading cells, as well as controlling the actions of the white blood cells that play such an important part of staving off infections.

Mannose has been found linked to good urinary tract health. In the absence of mannose, UTIs tend to develop quickly. Because the sugar is rapidly absorbed into the blood and expelled naturally though urine, several doses of mannose though out the day are found to be better than a single large dose. The body needs to be replenished with mannose at frequent intervals to retain its beneficial properties.

Mannose maintains good urinary tract health without the use of antibiotics that can actually eradicate the healthy "good "bacteria that are beneficial to the body. Antibiotics can change the composition of bacteria creating conditions like gastrointestinal infections. Mannose simply removes undesirable harmful bacteria through urine, while leaving the good bacteria intact.


Recommended Dietary Allowance for Mannose

While there are no federal guidelines for taking mannose, packaged supplements such as polysaccharides will contain specific directions. Following these and drinking water are good recommendations. It is essential to take multiple doses as mentioned, rather than a single daily dose.


Summary of Mannose

Since mannose is so easily absorbed into the bloodstream and naturally expelled from the body, there are very few dangers arising from an overdose of mannose. Pregnant women however, are advised not to take mannose supplements without getting medical advice, because tests have linked large quantities of mannose to birth defects in the fetus. However, there have been found to be no side effects caused by the presence of the small quantities of mannose that are produced by the body naturally.

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