Share The Wealth by Chris Gupta
November 21, 2005

Cranberries Might Increase The Absorption Of Vitamin B12

See also:

How To Ingest B12 Orally

Vitamin B12, Drinking Water Fluoridation, and Alzheimer's Dementia (AD)

B12 Deficiency From Drugs

Vegetarian source of vitamin B12

Chris Gupta

More good reasons to pile on the cranberries

Daily Herald, 11/21/05

Patrick Massey MD, PhD

This time of the year is rich with holidays, each with its own food traditions.

Where would we be at Thanksgiving without the cranberry? Did you know that the cranberry reportedly has been used both as a food and as a medicine by Native Americans for centuries? Modern medical research on the benefits of cranberries agree.

The American cranberry (Vaccinium macrocarpon) grows wild in the United States and goes by many names including bear berry, black cranberry, bog cranberry, moosebeere, large cranberry, low cranberry, marsh apple, mountain cranberry and others. It is closely related to the blueberry and bilberry. Cranberries are an excellent source of antioxidants and vitamins and are very effective at treating and preventing urinary tract infections.

Medical research on cranberries dates back to the late 1840s. German physicians discovered eating cranberries could treat and prevent infections of the urinary tract. Cranberries have the ability to slightly acidify the urine and it was believed that was how they prevented infections.

Research over the past decade has revealed that cranberries do more than that. Compounds in cranberries actually keep bacteria from binding to the wall of the urinary bladder, a necessary step for infection of the urinary tract.

Although definitive research is lacking, most studies demonstrate that eating cranberries helps prevent urinary tract infections in those who are at greatest risk especially the elderly. I have found it to be well tolerated and very effective if used daily for more than two or three months. Some research suggests that when cranberries are used together with antibiotics, it might be more effective than antibiotics alone. However, there is no evidence that cranberries alone are effective in treating an ongoing urinary tract infection.

One recent study showed that cranberries also keep disease-causing viruses from binding to the walls of the intestine. Other claims that cranberries are effective against fungi, atherosclerosis, cancer, gall stones, diabetes, kidney stones and scurvy are not supported by reasonable medical studies.

Eating cranberries also might increase the absorption of vitamin B12 in patients who take medicine to reduce stomach acid.

The most common form of cranberry is as a juice. Studies using cranberry juice recommend drinking about 10 ounces a day. However, most cranberry juices contain a lot of sugar and might not be good for diabetics. Cranberry capsules, with doses of 300 to 1,200 mg per day, are an alternative.

Cranberry is very safe and even a dose as high as three or four liters a day is not toxic for adults, thought it might cause diarrhea. For children, I recommend talking with a physician, since high doses could be toxic. Obviously, avoid cranberries if you're allergic to them or to blueberries.

So, at the Thanksgiving meal, use cranberries with gusto, knowing that you are not only eating something healthy, but that it is also a powerful and all-natural medicine.

• Patrick B. Massey, M.D., Ph.D., is medical director for alternative and complementary medicine for Alexian Brothers Hospital Network.

Patrick Massey MD, PhD
Medical Director, Integrative Medicine, Alexian Brothers Hospital Network. President, ALT-MED Medical and Physical Therapy


posted by Chris Gupta on Monday November 21 2005

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