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One strange reason why your MD has no clue if D-Mannose for UTI works

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I’m skeptical when it comes to natural supplements and I wanted to know if this is true that D-Mannose for UTI works? So much hype online, but at the same time, none of my physicians knew about it. Could it be possible or is D-Mannose a scam? Naturally, when I started using D-Mannose for UTI prevention, I had doubts.

If D-Mannose for UTI works, why my doctor never heard of it?

Here are my thoughts on the subject that caused me to doubt:

  • First of all, UTI is the second most diagnosed and treated infection in the world after upper respiratory infections. Basically, every fourth woman will have it at least once in her life. Wouldn’t every physician be on a lookout for a novel treatment if D-Mannose for UTI works?
  • Second, bacteria causing UTI are increasingly becoming antibiotic-resistant and it’s a huge problem. D-Mannose, on another hand, does not contribute to antibiotic resistance. Therefore, D-Mannose should be an exciting product for physicians to prescribe, right?
  • Third, unlike antibiotics, D-Mannose is very safe. Besides some GI-related side effects, it is pretty harmless. After strong antibiotics like Cipro are proven to be dangerous, wouldn’t doctors be looking for a safe alternative?
  • Fourth, I have seen multiple articles written by physicians, naturopathic doctors and even research teams describing how D-mannose for UTI works, so it seemed legit.
  • And lastly, so many chronic UTI sufferers have attributed their cure to D-Mannose, it simply felt strange that it is still not a mainstream drug!

I did not want to be responsible for promoting pseudo-science and was looking for answers.

Research inspired by D-Mannose

I eventually was able to talk to a researcher at Washington University School of Medicine, Department of Molecular Microbiology and Pathology & Immunology. What I found out was surprising and exciting. Apparently, their lab has been working on an artificial alternative to D-Mannose for a while, and they hope to take the new drug to clinical trials in 2018.

…their lab has been working on an artificial alternative to D-Mannose for a while

D-Mannose works by binding to E. coli and this prevents the bacteria from binding with the naturally occurring sugar in your bladder lining and makes it possible to flush E. coli from the bladder. D-Mannose is a natural sugar and for factors yet unknown, doesn’t work for everybody.

Scientists observed that the bond between E. coli and D-Mannose is relatively weak. However, their new artificial mannoside bonds to E. coli much stronger (ten thousands times stronger!) than natural D-Mannose, and therefore works better. Unfortunately, as with anything artificial, we don’t know what kind of side-effects new mannoside could cause in humans.

The truth about D-Mannose and big pharma

One of the biggest pharmaceutical companies, Glaxo-Smit Klein is now investing in this research. Why? Well, because they can patent an artificial mannoside, but they can’t patent natural supplement. Patent equals high margins.

…they can patent an artificial mannoside, but they can’t patent natural supplement.

Pharmaceutical companies are the ones educating physicians about new drugs. So unless they make money on a patented medication, nobody will care. No money – no research subsidies either. Once new, better mannoside is developed, patented, and approved for clinical use, your physician will finally hear about it from a drug company representative and start prescribing. Most likely though it will have a brand name that has nothing to do with D-Mannose. While we are waiting for new commercial mannosides to hit the shelves of the pharmacies, it’s a good idea to try natural D-Mannose that inspired this research.

Bottom line, don’t be surprised that your physician doesn’t know if D-Mannose for UTI really works, you can just give him/her a link to this post. If you decide to supplement your UTI treatment with D-Mannose, remember that it’s a natural product, so it’s never going to be “bulletproof” and might not work well for you, but it’s definitely worth trying. D-Mannose is not a scam!