Looking to try D-Mannose for urinary tract infection (UTI) treatment and wondering about the right dosage? There are a couple things you need to know. First of all, according to Dr. Wright, the first physician to use D-Mannose powder in the United States in the 1980s, it helps to prevent and treat UTIs caused by Escherichia coli (E. coli), the most common UTI causing bacteria.
However, it’s important to note that the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) does not support his statement and regards D-Mannose as a supplement that is not intended to prevent or treat UTI. Despite this, D-Mannose for UTI has solid clinical research backing showing its effectiveness for UTI prevention (this study on UTI prevention, and this clinical study, and one more clinical study ). D-Mannose powder is also a safe supplement with only a few manageable side-effects.
D-Mannose is actually a type of sugar. But not your regular sugar (glucose), which goes with your coffee and actually can worsen your UTI symptoms.
Your body is unable to metabolize D-Mannose like other sugars, so it is quickly expelled and stored in the urine. The high concentration of D-Mannose in urine is a key reason that it is so effective at fighting E. coli bacterial growth in your bladder.
So, Why Doesn’t My Doctor Know About D-Mannose?
First of all, many physicians must follow official treatment guidelines from the FDA, otherwise, they risk litigation and negligence suits.
Second, as D-Mannose is a natural substance that is not well regulated, there is a significant variation in the quality of supplements, making it difficult to predict how well it will work.
Third, there are no large clinical trials evaluating D-Mannose as that would require significant financial investment form pharmaceutical companies that would not be profitable. (As a naturally occurring substance, it cannot be patented and will not be financially beneficial to the drug companies).
It’s ironic though, that many physicians recommend cranberry supplements for UTI, which have not equivocally been proven to treat UTIs, while so few are aware of D-Mannose.
Can a lubricant cause your UTIs?
UTI Prevention Is Better Than Cure
While D-Mannose is a great supplement, it’s only one part of the solution.
Do you want to prevent UTI naturally, without being prescribed antibiotics? You’ll need to employ a holistic approach:
- Decrease bladder inflammation
- Dissolve bacterial biofilms
- Reduce pathogenic bacteria in the body (this is where D-mannose could be handy)
- Implement healthy lifestyle changes to prevent UTIs naturally.
- Buy D-Mannose in powder instead of capsules. One of the most affordable options on Amazon is BulkSupplements Pure D-Mannose Powder.
- Drink half a glass of water with the first D-Mannose dose (1 teaspoon every 2-3 hours)
- Take D-Mannose as early as possible when you first notice symptoms, before the UTI fully develops
- Don’t self-treat with D-Mannose for longer than two to three days
- If you have a corn allergy, make sure you choose a D-Mannose that is made without corn, such as Pure Encapsulations.
- While E. coli is responsible for up to 90% of all UTIs, D-Mannose will not treat any UTIs caused by other bacteria.
Common Mistakes When Taking D-Mannose
#1 Drinking too much water
If you just took D-Mannose, wait before drinking lots of water. If you drink too much water with D-Mannose, you dilute the concentration in your bladder, cutting down on its potency.
- Take your dose with no more than half a glass of water
- Wait for about 45 minutes to an hour,
- Then drink plenty of water in order to flush out the bladder and get rid of harmful bacteria.
This way, concentrated D-Mannose has time to bind E. coli bacteria, allowing it to be flushed away when you drink water.
#2 Capsules vs powder
Don’t overpay by buying D-mannose capsules.
You’ll not only waste money buying capsules, but you’ll be ingesting excess ingredients with no additional benefits such as rice flour, stearic acid, magnesium stearate and silica, whose only purpose is to process the powder into capsules. Instead, measure out a teaspoon of D-Mannose powder.
Don’t worry: you do not have to be precise. The powder has a pleasant, sweet taste, and dissolves easily in water.
Bottom line, while there are products that portion D-Mannose for you (for example, Uqora or any D-Mannose brand in capsules) it doesn’t make sense to pay extra if you can just scoop some powder with a teaspoon and add to your drink.
#3 Thinking D-Mannose is a cure-all
If you decided to manage your UTI with D-Mannose, know that there are certain health risks, although they may not be from D-Mannose itself. The main risk you take is that D-Mannose won’t work for your UTI and the bacteria could ascend to your kidneys, causing a serious infection.
Therefore, it is important to keep a close eye on your symptoms and not rely entirely on an OTC UTI test that could be wrong. If your UTI symptoms are not improved or completely gone after 1-2 days, go to your doctor.
Remember, D-Mannose only helps with UTIs caused by E. coli. If your UTI goes untreated, you are at risk for developing a kidney infection, or even deadly blood infection or sepsis. Also, if you’ve had frequent UTIs, you are at a higher risk of having a UTI caused by multiple bacteria, especially multi-resistant ones.
Regardless, scientists still aren’t sure why D-Mannose effectively treats some UTIs caused by E. Coli but not others. sIts important to remember that D-mannose is a natural product with a range of suppliers and methods of manufacture which may affect its effectiveness.
#4 Taking D-Mannose too late
It appears that D-Mannose works best if taken as a preventative measure or at the very first signs of UTI. While a full-blown UTI may benefit from D-Mannose supplement, you run the risk of having bacteria that grow too quickly for D-Mannose to flush them out.
If you do take antibiotics, D-Mannose can help to speed up recovery but do not stop your antibiotics early to switch to D-Mannose. If you do, you could develop a drug-resistant bacteria. Also, always tell your doctor that you are taking D-Mannose as there is a chance that the supplements could interact with your medication.
#5 Relying only on D-Mannose to treat your UTI
I understand the desire to stick to natural supplements to treat or prevent UTIs. However, UTIs (especially chronic ones) is a multi-faceted problem requiring a holistic approach.
Thankfully, there are plenty of herbal and natural remedies to help you stay healthy! If this is your first UTI, don’t wait for it to turn into a chronic problem.
Getting a UTI may be the first warning sign from your body that it is not in balance (vaginal flora, hormones, stones etc..). You can check out my Actionable Guide if you keep getting UTIs after sex to get step-by-step instructions to prevent a cycle of recurrent UTIs.
#6 Thinking you are allergic to D-Mannose
Did you know that most D-Mannose supplements are made with corn? If you are allergic to corn, a corn-derived D-Mannose supplement will further exacerbate the usual side effects associated with D-Mannose (hives, GI upset).
If you know or suspect that you are allergic to corn, choose a powder made from cranberries or pineapple. If you have a pineapple allergy, then look for D-Mannose made from birch tree juice or other berries. Allergies are not only unpleasant but can affect your immune system, making your fight against a UTI that much more challenging.
D-Mannose Dosage For Acute UTI
Consider this when trying to supplement your UTI treatment with D-mannose. Consider this when taking D-mannose for UTIs:
- The typical dose for acute UTI is 1500-2000 mg (capsule form) or one full teaspoon (powder) in a half glass of water every 2-3 hours for first 2-3 days and switching to preventive dose for 2-3 more days.
- Drink plenty of water in between D-Mannose doses.
- Remember there is no clinically established D-mannose dose or frequency for UTIs.
- Each person will respond differently to this standard dose due to differences in age, weight and overall health.
- The quality and purity of D-Mannose can vary from one manufacturer to another, and even from one batch to the next!
- D-Mannose has certain side-effects and it’s important to weigh all the pros and cons before trying it.
- If you are allergic to corn, make sure you choose a brand that does not use corn derivatives.
- Once you start taking D-Mannose, your symptoms should diminish within the first 48 hours, but take it for the full 5 days even if your symptoms resolve. If your symptoms don’t improve or worsen in the first 2 days, see a doctor immediately.
- Some people find it useful to keep taking D-Mannose once a day for a month after an acute UTI to prevent further episodes.
- Always let your doctor know that you are taking D-Mannose as a supplement and let them know if you are taking it with any antibiotics.
D-Mannose Dosage For UTI Prevention
I take D-Mannose after certain UTI trigger events. Consider this when adding D-Mannose to your UTI prevention strategy:
- The UTI prevention dose is 1500-2000 mg (or one-half teaspoon) once or twice a day.
- You can take this “preventive” dose safely for as long as you want. The bacteria won’t develop resistance to D-Mannose.
- Ladies: you can take D-Mannose every time you think your vaginal flora is compromised, such as with signs of a yeast infection, when eating a lot of sugar, when you are overstressed, after sex, etc.).
- Check out my other home remedies for UTI.
- Remember the FDA does not approve D-Mannose for prevention and considers it a supplement.
Best D-Mannose products (my opinion)
The more volume you buy, the less you pay!
- Now Foods D-mannose Powder, 6 Ounce ($$)
- BulkSupplements Pure D-Mannose Powder –One of the cheapest options with good reviews. I use it all the time. ($)
- Now Foods D-Mannose Powder, 3-Ounce ($$$)
- Now Foods D-mannose 500mg, Capsules, 120-Count ($$$)
Here are some more expensive D-Mannose brands that are not made from corn, and produced in the USA from cranberries and pineapples:
Read my full 2018 review of popular D-Mannose supplements which compares different brands to help you figure out the best D-Mannose for your unique situation.
FAQs About D-Mannose & UTIs
Is it suitable for children?
D-Mannose is generally safe; at the end of the day, it is only a type of sugar- and not the harmful type! However, you need to be aware that doses should be changed based on your child’s age and weight. There is also a rare genetic disease that blocks our ability to produce and absorb this type of sugar (mannose). Always let your child’s pediatrician know before you give him or her D-mannose and make sure to educate yourself.
Remember, too, that kids are more likely to get UTIs because they hold their pee for too long or because of backward urine flow (called vesicoureteral reflux). If your child keeps getting UTIs, make sure you talk to your doctor about this as an underlying issue won’t be treated by D-Mannose.
Definitely, do not use D-Mannose instead of antibiotics in kids who are too young to tell you about their symptoms. It is best not to experiment with any natural supplements and follow your doctor’s advice. Also, be extra careful with the dosage, as too much can cause diarrhea.
Is D-Mannose suitable for diabetics?
We think D-Mannose is fine for people with diabetes. Since only very small amounts of D-Mannose are metabolized by your body, it typically won’t raise your blood sugar level.
Nonetheless, you should check your blood sugar levels regularly if you are diabetic and starting any new supplements.
Also, new and recurrent UTIs when you have diabetes may be a sign that your diabetes is not well controlled.
Scientists still don’t know enough about D-mannose metabolism, so exercise caution and let your doctor know if you want to take D-Mannose and are diabetic.
How soon can I expect a relief with D-Mannose?
If you started taking D-Mannose at the first signs of a UTI you typically will notice a drastic reduction in symptoms between 24 to 48 hours. However, if you don’t notice an improvement, make sure to see your physician right away.
An untreated UTI could turn into a dangerous kidney infection or a blood infection called sepsis. Every time you choose to self-treat you run the risk of having a simple UTI turn into a more complex and serious one. However, a benefit of D-Mannose supplements for UTI is that it does not damage your natural digestive and vaginal flora, which cannot be said of for antibiotics.
FDA: Important disclaimer
D-Mannose is a popular supplement for those looking for a natural solution to manage UTIs (just scroll down the page to read comments from the readers like you!). Anecdotal evidence is growing and contributing to the popularity of D-Mannose products as so many of us want to find a natural and effective way to manage UTIs.
However, D-Mannose is a food supplement that is not regulated by the FDA. A dietary supplement product cannot claim that it is used to “diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease,” because only a drug can legally make such a claim. There is not enough scientific evidence to state that D-Mannose can treat a UTI, therefore, you use it at your own risk. Always remember to closely monitor your symptoms and contact your doctor if your symptoms do not improve.
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Written by Anastasia Visotsky, medically reviewed by Dr. Ogunyemi