Uqora is a product that claims to prevent urinary tract infections (UTIs) and has been featured on Techcrunch, Cosmo, and even Fox TV channel. “When you get a UTI, it’s because bacteria gets in the urinary tract and attaches to the wall of the urethra,” states Uqora’s founder, Spencer Gordon, “the product prevents the bacteria from being able to attach to the wall, so it can’t get inside the cells.”
There are a couple of issues with these claims, so let’s review them one-by-one.
#1 Uqora Won’t Prevent Dysbiosis
First of all, stating that all UTIs are caused by bacteria that “gets in the urinary tract and attaches to the wall of the urethra” is an unhelpful generalization. Physicians who focus on chronic UTI treatment increasingly suggest that healthy females and women who suffer from recurrent UTIs are exposed to the same bacterial flora. The difference is that healthy females have a balanced bacterial flora that protects them from the growth of unwanted bacteria.
Antibiotics, poor diet, stress, hormonal issues, and other factors could alter the balance of bacterial flora leading to imbalance. In this case, opportunistic bacteria would grow at higher rates, causing an acute UTI.
Drinking Uqora, unfortunately, does not address the underlying imbalance that makes you UTI-prone in the first place. It would be more beneficial for women to focus on their gut and vaginal health rather than attempting to prevent UTIs with Uqora.
Moreover, some UTIs are caused by bacterial biofilms that are already in the bladder. This means that bacteria are permanently lodged in your bladder wall instead of attacking you from the outside. Uqora, unfortunately, is not helpful in this case since it could only affect the free-floating bacteria.
#2 Uqora’s Protective Action Is Limited
However, certain patient populations (elderly, pregnant, and immunosuppressed individuals) are more prone to UTIs caused by other types of bacteria that are not affected by D-Mannose.
Bottom line: D-Mannose (and therefore Uqora) is not a panacea for UTI prevention.
#3 It’s a Repackaged D-Mannose
The slightly sweet D-Mannose powder has been used for UTI prevention (and even treatment) since the 80s. Traditionally, D-Mannose has been made from birch tree juice. But, with growing demand, nowadays it’s mostly produced from corn in China.
Since D-Mannose is a food supplement, not a medicine, its quality and purity are not regulated by FDA, while, in fact, not all D-Mannose products are created equally.
Uqora contains 2 grams of D-Mannose, but it’s not clear which D-Mannose source the company uses for their product.
Besides D-Mannose, the drink includes:
- Vitamin B6,
- Vitamin C,
- Potassium, and
While adding the vitamins can’t hurt, they won’t do much to increase the effectiveness of D-Mannose and are not proven to be useful for UTI-prevention either.
#4 Misleading Uqora Claims
It’s not a drug
I have mixed feelings about Uqora’s claims. First of all, if Uqora plays by the rules, they must not market UTI-prevention as an effect of the product.
For better or worse, it’s the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that decides whether a product can claim disease-specific health benefits, all based on rigorous clinical studies. D-Mannose is not a recognized active ingredient for any OTC medication and, therefore, can’t legally claim to prevent UTIs.
It’s not “FDA-approved”
I also do not appreciate Uqora’s team toying with potentially misleading terminology.
For example, the company lists this question among their FAQs: “Is Uqora FDA-approved?”.The honest straightforward answer would be “No, Uqora is not approved by FDA to treat or prevent ANY disease.”
Instead, the founders chose to provide an ambiguous (especially for a layman) response: “As a dietary supplement, our packaging, labeling, ingredient, and manufacturing quality are regulated by the FDA pursuant to the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act. All the ingredients in Uqora are Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) by the US FDA.”
Based on this long-winded answer, a regular consumer could mistakenly conclude that the product is indeed approved by the FDA.
In reality, the statement only means that Uqora is made at a plant that follows basic requirements for supplement manufacturing. Essentially, this just means that Uqora is not manufactured in someone’s kitchen, for example.
Side-effects of Uqora
Uqora states that their product has “no side-effects”. However, while mild and reversible, D-Mannose definitely has known side-effects which should be covered in Uqora’s marketing materials.
We don’t know what type of D-Mannose is used in Uqora. However, most D-Mannose on the market is made from corn, a known allergen. Uqora’s website should explain the source of their D-Mannose and warn the consumers of possible allergens.
#5 Chronic UTIs are a Systemic Problem
Unfortunately, chronic UTI is a multi-faceted problem that has no “one-size fits all” solution. Different people may experience recurrent UTIs for different reasons.
For example, a premenopausal patient with recurrent UTIs will have a different set of factors that make her prone to UTIs than that of a young patient with an IUD. Suggesting that a complex chronic problem that has a variety of potential risk factors and causes has a simple solution is delaying medical evaluation and proper treatment.
A Uqora box comes with 10 little packets. You’re supposed to use one packet per glass of water to prevent UTIs. 10 packets are sold for $30, and each packet contains 2 grams of D-mannose. This means that 20 grams of D-mannose will cost you $30 if you buy it from Uqora (as of 09/2018).
However, on Amazon, you can buy 250 grams (12.5 times more!) for a much lower price from BulkSupplements: Pure D-mannose Powder (250 grams). And if you are allergic to corn, go for D-Mannose made in the USA from pineapples.
In any case, if you buy D-Mannose and multivitamins separately, you’ll save a lot of money.
- D-Mannose is the only active ingredient in Uqora that has some promise for UTI-prevention.
- Uqora does not disclose the source of their D-Mannose, which could matter for some consumers who are allergic to corn.
- Uqora is a food supplement, and it’s not approved by FDA to treat or prevent any disease.
- If you decide to try D-Mannose for UTI prevention, you’d have to take it often. Do the math and buy in bulk.
What else? Learn more about natural and holistic options to prevent UTI.