If you are fighting chronic UTIs, your doctor might have suggested Ellura for UTI prevention. Is it worth all the hype, though?
#1 The Controversy Surrounding Cranberry
Cranberries are well known for their health benefits. For centuries, Native Americans used cranberries to improve bladder health and more specifically to prevent UTIs. See our post on herbal remedies for more about alternative remedies for urine infections.
Despite its centuries-long track record, there is still some controversy about cranberry’s role in preventing UTIs. Modern research has painted a mixed picture, with some studies showing cranberries decrease UTIs and others showing no difference compared to a sugar pill.
To be honest, some of the earlier studies were designed poorly because they did not make sure everyone got the same amount of cranberry.
However, recent studies are more careful and yet, there is still some uncertainty about the cranberries’ effectiveness. Despite this controversy, many people swear by cranberry for preventing their UTIs.
#2 How Do Cranberries Prevent UTIs?
For quite some time, we did not know why cranberry worked against UTIs. Doctors knew that cranberry made the urine acidic, which they knew was toxic to bacteria. It also produces nitric oxide, a compound that also helps to kill bacteria.
It was not until 1998 that researchers found the answer. Cranberries work so well against UTIs because they contain compounds called proanthocyanidins A-type (PAC-A for short).
PAC-A is great at stopping E. coli, the most common UTI-causing bug, from attaching to the bladder wall. It specifically blocks E.coli’s finger-like projections from grabbing on to the inner lining of the bladder, which is a necessary step for allowing a urine infection to take hold.
What is more, PAC-A is effective not only against normal E. coli but also the multi-drug resistant E. coli, the bugs we no longer have effective antibiotics to treat. While cranberry is most often used for E. coli UTIs, there are studies that show it is also effective against UTIs caused by bacteria other than E. coli.
#3 Is D-Mannose Better Than Cranberry For UTI Prevention?
When considering Ellura for UTI versus D-Mannose for UTI, it’s important to understand how both supplements work.
UTI starts because pathogenic bacteria (in most cases, E.coli) attach to the bladder lining in the way that it is impossible to simply pee them out.
E.coli can attach to the bladder through 2 different type of pili or “finger-like” projections called P-pili or type 1 pili. Think about pili as tiny tentacles that bacteria use to attach to your bladder lining.
P-pili is more virulent because it tends to cause kidney infections (p for pyelonephritis) while type 1 is less virulent and only causes bladder infections.
D-mannose actually attaches (or binds) to the type 1 pili so the E. coli is flushed out with the D-mannose. So, basically, E. coli grabs on to D-Mannose instead of the naturally occurring mannose on your bladder wall. And, since their “hands” are full with D-Mannose, they lose the ability to attach to the bladder lining.
On the other hand, cranberry blocks both type 1 and P-pili from attaching to the bladder wall (likely through a structural change), so the E. coli is peed out. We think that PAC-A somehow disables the tentacles of the bacteria from working and bacteria could not attach to anything anymore.
#4 How Much PAC-A Do You Need For UTI Prevention?
Not only is it important to know how much PAC-A you need to fight UTIs, you need to make sure that the supplement you take is being true to its word and actually contains what it claims. Studies show that you need between 36 and 72 mg of PAC-A per day for UTI prevention.
Beware of supplements that mention only the amount of cranberry it contains, without specifying the PAC-A content.
Even more alarming, you have to be wary of different brands. Studies show that not only do a lot of “UTI fighting” cranberry supplements on the market not have enough PACs to be effective but many that claim to have PACs may not contain any at all!
#5 Why Ellura For UTI Prevention Is A Good Option
It is important to be careful when choosing what you put into your body. This is where Ellura™ shines. Ellura™ (or Urell® if you live in France and Spain) is a reputable brand with a long track record. In order to be able to recommend Ellura for UTI prevention, the company conducted several studies showing its effectiveness.
Ellura products have been tested to determine exactly how much PAC-A it contains, so their claims are true to their word. Each capsule really contains 36 mg of PACs.
#6 How Often To Take Ellura
When you digest Ellura tablet, the PACs quickly reach effective concentrations in the urine, so it can start fighting urine infections.
However, the effects of PACs are at their strongest within 6 hours after ingesting.
One study showed that the E.coli-blocking effect drops quite a bit after 24 hours. These researchers suggest that it may be best to take ElluraTM twice a day to prevent UTIs.
#7 Ellura Is Not A Cure-all
You can also take Ellura™ at the first signs of a urine infection. Don’t ignore your symptoms; talk to your doctor if you aren’t feeling better in two or three days. Ellura™ is not effective for complicated UTIs, such as for people with a urine catheter, kidney infection or kidney stones. In fact, Ellura™ and other cranberry pills are not a good idea if you have kidney stones, as they can cause kidney stones!
While cranberry is a great tool for young and middle age women, some studies show that elderly women don’t get much benefit from Ellura™. Also, most of the studies looking at Ellura™ were done on women (and sometimes children); there is much less evidence that it helps men with urine infections. This is probably because most men have complicated infections.
The bottom line is, if you are a woman who has dealt with several UTIs, consider trying Ellura™. It may not work for every woman, but it definitely is a great resource to have.
Have you tried Ellura? Was it effective for you? Let us know your thoughts!
Ellura For UTI Prevention On Amazon
- ellura 36 mg PAC (30 Capsule Box) $$$$
- ellura 36 mg PAC (90 Caps Bottle): slightly cheaper per capsule, but all and all a quite expensive supplement $$$
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