Cranberry Extract Boosts Gut Health and May Help Prevent Chronic Diseases

In a recent study, researchers from Université Laval and the Institute of Nutrition and Functional Foods (INAF) discovered that cranberry extracts can improve the gut microbiome and potentially help prevent chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease. The beneficial effects were observed after just four days of consuming the extract.

Cranberries’ Secret Weapons: Polyphenols and Oligosaccharides

Cranberries and other berries are known for their numerous health benefits, which are mainly attributed to their high content of polyphenols, in the form of tannins, and oligosaccharides, small fibres that contribute to their bioactivity. The research team, led by Professor Yves Desjardins, found that these compounds in cranberry extract stimulate the growth of beneficial gut bacteria, such as Bifidobacterium and Akkermansia muciniphila.

“Normally, these bacteria are stimulated by dietary fibre consumption. We observed the same effect with cranberry extract with a dose almost 20 times lower,” said Jacob Lessard-Lord, a postdoctoral fellow at INAF.

Combating the Harmful Effects of a Western Diet

The Western diet is known to alter the gut microbiome, causing inflammation and compromising the intestinal barrier. This can lead to the passage of lipopolysaccharides (LPS) derived from the gut microbiota, a condition known as metabolic endotoxemia, which is a crucial factor in the onset and progression of inflammation and metabolic diseases.

“The constant inflammation that results from the presence of LPS in the body can lead to several chronic diseases, including diabetes, and cardiovascular disease,” explained Professor Desjardins.

By stimulating the growth of beneficial gut bacteria, cranberry extracts can help regenerate the microbiota and create an anti-inflammatory environment, strengthening the intestinal barrier and potentially improving the prognosis of chronic diseases.

The study participants consumed a cranberry supplement in capsule form twice daily, equivalent to ingesting 60 grams of fresh cranberries. The research team is now interested in exploring the long-term effects of the extracts and identifying which microbiota signatures respond best to them.

Keyword/phrase: cranberry extract gut health

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