People suffering from recurrent infections of the urinary tract are often advised to drink cranberry juice. In a recent study, researchers have found that cranberry juice can also be taken to treat staph infections.
What is staph infection?
Staphylococcus infections, commonly known as staph infections, usually affect the skin. These bacteria can cause mild to severe infections. Illnesses caused by the staphylococcus bacteria can be fatal for people with weak immunity.
Nearly 30 types of staphylococcus bacteria are linked to illnesses in humans. However, most staph-related illnesses are caused by a staphylococcus strain known as Staphylococcus aureus.
Normally, the staphylococcus bacteria live on the skin and in the nose of adults. They invade the human body when the natural immune mechanism of the body fails to prevent the bacteria from infecting wounds on the skin.
Infants, lactating women, diabetics, cancer patients and people with respiratory illnesses and vascular diseases have the greatest risk of contracting staph infection.
Cranberry juice prevents staph infection
Researchers at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) have found that cranberry juice could prevent illnesses caused by staphylococcus aureus. The findings were reported at the national meeting of the American Chemical Society in Boston.
In the study, a group of healthy female students at WPI was given cranberry juice cocktail and another group was given a placebo fluid that resembled cranberry juice. After drinking the cranberry juice or placebo fluid, the urine samples of the subjects were collected at prescribed intervals.
The urine samples were then incubated in Petri dishes. A strain of staphylococcus aureus bacteria and several strains of E.coli bacteria were added to the urine samples.
While measuring the density of the bacterial colonies, the researchers found that the staphylococcus aureus bacteria and the E.coli bacteria failed to form biofilms on the surface of the Petri dishes of subjects who had taken cranberry juice.
To cause an infection, the bacteria should adhere to a host, around which they begin to form colonies to form a biofilm. Biofilms are the first colonies formed by microorganisms.
The study showed that staph bacteria, which are otherwise extremely efficient at forming biofilms, have failed to multiply in urine samples containing cranberry juice.
To prevent staph infection, cranberry juice might be included in the diet of people with weak immune system.