07.02.04 -- Mannose: A Spoonful Of Sugar
By Nicholas Rana, CN, NOW Quality Department, May 14, 2004
D-Mannose is a simple six-carbon sugar also sold as Seminose or Carubinose. Mannose is a sterioisomer of Glucose and naturally occurs as a monosaccharide in fruits like pineapple and cranberry as well as in the glycoproteins of many plants and fungi.
NOW Foods' pure Mannose is produced by the isomerization of glucose derived from NON-GM corn, white and sweet potatoes. It has a caloric value of 4 calories per gram and is a minimum of 98% pure, the remaining being mostly moisture. The purity and identity have been verified by a third party laboratory using a specific HPLC method to ensure no contamination with other sugars. Microbiological and heavy metal testing are performed to further ensure that this product is completely safe for human consumption. NOW Foods has taken many steps in order to guarantee that its Mannose is the purest product available today.
Studies suggest that Mannose may maintain and support a healthy urinary tract by blocking the adhesion of disease-causing organisms like E. coli to the surface of the host tissue. In most cases, pathogenic bacteria that cause urinary tract infections do so by utilizing tiny hair-like projections on their surface called fimbrium. Protruding from the tips of these fimbrium are glycoproteins called lectins. It is these lectins that bind to certain sugar components like Mannose that are normally present on the surface tissues that line the urinary tract, thereby initiating the bacterial infection process.
When sufficient Mannose is consumed, the excess molecules of this sugar present in the resident urine act as a sacrificial bodyguards that attach themselves to the lectins, thereby blocking the disease-causing E. coli from adhering to the tissues of the bladder and subsequent colonization. The Mannose-saturated E. coli bacteria are subsequently flushed away during urination.
Though Mannose is a simple sugar and is absorbed in the upper gastrointestinal tract, it is absorbed at a slower rate than most sugars and is not readily converted to glycogen for storage. A substantial amount of Mannose is absorbed into the bloodstream mostly unchanged. After passing through the kidneys, it is excreted into the urine and continues its journey through the ureters, bladder and urethra where it performs a valuable service to support and maintain a healthy urinary tract before exiting the body.
What is Mannose?
Technically known as D-Mannose, this is a simple six-carbon sugar. Mannose is a stereoisomer that is a mirror image of Glucose and naturally occurs as a monosaccharide (simple sugar) in fruit like blueberries and cranberries, as well as in other plants and fungi. NOW’s pure Mannose is derived from corn, white and sweet potatoes, and has a caloric value (similar to other sugars) of four calories per gram.
Mannose exists in two forms - alpha and beta. The alpha form is mild and sweet, while the beta form is bitter. The natural manufacturing methods for Mannose results in a mixture of these two forms; yielding a product that is mildly sweet with a slight bitter aftertaste.
How can a simple sugar like Mannose be good for me?
Studies suggest that Mannose may maintain and support a healthy urinary tract by blocking the adhesion of microorganisms like E. coli to the surface of the host tissue. In most cases, bacteria utilize tiny hair-like projections on their surface called fimbrium. Protruding from the tips of these fimbrium are glycoproteins called lectins. It’s these lectins that bind the bacteria to the surface tissues that line the urinary tract.
When sufficient Mannose is consumed, the excess molecules of this sugar present in the urine attach to the lectins, thereby blocking microorganisms from adhering to the tissues of the bladder and forming new colonies. The Mannose-bound bacteria are subsequently flushed away through the urinary tract.
Does Mannose act like sucrose once digested?
Although Mannose is a simple sugar and is absorbed in the upper gastrointestinal tract, it is absorbed at a slower rate than most sugars and is not readily converted to glycogen for storage. A substantial amount of Mannose is absorbed into the bloodstream and, after passing through the kidneys and bladder, is excreted into the urine.
How do you monitor the quality of your Mannose?
It is not certain just what is a "perfect" alpha- to beta- Mannose ratio, but an initial sweet taste indicates the ratio is sufficiently good. Mannose is analyzed to determine its purity. This is to preclude any dilution with other sugars, such as dextrose or sucrose. However, this analysis does not differentiate between the alpha and beta forms. NOW specifies that our mannose will exceed 99% purity and taste mildly sweet with a hint of a slightly bitter aftertaste.
Does Mannose work like an antibiotic?
Mannose has no antibiotic properties and will not kill existing infections. If you have persistent burning and/or urgency symptoms, please seek professional medical evaluation to determine if these symptoms are caused a urinary tract infection.