What’s really in your cranberry supplement?

What’s really in your cranberry supplement?

How to detect which capsules may be adulterated with anything from peanut skins to hibiscus flowers, and how to tell which cranberry supplements contain the nutrients necessary to deliver on promise

Cranberries are an amazing superfood. In addition to their traditional role in preventing urinary tract infections (UTIs), research has also shown that cranberries may support healthy gums and a strong immune system , and may benefit cardiovascular health .

So, the message is clear: People should eat more cranberries. But there’s a little setback: Cranberry isn’t exactly the tastiest fruit out there, so eating several per day isn’t so enjoyable for most people. The solution? Cranberry supplements.

Cranberry supplements have become so popular in the U.S. that, as of 2016, cranberry was the second most-bought botanical dietary supplement ingredient in the US . So, problem solved, right? Not quite.

Some cranberry supplements may be adulterated and have no health benefits

Many of the low-priced cranberry supplements are non-standardized (their nutrition can vary from one batch to the next). And they are possibly adulterated with foreign contaminants.

“Suppliers who are purposely selling non-standardized cranberry powder are misleading both manufacturers and consumers. We have to put a stop to this,” says cranberry expert Stephen Lukawski, of Fruit d’Or Nutraceuticals, a worldwide leader in delivering authentic premium-quality, science-based cranberry ingredients. “What’s more? These adulterated products may come with absolutely no health benefit.”

In a recent research study that tested seven popular over-the-counter cranberry supplements for their efficacy in fighting the bacteria associated with UTIs, only two showed beneficial effects. The other five contained too few proanthocyanidins (PACs) — the bacteria-fighting ingredient — to have any positive effect.

Another study recommended that, to prevent recurrent UTIs, people should take cranberry products with a minimum of 36mg of total PACs per day. But the researchers found that only two products containing 25mg or more of PACs. The remaining products contained 5mg or less, making them practically useless.

In another study published in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry , researchers observed that out of 19 different commercial brands of cranberry, only four provided the recommended daily total PAC dose of 36mg. Other products contained very low amounts PACs, while some even contained no PACs at all.

But there’s something else: All PACs aren’t born equal. Some manufacturers use very little cranberry and obtain PACs from other cheaper sources such as grape seeds and peanut skin . But, of course, this isn’t the same stuff obtained from cranberries and the PACs are as effective.

So, even if a cranberry product contains the recommended amount of PACs on paper, it still may not do you any good, at least not the kind you’ll get from real cranberry. “In fact, many suppliers overestimate the actual PAC content because the numbers are obtained by using unreliable test methods,” says Lukawski. “The most reliable testing method is DMAC for measuring soluble PACs, and Butonal BCHL for measuring insoluble PACs. Only a few authentic suppliers use those,” Lukawski added.

What’s more: Adulterated cranberry products can also adversely affect your health, especially if you’re allergic to certain ingredients such as peanuts.

Why suppliers or manufacturers adulterate cranberry products

Herbal dietary supplements such as cranberry generally don’t undergo the kind of rigorous testing to which pharmaceutical drugs are subjected by the Food and Drug Administration . So, in essence, there’s a lack of product standardization . This encourages unscrupulous manufacturers to adulterate cranberry products.

And as in most other cases of adulteration, cranberry suppliers and manufacturers who adulterate their products do so to make more profit and compete against others. And let’s be honest, who doesn’t like cheap stuff? But here’s the deal: Quality cranberry costs money and it’s totally worth it. “After all, your health is an investment, not an expense!” Lukawski says. Based on efficacy, you can take two capsules per day containing 500 mg of organic Cran Naturelle cranberry or take 15 to 20 capsules per day of non-standardized cranberry supplements

How to identify quality cranberry products

Chemical tests that help to identify quality cranberry products are too expensive and pretty much inaccessible to the average consumer.

But here’s one place to start: product color . Ripe cranberries are crimson red. Brown may indicate over-processing. This isn’t fool proof, though, as some manufacturers have been reported to source their red pigment from cheaper sources such as red peanut, mulberry fruit and hibiscus calyx.

You may also want to empty the capsule and taste the powder. If it doesn’t have cranberry’s sour, mildly acidic flavor, then it’s not the real stuff. So, do yourself a favor by walking away. Return the cranberry product to the retailer for a refund.

Fruit d’Or is speaking out about adulterated cranberry products

To help protect consumers’ health, Fruit d’Or is outspoken about the adulterated cranberry products flooding the market. It is also transparent about getting its own cranberry ingredients, such as Cran Naturelle, reviewed by various independent experts and confirmed to be quality cranberry. “Fruit d’Or is the only company in the world offering controlled quality from farm to table and consistency from lot to lot. They’re leading the way with higher quality testing standards such as polyphenol

fingerprinting, DNA testing, standardization of PACs and anti-adhesion testing, which ensure the authenticity and efficacy of their products,” says Lukawski.

Even United States Pharmacopeia (USP) is referencing Fruit d’Or cranberry ingredients as it prepares to release new cranberry monographs to the dietary supplement industry in 2019.

Cran Naturelle is the world’s only GMO-free, organic cranberry product with a minimum of 7% total PACs. And although it may cost you a few extra bucks, it saves you money and delivers quality on promise.

Here’s a video showing exactly how perform cranberry authenticity tests: https://youtu.be/la3Kaj91AZg . For more helpful information about cranberries supplements that go beyond UTI benefits, please check out this informative educational website: www.qualitycranberry.com .

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