When the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) published new research that found cranberry juice extract capsules weren’t as effective in treating urinary tract infections (UTIs) as many believe them to be, some assumed that was the entire story. Not so, say some of the cranberry industry’s top experts.
Missing in the editorial, they say, was any discussion that new cranberry products need to be developed, and new science needs to be applied, based on continued efforts to characterize the cranberry product’s composition used in the research. Scientific advances, such as cranberry polyphenols fingerprinting, may lead to better correlations between the starting product and the outcomes. There should also be separation between cranberry juice powders and whole food cranberry powders, as they are two different ingredients that should not be viewed as the same.
There are strong incentives to continue cranberry research
“We need to take another look at what was learned,” comments Complete Phytochemical Solutions CEO Christian Krueger, a third-party consulting and testing botanical ingredient company. “The World Health Organization and others have identified antibiotic resistance as a global issue. In some countries, individuals with chronic UTIs are being prescribed the highest level of antibiotics. In the JAMA study, researchers acknowledged the need to identify and evaluate new, innovative alternatives to antibiotics to treat UTIs.
“There’s not going to be a shortage of bugs that make us sick, and we know time is limited on the effectiveness of antibiotics. The bigger issue is what does the dietary supplement industry — and particularly the natural cranberry supplement industry — now have that they can bring to the table? If you have a novel and natural approach for urinary tract health that displaces the need for antibiotics, you’ve got a good platform out there.”
Krueger says that the good news is that research and testing methods are moving forward. He has introduced breakthrough test methods such as butanol, now adopted by the Cranberry Institute, for measuring cranberry’s soluble and insoluble proanthocyanidins PACs and has also developed new reference standards such as C-PAC which is more accurate than DMAC A2 standard currently being used.
There are companies such as Fruit d’Or, a pioneer in the cranberry industry for more than 15 years, that are providing the industry with a new mindset. “Much is being done to evaluate how the complete, whole cranberry product can aid in addressing the issues associated with microbes, and move us away from the use of antibiotics,” said Krueger. “Fruit d’Or is the new leader in the natural cranberry industry and a champion of efforts to adopt the newest and most relevant analytical methods.”
Stephen Lukawski, director of Sales and Business Development for Fruit d’Or, adds that, “The JAMA report cannot be allowed to put a blanket over the entire cranberry industry. At Fruit d’Or, we are dealing with natural, whole food cranberry powder that contains both soluble and insoluble PACs. The cranberry tested in the JAMA report only contained soluble PACs from juice powder. Everyone needs to know that not all cranberry ingredients are the same or of the same quality.”
New tools and accepted standards now enable the cranberry industry to verify products prior to conducting research
“Knowing the starting composition of the cranberry product used in the research gives us better correlations in the outcomes,” agreed Lukawski. He cautions researchers to stop using outdated testing methods and materials. “What sets Fruit d’Or apart is its unique whole cranberry product, and how it can be used as a test material to evaluate new, innovative alternatives to antibiotic treatments.”
He continues, “Researchers need strong, standardized reference material. In the past, we’ve seen cranberry studies by other cranberry suppliers that today can not be repeated or duplicated. If you don’t standardize the starting raw material lot to lot, you can’t link biomarkers to outcomes of the studies. The good news is that we can now validate the starting material before conducting new research and science.”
Fruit d’Or is the first cranberry nutraceutical company from farm to factory to adopt its own reference standard for whole-food natural cranberry powders. The company collaborated with Krueger to perform a fingerprint analysis of both the supplier’s whole cranberry powder and cranberry protein powder. This analysis also identified the integrity of the starting cranberry powder, identifying and quantifying active biomarkers, and preventing adulteration of the cranberry. Unlike other cranberry suppliers, Fruit d’Or is the only cranberry supplier to have done these standardized tests for natural cranberry powders.
“We were first to open these new doors, and it is gratifying that the standardization and use of state-of-the-art analytical tools are now available,” says Lukawski. Fruit d’Or was also the first whole-food cranberry powder company to sign up for the Cranberry Quality Assurance (CQA) program and to achieve the CQA seal. Under this supplier testing program, the whole-food cranberry powder submitted undergo the following tests:
- Fingerprint analysis for identification and quantification of PACs via MALDI-TOF MS
- DNA sequential bar coding for authenticity
- Analysis for adulteration via MALDI-TOF MS
- Standardization of biomarkers such as PACs
- Anti-adhesion testing to establish efficacy
Standardized cranberry material is also available for health studies from the Cranberry Institute. The organization developed its own whole cranberry powder from the fruit itself. Then working with Complete Phytochemical Solutions, a specification sheet was created to send to researchers along with the materials. That specification sheet includes the material’s entire composition including fiber, protein, flavonols and PAC levels.
Moving beyond UTIs
Lukawski points out that past research done on cranberry for the benefit of UTIs can now be made more meaningful and potentially validated by repeating studies using standardized starting material. “From oral health to gut health and cardiovascular benefits, the future of the cranberry industry will rely on credible studies.What’s exciting is with the work done by Fruit d’Or, we can link the outcomes of the studies done on gut health, anti-adhesion etc. to the specific PACs that we’ve identified. Up to this point, we remain the only company in the cranberry industry to do this.”
He adds, “By using the latest tools and reference standards, we can build a consensus. We can build a body of science on cranberry’s health benefits. If more people did this, we’d have better outcome correlations. It is Fruit d’Or’s opinion that the identification of soluble and insoluble PACs found in the whole food cranberry powder needs to be researched and studied. Evidence is showing that you need a standardized combination of both soluble and insoluble PACs to take cranberry beyond UTIs with other health benefits.”
Fruit d’Or is educating the marketplace on these tools. “There’s a gauntlet that’s been laid down to the rest of the industry. Understand your ingredients. Hold yourselves responsible when studies are conducted for ensuring that total PAC information and cranberry composition are communicated alongside your results.”
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About Cran Naturelle
Cran Naturelle Organic and Cran d’Or conventional powders are clinically studied 100% all natural whole food cranberry that is non-GMO, pesticide free, and contains no fillers, additives, or flow agents. Direct from the growers in Quebec the cranberry is planted, harvested and dried by Fruit d’Or. Independent laboratory testing shows it contains the highest proanthocyanidin content of any natural cranberry ingredient on the market.
About Fruit d’Or
Fruit d’Or Nutraceuticals is a global leader in organic processing and supply of nutraceutical cranberry and blueberry powders. The company positions itself as a next generation partner in advanced cranberry by providing cutting-edge innovation in technology and science. Fruit d’Or Nutraceuticals engages in product development, research and a commitment to quality and safety to distinguish itself from the competition — the company controls the quality from the seed to the field, from harvest to manufacturing to retail. This one-stop, farm-to-factory Canadian facility provides non-GMO, organic, state-of-the-art quality control, and traceability — key factors to its and the industry’s future growth and long-term success. Explore www.crannaturelle.ca.
SOURCE: WHOLE FOODS MAGAZINE