Yes, beat ’em at their own game! Most UTIs are caused by an infection of the urinary tract by a type of e-coli bacteria. It’s not a pathogenic type of e-coli (such as is found in some food poisoning cases) but rather a normal endemic type found in human GI tracts. Unfortunately, these critters are just in the wrong place: attached to the wall of our urinary tract and replicating.
E-coli are covered in long appendages that allow them to attach very strongly to the lining of our urinary tract (yes, that’s a real photo). Thus they cannot be simply flushed out of our system with urine. They hold on tightly via lectins at the end of their projections, and these lectins bind very well with our own tissue.
There is a four-step process that I have encouraged many of our clients to use to beat e-coli successfully at their own game of holding on tight. The first three steps can be used daily on an ongoing basis to prevent UTIs, especially in those who are prone to them:
- Alkalize the urine. Acidic urine creates a hospitable environment that allows e-coli to proliferate easily and thrive. Making your urine more alkaline slows the bacteria’s growth and allows your immune system to more effectively wipe it out (and keep it away). To alkalize your urine, remove major acid-producing and irritating foods from your diet such as dairy foods, coffee, black tea, alcohol, soda, tomatoes (esp. cooked), and vinegars. Instead, add in lots of leafy green vegetables (perhaps some veggie juice), berries, and (most importantly) freshly squeeze lemon juice (which despite its acidity going into the body is very alkaline-producing once metabolized). In particular, be sure to consume the juice of one freshly squeezed lemon (organic!) every day. Don’t take an ascorbic acid form of Vitamin C (which will just make urine acidic).
- Take d-mannose, 500mg, twice a day. This natural sugar passes through our bodies largely unaffected and actually does an even better job of binding to the sticky e-coli lectins than the bug does to our own urinary tract. So it beats the bacteria at its own game. As the d-mannose is naturally flushed from the body, it takes the bound (stuck) e-coli along for the ride – right out of your body. Note: D-mannose does not raise “blood sugar” (which is glucose). I often recommend Solaray D-Mannose; it’s easy to find and inexpensive.
- Increase water intake. Flushing is important to help wash away the bacteria as the other two steps take effect. Enjoy plenty of plain, clean, uncarbonated water.
Reacting quickly is key! If these steps are started quickly enough after the first few inklings of a UTI, they can almost always wipe out the infection before it gains momentum. If symptoms are already well developed, then adding in a 4th step immediately is important.
4. Use uva ursi leaf, a natural, herbal antibacterial that has been used for centuries to counter many bacterial overgrowth circumstances. Take a full-strength dose (as recommended) twice daily for 10 days. Note that the urine needs to be alkaline (as above) in order for uva ursi to work effectively. (This means you don’t want to consume cranberry juice while using it! Cranberry extract is fine.) I often recommend Gaia Uva ursi is not appropriate for long-time use or for use during pregnancy/breastfeeding. If you are interested, you may learn more about uva ursi here.
If you’d like to know more about this overall fascinating process of naturally countering UTIs and how it works in the body, check out Dr. Jonathan Wright’s article.
By: Tracy Harrison