What is D-Mannose?
D-Mannose is a naturally occurring simple sugar. As an epimer of glucose, its chemical structure is nearly
identical. The only difference occurs in the C-2 position, where the glucose hydroxy group is in the opposite
position of the one found in d-mannose. While this is a small difference, it significantly alters its function and
how the body uses it. Unlike glucose, mannose isn’t an efficient way for the body to store energy.
Instead, mannose plays a significant role in metabolism. The body attaches mannose to proteins for glycosylation.
Many proteins can’t fold correctly without glycosylation, or they may lack stability. Mannose also activates
proteins by bonding to them, facilitating the numerous roles proteins play within the body.
Manufacturers can synthesize d-mannose powder by oxidizing mannitol, a type of sugar alcohol. Mannose and
mannitol both come from the root word manna, a term used in the Bible to describe miraculously produced
food. For several years, manufacturers sourced their mannitol from the sugary sap of the Fraxinus ornus
ash tree. People often compared this sap to manna, as reflected by several other names for the tree (manna ash
tree, fresno del maná, and frassino da manna).
Potential D-Mannose Benefits
D-Mannose for UTIs
The primary interest in d-mannose relates to managing the symptoms of urinary tract infections (UTIs). E. coli
bacteria are the most common cause of UTIs (up to 90%). Women are at a much greater risk than men of developing a
UTI, as they have a much shorter urethra. D-Mannose may improve UTI symptoms or help shorten their duration due to
one of its mechanisms of action. The body excretes d-mannose taken orally via the urine. As it goes through the
urinary tract, d-mannose attaches to E. coli proteins and separates the bacteria. Once the urine leaves the body,
the excreted d-mannose takes the bacteria out with it.
The most common symptoms of a UTI include:
- A burning sensation while urinating
- Odorous, cloudy, dark, or bloody urine
- Frequent urination with minimal urine volume
- Fever, pain, and nausea
Antibiotics are the most common treatment available for UTIs. However, long-term antibiotic use comes with
unpleasant side effects. While more research is needed, several studies have explored and confirmed that d-mannose
supplements help reduce the symptoms and frequency of UTIs.
D-Mannose and Cranberry
D-Mannose occurs naturally in several fruits, including cranberries, peaches, mangoes, apples, and oranges. Like
d-mannose, cranberries have a strong association with urinary tract health. Studies have found that taking a
combination of d-mannose and cranberry extract is also effective for managing UTI symptoms and reducing
D-Mannose and Immune Health
D-Mannose powder may support a healthy immune system. D-Mannose blocks free radicals that cause inflammation in
neutrophils. Neutrophils are a type of white blood cell and part of the body’s first response to destroy invading
bacteria or viruses. Animal studies also found that d-mannose supplements helped balance the immune system and
supported wound healing.
D-Mannose and Weight Loss
Studies show that d-mannose may strengthen gut health by acting as a prebiotic and reducing inflammation in the
gut. D-Mannose also stimulates the growth of good gut bacteria and microbes that promote weight loss. It may
further enhance weight loss by reducing food absorption while increasing fat burning in the gut. D-Mannose
produces these microbes at the cost of Firmicutes, a bacteria connected with weight gain.
Potential D-Mannose Side Effects
Most individuals tolerate d-mannose supplements well. Large doses may cause some individuals to experience mild
gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea, bloating, or diarrhea. Individuals with diabetes should consult with
their physician before taking d-mannose powder, as it can stimulate the release of insulin. D-Mannose may also
reduce the availability and effectiveness of antibiotics used for fungal infections.
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