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E.coli loves Cranberry!


That statement probably surprises you, but E.coli is an acid adaptive bacterium, and is capable of synthesising its nutritional requirements from the surrounding acids in its environment. Since cranberry creates acidic urine conditions, [Proof!] (cranberry juice produces hippuric acid in the urine) when you drink cranberry or eat cranberry tablets, you are giving E.coli a suitable environment in which to multiply.

In fact, the whole reason for us putting up this page is because so many customers told us that taking cranberry makes their infections worse. So how did cranberry get this undeserved reputation? How does any urban myth grow? And who benefits?

There is a small anti-adhesion effect from cranberry, but we believe that for the vast majority of bladder infection agents, the increased bacterial metabolic rate that results from the acidic urine that you get from drinking cranberry more than cancels out any anti-adhesion benefits from taking it.

On the other hand, it seems to be the case that for most gram negative bacteria, living in alkali conditions is like living in their own waste - not ideal conditions. In alkali urine they slow down their metabolic rate and it can take them twice as long to produce a cell division (to double). That's why taking potassium citrate, which makes the urine more alkaline [Proof!] can help ease the situation.

It is also known that if the E.coli in your body originated from cattle fed on a high grain diet, they can be 1000 times more resistant to acid than other E.coli. These bacteria absolutely thrive in acids. They are tough little bugs that adapt to utilise the environment they are exposed to. They can even get through stomach acids intact.

Acid resistant bacteria populate the human gut when you eat meat or food contaminated with the acid-loving strains, [Proof!] so the very first time you get an E.coli infection, the bacteria can already be acid resistant. (When you get an E.coli infection, the bacteria has invariably been at some point in a human bowel - it could be that person you just shook hands with... and not from you or your partner.)

And since Trimethoprim is often used to prevent and treat infections in chicken and cattle, the bacteria are also likely to have genetic Trimethoprim resistance 'built in'.
The cycle: E.coli and Klebsiella (and some other gram negative uropathogens) have 'burst cycle' population explosions that occur under optimum feeding conditions. It goes like this - you drink cranberry or something else that makes the urine acidic - or get dehydrated and there is a build up uric acid in the bladder. Within a short period of time when the acidic urine gets into your bladder, the E.coli in there burst into a frenzied multiplication cycle, doubling their colony size over the next 20 to 30 minutes [Proof!]. They use up the acids in your urine in the process, and pass alkalis and endotoxins into the urine. As the urine becomes more alkaline, and the bacteria are effectively living in their own waste, they gradually become semi-dormant, slowing down their multiplication rates by as much as 100%. You take another drink of Cranberry or eat some more cranberry tablets, and start the process off again. It's not that they can't metabolise alkalis, but they don't seem to be so efficient at that.

It's a well known fact that many people get bacterial cystitis when they are dehydrated and thus build up a high level of urea (uric acid) in the urine. There must be some bacteria present for any bacterial infection, but the cystitis happens because the bacteria have been given the acidic environment in which to multiply out of control. You get a feel for the hardiness of E.coli when you consider that urea is a powerful antiseptic. E.coli says "Hmm, I like that. Please can I have some more urea?..."

By avoiding cranberry, vit C in the form of ascorbic acid, alchohol, red meat and cofee, and making the urine more alkaline [More] you take away the acids that are one of the bacteria's primary sources of nutrition, effectively starving them. Better to use a citrate salt like potassium citrate, magnesium citrate, calcium citrate or sodium citrate to make the urine more alkaline. But as always, consult a good nutritionist about any dietary changes.

But Cranberry Always Seems to Help at First!

When you first take cranberry, it kills off any bacteria that cannot survive the acidic environment, and in any colony of bacteria there will be some ‘weaklings’. So cranberry usually provides very temporary relief that is followed by considerable worsening of the symptoms. [Our customers have repeatedly told us this]. This is logically because the bacteria that weren't killed off produce, when they multiply, more bacteria that like the acidic environment, and if you didn't already have acid loving bacteria in the first place, because uropathogens are very fast mutators, they are likely to produce mutations that can make better use of the acidic environment than the original cranberry survivors. This is the similar to the reproductive mechanism that produces antibiotic resistant bacteria.

Until very recently it was believed that the acid in cranberry killed the uropathogens. But that's not what happens. As explained, they adapt quickly to acidic conditions. The adaptation is by survival and multiplication, so you just end up with tougher E.coli. [Proof]

If you have even once had a bladder infection or UTI, taking cranberry makes it more likely that further infections will follow, because there are likely to be some remaining bacteria in the bladder behind biofilms under the surface skin of the bladder, just waiting for the right conditions to start multiplying again. [Proof!] And as explained, once they get into your urine again, they feed on the acids cranberry provides.

Now, how mad does this make you? You get a first time urine infection - you get antibiotics. You take cranberry at the same time, and becasue you are helping the bacteria to grow, and making them tougher, the antibiotic fails. You go for more antibiotics, drink even more cranberry, and here you are now reading this page, still with problems perhaps years later...

When you increase your d-mannose intake by taking Waterfall D-Mannose, you get up to fifty times as much d-mannose with every level teaspoonful than you get in a half pint of cranberry, and you also get the advantage of not acidifying your urine (or your stomach for that matter). But if you try taking cranberry at the same time, you will stop the mannose from working. How do we know that? Well, almost everyone who has told us they've been taking cranberry at the same time as Waterfall D-Mannose, hasn't been getting better. And as soon as they stopped the cranberry, they started getting better.

Note: The above information refers to gram-negative bacteria like E.coli and Klebsiella. This covers the vast majority of bladder infections. However, cranberry may be slightly useful against Proteus type infections. Unlike E.coli, Proteus types generally multiply slower in acid urine, [You can deduce this logically from the fact that P. mirabilis produces urease, and splits urea to CO2 and NH3 to increase pH and increase uroepithelium toxicity.] So basically it's doing the exact opposite of E.coli, which produces alkalis. Summarising, this boils down to the fact that if you have a Proteus infection, cranberry and vit C might actually be a good way to go. And from our point of view, the two customers in the past four years who said cranberry was actually helping them, turned out to have Proteus mirabilis infections.

You are more likely to get proteus if you have recently been catheterised in hospital, or had a bladder operation. [Proof!] But if you are one of the few for whom Waterfall D-Mannose doesn't cure your problem - and you don't have a bladder prolapse or something, you need to have the bacteria that are affecting you properly checked at a lab. If it is Proteus, also ask which type - the susceptibility of Proteus to particular antibiotics varies with type. The doctor will be doing guesswork unless he/she knows enough detail about what is affecting you.

Making Your Urine More Alkaline Naturally

This chart is for those trying to "adjust" their urine pH. The pH, scale is from 0 to 14, with numbers below 7 acidic and, numbers above 7 alkaline.

This chart is intended only as a general guide to alkalizing and, acidifying foods. The effect of some foods may differ for some people – it depends to an extent on the enzymes that your particular set of gut bacteria produce – so it’s worth testing your urine PH a few times over a couple of days if you suspect that a food is having a different effect on you.

ALKALIZING VEGETABLES, Alfalfa, Barley Grass, Beets, Beet Greens, Broccoli, Cabbage, Carrot, Cauliflower, Celery, Chard Greens, Chlorella, Collard Greens, Cucumber, Dandelions, Dulce, Edible Flowers, Eggplant, Fermented Veggies, Garlic, Green Beans, Green Peas, Kale, Kohlrabi, Lettuce, Mushrooms, Mustard Greens, Nightshade Veggies, Onions, Parsnips (high glycemic), Peas, Peppers, Pumpkin, Radishes, Rutabaga, Sea Veggies, Spinach, green, Spirulina, Sprouts, Sweet Potatoes, Tomatoes, Watercress, Wheat Grass, Wild Greens

ALKALIZING, ORIENTAL VEGETABLES, Maitake, Daikon, Dandelion Root, Shitake, Kombu, Reishi, Nori, Umeboshi, Wakame, ALKALIZING, FRUITS, Apple, Apricot, Avocado, Banana (high glycemic), Berries, Blackberries, Cantaloupe, Cherries, sour, Coconut, fresh, Currants, Dates, dried, Figs, dried, Grapes, Grapefruit, Honeydew Melon, Lemon, Lime, Muskmelons, Peach, Pear, Pineapple, Raisins, Raspberries, Rhubarb, Strawberries, Tangerine, Tomato, Tropical Fruits, Umeboshi Plums, Watermelon, ALKALIZING, PROTEIN, Almonds, Chestnuts, Millet, Tempeh (fermented), Tofu (fermented), Whey Protein Powder


ALKALIZING, SPICES & SEASONINGS, Cinnamon, Curry, Ginger, Mustard, Chili Pepper, Sea Salt, Miso, Tamari, All Herbs, ALKALIZING, OTHER, Apple Cider Vinegar, Bee Pollen, Lecithin Granules, Molasses, blackstrap, Probiotic Cultures, Soured Dairy Products, Green Juices, Veggie Juices, Fresh Fruit Juice, Mineral Water, Alkaline Antioxidant Water

ALKALIZING MINERALS, Cesium: pH 14, Potassium: pH 14, Sodium: pH 14, Calcium: pH 12, Magnesium: pH 9, Although it might seem that citrus fruits would have an, acidifying effect on the body, except for oranges, the citric acid they contain actually has an alkalinizing effect in the system

ACIDIFYING, VEGETABLES, Corn, Lentils, Olives, Winter Squash,

ACIDIFYING, FRUITS, Blueberries, Canned or Glazed Fruits, Cranberries, Currants, Plums**, Prunes**

ACIDIFYING, JUICES, Cranberry, Orange, Nectarine

ACIDIFYING, GRAINS, GRAIN PRODUCTS, Amaranth, Barley, Bran, wheat, Bran, oat, Corn, Cornstarch, Hemp Seed Flour, Kamut, Oats (rolled), Oatmeal, Quinoa, Rice (all), Rice Cakes, Rye, Spelt, Wheat, Wheat Germ, Noodles, Macaroni, Spaghetti, Bread, Crackers, soda, Flour, white, Flour, wheat

ACIDIFYING, BEANS & LEGUMES, Black Beans, Chick Peas, Green Peas, Kidney Beans, Lentils, Pinto Beans, Red Beans, Soy Beans, Soy Milk, White Beans, Rice Milk, Almond Milk

ACIDIFYING, DAIRY, Butter, Cheese, Cheese, Processed, Ice Cream, Ice Milk

ACIDIFYING, NUTS & BUTTERS, Cashews, Legumes, Peanuts, Peanut Butter, Pecans, Tahini, Walnuts

ACIDIFYING, ANIMAL PROTEIN, Bacon, Beef, Carp, Clams, Cod, Corned Beef, Fish, Haddock, Lamb, Lobster, Mussels, Organ Meats, Oyster, Pike, Pork, Rabbit, Salmon, Sardines, Sausage, Scallops, Shrimp, Scallops, Shellfish, Tuna, Turkey, Veal, Venison, ACIDIFYING, FATS & OILS, Avacado Oil, Butter, Canola Oil, Corn Oil, Hemp Seed Oil, Flax Oil, Lard, Olive Oil, Safflower Oil, Sesame Oil, Sunflower Oil

ACIDIFYING, SWEETENERS, Carob, Sugar, Corn Syrup

ACIDIFYING, ALCOHOL, Beer, Spirits, Hard Liquor, Wine

ACIDIFYING, OTHER FOODS, Catsup, Cocoa, Coffee, Vinegar, Mustard, Pepper, Soft Drinks

ACIDIFYING, DRUGS & CHEMICALS, Aspirin, Chemicals, Drugs, Medicinal, Drugs, Psychedelic, Pesticides, Herbicides, Tobacco

ACIDIFYING, JUNK FOOD, Coca-Cola: pH 2, Beer: pH 2.5, Coffee: pH 4

** These foods leave an alkaline ash but have an acidifying, effect on the body.

So prove it!

Where's the evidence that E.coli survive acidic environments, you may well ask. Really, a search on Google Scholar will provide plenty of examples. However, here are some to start with.

This example is interesting because most people eat meat, or vegetables that may be contaminated with bacteria from meat. It shows that E.coli can survive stomach acid and therefore populate the gut, from where, of course, they can get into the environment and up the urethra to your bladder, there to live in comfort. They might even build a home there...


The following one contains this:

"In humans, the normal stomach has a pH of 2, which is highly acidic. The acid environment kills most pathogens. However, if the pathogen is acid tolerant, the stomachdoes not produce enough acidity or the person is taking antacid tablets, the harmful organism can slip past the stomach acid barrier and cause disease. In humans, pathogenic E. coli can cause intestinal bleeding, severe diarrhea and kidney failure. "



And this one about 'extremeophiles' contains the following:

"Gastrointestinal pathogens and human health Other microbes, while not acidophiles, are studied because their acid-resistance systems allow them to survive the low pH in our own stomachs and cause disease. Two such microbes are Escherichia coli, a well-known gastrointestinal pathogen, and Helicobacter pylori, which causes stomach ulcers."


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