When you think about how to treat a urinary tract infection (UTI), you may think about antibiotics, drinking lots of water, or taking a cranberry supplement. But did you know there’s actually an effective, natural treatment for UTIs with minimal side effects that’s available over the counter?

In this article, we’re going to talk about D-mannose—the best way to prevent and treat urinary tract infections in women (and men!) that you’ve never heard of. Let’s get to it!

What Is D-Mannose?

D-mannose is a type of sugar that can be converted into and from glucose as a nutrient for vital metabolic processes. In recent years, D-mannose products have been of interest to researchers, doctors, and consumers alike for their potential benefit in treating UTIs and safeguarding urinary tract health.

D-mannose supplementation may do more than just help with UTIs. When D-mannose converts to glucose, it becomes a very attractive prebiotic that can be stored within the epithelial cells of the vaginal flora. This means that D-Mannose may not only help with UTIs but also with other common vaginal infections like bacterial vaginosis.

Individuals with insulin sensitivity may be hesitant to try a simple sugar product, but D-mannose actually acts differently on blood glucose levels and insulin response than other sugars like glucose. Because it converts into glucose before being absorbed into the body, D-mannose does not impact blood sugar levels as quickly as glucose does.

Where Does D-Mannose Come From?

D-mannose can be found naturally within the body and in fibrous foods such as: (1)

  • Ground coffee beans (21.2%)
  • Baker’s yeast (16.0%)
  • Cranberries (0.04–0.14%)
  • Apples (0.04–0.08%)

The percentages next to the food indicate how much of its weight is in D-mannose. While you might think drinking more coffee will increase your body’s levels of D-mannose, keep reading before you down another cup of morning coffee. These fibrous foods are oligosaccharides, carbohydrates with many monosaccharides combined together, that require digestion to reap the benefits. In order to eliminate UTIs, you would actually need to consume around 80 coffee beans!

Luckily, scientists are learning ways to extract the D-mannose from these food items so we can consume D-mannose products in a more practical and effective way and improve this pesky health condition.

How Is D-Mannose Made?

Today, scientists are extracting D-mannose powder from common sources so that individuals can reap the benefits by taking oral D-mannose as a food supplement to reduce recurrent infections. There are three primary methods by which scientists are extracting D-mannose for urinary tract infection prevention.

Method 1: Extraction From Plants

Scientists can pull D-mannose molecules from fruits and plants in two steps. First, they use hydrolysis to break chemical bonds in the presence of water. These bonds can be broken using heat, acid, microbes, or enzymes.

Next, they use precipitation to condense the water from the first step. Then, ethanol is added to combine D-mannose molecules together.

Method 2: Production Through Enzymes

D-mannose can also be produced by using enzymes to convert other simple sugars such as D-glucose or D-fructose into D-mannose. In this method, naturally occurring enzymes that create D-mannose would be used to create this reaction in a controlled setting.

Method 3: Chemical Reactions

Scientists can also use chemical reagents to make D-mannose from other products. This method is highly technical and may require temperature and other conditions to be strictly controlled.

Now that you know what D-mannose is, where it comes from, and how it is made, let’s learn what UTIs are and how D-mannose and how they can have beneficial effects on your urinary tract health.

Learn more about D-mannose + cranberry powder

Our Happy V® D-Mannose + Cranberry was created for anyone experiencing urinary tract symptoms. Eliminate the pain, burning sensation, constant need to urinate and vaginal irritation with D-mannose supplementation from Happy V.

What Is a UTI?

In the United States, UTIs are the third most common vaginal infection; half of all women will experience at least one in their lifetime, with about 25% of those individuals experiencing recurrent infections. (2,3)

UTIs are a bacterial infection occurring in any part of the urinary tract including the kidneys, bladder, and urethra. UTIs that aren’t treated may spread from the urethra into the bladder or kidneys and cause a bladder infection or kidney infection, which can lead to kidney failure or even death in severe cases. In many cases, urinary tract infections occur when bacteria from the gastrointestinal tract, such as E. coli, K. pneumoniae, and E. faecalis, accidentally spread to the urinary tract. Risk factors for UTIs include:

  • Use of a urinary catheter
  • Insufficient voiding, meaning all urine is not passed when using the bathroom
  • Poor personal hygiene
  • Wiping from back to front instead of front to back
  • Having kidney stones
  • Certain types of contraception, especially barrier methods like condoms or diaphragms (4)
  • Pregnancy
  • Menopause
  • Surgery
  • A suppressed immune system
  • Use of spermicides, tampons, or a menstrual cup
  • Antibiotic use
  • Sexual activity

Some items on this list put you at a higher risk than others. In general, you’re most likely to get a UTI if you:

  • Are sexually active with new or multiple partners. Each time you have sex, you expose your vaginal microbiome to your partner’s bacteria. The more partners you have, the more unique bacteria you introduce to your body, which can disrupt your body’s natural bacterial balance and cause a UTI.
  • Use spermicides for contraception. Spermicides are chemical agents that kill sperm to prevent you from getting pregnant. Unfortunately, using chemical-laden products down there may disrupt your vaginal pH, making it easier for harmful bacteria to grow.
  • Have previously had a UTI. If you’ve had a UTI previously, your body may still contain some dormant E. coli bacteria. Unfortunately, certain circumstances can cause this bacteria to become reactivated and trigger a new UTI. One study found that Gardnerella, the bacteria responsible for bacterial vaginosis, may reactivate dominant E. coli. (5)
Women are more likely to get UTIs than men

Women are more likely to get UTIs than men, in part because of their urinary anatomy. It is easier for bacteria to spread to a woman’s urethra than to a man’s, which makes it easier to develop a UTI.

Types of UTIs

UTIs are classified by how easy they are to treat. Uncomplicated UTIs are easily treatable. They may require a short course of antibiotics to resolve, or they may dissipate on their own after several days.

Complicated UTIs are resistant to antibiotics. An individual might experience complicated UTIs if they have an abnormality within their urinary tract or have other underlying urinary tract conditions. Because complicated UTIs are not responsive to antibiotics, individuals must adapt their lifestyle to try and prevent UTIs from developing. In some cases, healthcare providers may recommend antibiotics for prevention of UTIs, even when no symptoms are present.

Common UTI Symptoms

UTI symptoms range from annoying to downright painful. Some common clinical symptoms include:

  • An urge to urinate, even after you just emptied your bladder
  • A burning sensation while urinating
  • Bloody urine
  • Pain in the lower abdomen or low back
  • Cloudy or foul-smelling urine

D-Mannose as UTI Treatment

Now that you understand what D-mannose is and what UTIs are, how does D-mannose prevent and relieve UTIs? Let’s start by walking you through what happens biologically when you get a UTI.

Around 90% of UTIs are caused by E. coli bacteria. (6) Once they arrive in the urinary tract, these bacteria group together and create a biofilm. A biofilm is an undesirable group of one or more microorganisms that grow on various surfaces of the body. For instance, plaque accumulation on your teeth is an example of a biofilm.

E. coli create this biofilm spreading out their fimbriae, a hook-like part of their anatomy that helps them latch onto the urinary tract walls. Once attached, other bacteria can more easily conglomerate and form the biofilm on the bladder wall.

Clinical studies suggest that D-mannose inhibits the binding of harmful bacteria like E. coli to the urinary tract walls. In one in vitro study, researchers discovered that the D-mannose mechanism of action might attract the bacteria’s attention, causing the fimbriae of the E. coli bacteria to bind to the D-mannose molecule instead of the uroepithelial cells on the urinary tract walls. (7) This prevents a UTI from developing because the E. coli bacteria are much more easily flushed from the urinary tract when urinating if they are not attached to the urinary tract walls.

With fewer bacteria in the bladder and urinary tract system, the risk of recurring UTIs is dramatically decreased.

How long does D-Mannose take to work?

Research on urinary tract infections in women caused by E. coli showed positive results within 24 hours of taking D-mannose. Although UTI symptoms may start to alleviate within 24 hours, it may take 2–3 days for the unwanted bacteria to go away completely.

However, research on D-mannose for UTIs is ongoing, and additional studies will need to be performed to understand the best D-mannose doses and how long it may take for D-mannose to eliminate infections in women.

The Benefits of D-Mannose Supplements

When appropriately paired with synergistic ingredients, D-mannose can pack an even more powerful punch. For instance, D-mannose and cranberry can work effectively together to flush out E. coli and other UTI-causing bacteria through their combined mechanism of action. Cranberry minimizes E. coli’s ability to use its fimbriae to stick to the vaginal or urinary tract lining, while D-mannose attracts E. coli and helps void it from the body.

If you don’t experience UTIs, D-mannose may help you ward off other common infections, including bacterial vaginosis. When taken as a prebiotic, D-mannose can keep pathogenic bacteria at bay. Prebiotics are the fuel that probiotics need to create lactic acid, hydrogen peroxide, and bacteriocins. These natural defenses optimize the body’s pH levels while reducing harmful bacteria activity. This secondary outcome of taking D-mannose supplements can help prevent the most common types of vaginal infections.

D-Mannose + Cranberry Powder
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D-Mannose + Cranberry Powder

Our Happy V® D-Mannose + Cranberry was created for anyone who is experiencing symptoms related to Urinary Tract Infections. Eliminate the pain, burning sensation, constant need to urinate and vaginal irritation.

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Happy V Cranberry Urinary Defense utilizes the only patented D-mannose on the market: Uclear®. Our D-mannose products are manufactured in our Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-registered facility and are regulated substances. It is received, tested, and manufactured in OUR cGMP, an FDA-registered facility in Miramar, Florida.

Is D-Mannose a Safe Alternative to Antibiotics?

Traditionally, UTIs have been treated with antibiotics. So you may be wondering what the benefits may be of choosing a natural UTI treatment option like D-mannose over traditional treatment prescribed by healthcare professionals.

The problem with antibiotics is that they don’t selectively target bacteria. As we’ve discussed, your body contains both good and bad, infection-causing bacteria. High levels of good bacteria like lactobacillus help keep bad bacteria in check. But antibiotics reduce your body’s stores of both good and bad bacteria, meaning they might eliminate your infection while leaving your more susceptible to new ones.

Long-term antibiotic use is also associated with an increased likelihood of infections caused by antibiotic-resistant bacteria, which can result in complicated UTIs.

Natural solutions like D-mannose, full-spectrum cranberry, and probiotics present a natural way of addressing UTIs and other vaginal issues without killing off all the good bacteria. That’s why if you choose to take antibiotics, we recommend supplementing them with these natural solutions to nourish your body’s stores of lactobacillus.

Research investigating the effectiveness and safety of D-mannose compared with antibiotics is ongoing, but early results show promising evidence of D-mannose’s effectiveness for UTIs.

One of the most referenced studies regarding the effectiveness of D-mannose for treating UTI symptoms is from 2013. (8) In this study, 308 women with UTIs were split into three groups: group 1 of 103 women received 50 milligrams of nitrofurantoin, group 2 of 103 women received 2 grams of D-mannose, and group 3 of 102 women received a placebo. The study found that the D-mannose worked just as well as nitrofurantoin, a commonly prescribed antibiotic, at preventing UTIs over six months.

In another study from 2014, D-mannose was compared to the commonly prescribed antibiotics trimethoprim and sulfamethoxazole to determine its effectiveness in treating and preventing frequent urinary tract infections. (9) This study of 60 women found that D-mannose reduced UTI symptoms in women with an active infection. Additionally, D-mannose was found to be more effective than the antibiotic controls at preventing additional infections.

Although these results are promising, further research and clinical trials must be conducted to confirm D-mannose’s efficacy as an alternative to antibiotics and investigate whether it should be taken alongside antibiotic treatments for further beneficial effects.

D-Mannose Side Effects

D-Mannose is generally well tolerated by adults and children when consumed orally. Additionally, there have been no safety or adverse-effect studies for women who are breastfeeding, pregnant, or trying to become pregnant. D-mannose is also safe for individuals with diabetes.

While side effects to D-mannose are rare, they may include:

  • Diarrhea or loose stools
  • Bloating
  • Kidney damage if taken in extremely high doses. However, this needs to be investigated further, as recurring UTIs and high antibiotic use have been linked to kidney damage, and this side effect may indicate correlation rather than causation.

Although D-mannose is safe, you may want to consult your healthcare professional before adding any supplements to your diet. They may help you understand how D-Mannose may interact with other medications and supplements you may be taking.

FDA Disclaimer: *These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

Use D-Mannose To Treat UTIs, Naturally

As a cornerstone ingredient in the Happy V portfolio of products and one of the most sought-after supplements for addressing UTIs’ symptoms and complications, D-Mannose is something we need to understand so we can take advantage of its full potential.

Here at Happy V, we do all we can to help you prevent and combat vaginal infections. That’s why we combined cranberry and D-mannose in our Happy V Cranberry Urinary Defense powder to address UTIs with two separate mechanisms.

UTIs shouldn’t be a big deal. Keep them under control with support from Happy V.