Sudee's Arthur, relaxing in San Francisco



Cranberries go to the dogs ... and cats

By DUNSTAN PRIAL, Standard-Times staff writer

The human health benefits of cranberries have been recognized by medical science for decades.
Now the cranberry industry hopes the nation's millions of pet owners will apply the same concept to their beloved cats and dogs.
A study to be released today by UMass Dartmouth's Center for Business Research has identified the $14 billion-a-year pet food industry as a potentially wide-open market for the slumping cranberry.
"As everybody knows, there's been a cranberry surplus for some time. The idea of this study was to identify new markets," said Nora Ganim Barnes, a UMass Dartmouth marketing professor who oversaw the study.
Attempts to market cranberries to young people on college campuses has met with lukewarm results, according to Ms. Barnes.
But then Jeff LaFleur, executive director of the Cape Cod Cranberry Growers Association, recalled that some high-end pet food manufacturers use cranberries in their products and market their use as a health benefit.
That got Ms. Barnes and her team of researchers thinking.
They set to work identifying as many pet food manufacturers as they could, coming up with a list of 93. They were able to contact 42 for extensive interviews regarding the use of cranberries.
The good news, according to Ms. Barnes, is that the UMass Dartmouth study has determined that 38 of the 93 pet food makers are using cranberries in their products.
"That's better than one-third," she said.
The bad news is that the three largest pet food manufacturers -- Nestle, Proctor & Gamble and Hill's -- which account for about two-thirds of the overall market, are not using cranberries, according to Ms. Barnes.
"They want scientific evidence that cranberries would offer health benefits to animals," she said.
Evidence exists of the cranberry's benefits to humans, but not yet for animals, she added.
The cranberry industry has promoted the fruit to humans as an antidote for helping prevent urinary tract infections, said Mr. LaFleur of the Cranberry Growers Association.
"Now we're hoping the leap has been made to pets," he said. "Certainly, one could make the connection that if cranberries help humans, it could help pets, as well. When you look at the size of that market, it's got amazing potential. It's very exciting."
Mr. LaFleur noted that the American Animal Hospital Association has for years encouraged pet owners to add an ounce or two of cranberry juice to their pets' meals as a precautionary measure against urinary tract infections.
So it stands to reason, he said, that some manufacturers of premium pet foods have taken the initiative and added the berries to their products.
None of this comes as news to Patrick Renaghan, manager of Denise's Pet Care Center in Mattapoisett.
Customers regularly request a high-end brand, Wellness Pet Foods, which includes cranberries in its ingredients, according to Mr. Renaghan.
Cranberries, he said, "contribute to a fully well-rounded diet. They can help with urinary tract infections and they are high in anti-oxidants. They're good for the overall health of your pet."
The industry, Mr. LaFleur added, should use the UMass Dartmouth study to aggressively pursue a strategy that encourages the wider use of cranberries in pet food.
"It's definitely something the industry needs to look into a lot closer," he said.  



Cranberry juice may help prevent gum disease

New research presented at a recent symposium suggests that cranberry juice may help prevent certain oral health problems, including diseases of the gums and teeth.

Dr. Hyun Koo from the University of Rochester examined cranberry juice's ability to prevent Streptococcus mutans bacteria from sticking to teeth. If the bacteria cannot adhere, then they cannot develop the buildup of dental plaque that covers the teeth and begins to cause cavities and even gum disease. Dr. Koo presented his research at the Cranberry Institute's Second Biennial Cranberry Health Research Symposium, held in October in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. Prominent health experts gathered from North America to present new findings on cranberries' role in preventing a number of diseases and infections.

In Dr. Koo's in vitro study, two daily doses of a beverage containing 25 percent cranberry juice inhibited bacteria binding and further accumulation to an artificial tooth surface by 67 to 85 percent. As new cranberry oral health products such as dental floss or toothpaste, already on the market, become more widely available, people around the country will be able to apply this research to their daily routines for a healthier smile.

The symposium also offered a glimpse into the research studies funded by a landmark $2.6 million federal initiative to explore cranberries' health effects. The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) at the National Institutes of Health is funding nine cranberry studies, primarily researching the unique activity of cranberry in preventing the adhesion of certain disease-causing bacteria to cells and tissues in our bodies. While much of this program focuses on the well-known effect of cranberry in helping prevent urinary tract infections (UTIs), the NCCAM grants will also fund additional research by Dr. Koo on cranberries' bacteria- blocking mechanism at work in maintaining oral health. Other recent findings suggest a similar effect on the bacteria that cause most stomach ulcers.

Much of the research presented at the cranberry health symposium concentrated on more deeply understanding the effect on UTIs. A new study by Dr. Amy Howell of Rutgers University and Dr. Kalpana Gupta of Yale University suggests a dose-dependent response. In this study, drinking eight ounces of cranberry juice more than doubled the benefit from drinking only four ounces.

Other recent research has investigated the naturally high levels of antioxidants in cranberries, one benefit of which may be to help protect the heart from cardiovascular disease. A limited study by Dr. Ted Wilson of Winona State University demonstrated a decrease in total blood cholesterol when low-calorie cranberry juice was consumed. Another study by Dr. Joseph Vinson of the University of Scranton, examining only patients with high cholesterol, observed an increase in high density lipoprotein (HDL, or the "good" cholesterol) using cranberry juice cocktail.

Additional research points to a potential link between cranberries and protection against brain cell damage during a stroke. A preliminary rat cell tissue study, led by principal investigator Dr. Catherine Neto at the University of Massachusetts- Dartmouth, suggests that cranberry may reduce the severity of a stroke via an antioxidant mechanism during the early stages of stroke, the point at which the most damage occurs.

Lastly, cranberries' antioxidant profile may also help prevent certain cancers. While data is preliminary, researchers are interested in cranberries' role in inhibiting growth of oral, prostate, colon, breast, cervical, lung and leukemia cancer cells.

http://www.cranberr yinstitute. org/






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