Whether it is a cold glass of cranberry juice, a handful of dried cranberries or a dish of cranberry sauce to pass at your family dinner, cranberries pop up often in our lives. We know that this burgundy-hued fruit is nutritious. However, many of us don’t know much about where cranberry food products and cranberry extracts come from. So we spoke with Dan Souza, the Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Naturex-DBS in Sangamore, Massachusetts to learn some of the most interesting facts about cranberries.
Interesting Facts About Cranberries
First, Dan tells us how the cranberry flower inspired the origins of the word “cranberry.” Then, he explains how cranberries grow and the harvesting process. Next, he describes how Naturex-DBS turns cranberries into a high-potency cranberry extract. Finally, he offers some information about how to choose the highest-quality cranberry supplements.
1. Cranberry plants produce beautiful flowers.
When cranberry vines grow, they produce a beautiful white flower. This flower looks like bird’s head with a small circle and a long beak, looking very much like a crane. Dan told us that because of their crane-like appearance; the berries were once called “crane-berries.” However, this name changed over time due to the Boston accent, becoming “cranberries.”
2. Cranberries grow in bogs and love sand.
Cranberries grow in a wetland area known as a bog. Dan described the picturesque bog with these descriptive details. "Picture an open-air field that is next to a pond or another body of water. There are trenches filled with water interspersed in the area to allow water to move through the areas of cranberry growth."
Cranberries were first discovered growing in sand dune areas. The wind blew sand over the cranberry vines covering them like a blanket and protecting them from ultra-cold weather conditions. The sand both protected and rejuvenated the cranberry vines.
Cranberry growers still use sand today to optimize growth. When the bog freezes over, the farmers drive a truck right over the ice and spread sand on top of the ice to spur new cranberry growth.
3. The cranberry harvest happens just once a year.
The plants come out of dormancy in April, and the vines produce the crane-like flower. This flower then turns into white and green fruit in the summer months, and as the fruit starts to get less sun in the fall, it takes on a pink hue. Finally, as the cold air hits the berries in September, the berries turn the deep red color we know and love so well, and they are ready to be harvested.
4. Cranberries are perennial.
Cranberries grow on hardy vines that last many years. Some of the cranberries sourced by Naturex-DBS grow on vines that are 130 years old! The cranberry vines look like a plate of spaghetti. They curl around one another in a circular pattern. These perennial vines never grow upwards, preferring to stay close to the ground.
5. Cranberry extract can be used for dietary supplements.
One of the most interesting facts about cranberries is that they contain powerful compounds called proanthocyanadins (PACs) that can be used in dietary supplements. Naturex-DBS produces the cranberry extract powder used by Theralogix.
The process starts with whole fruit extract that includes the juice, skins, flesh, and cranberry seeds. This extract is concentrated and then dried.
Dan says, “We like to use the whole fruit since this is what Mother Nature intended. We have tools that prove we have the right species for optimum effectiveness. Our extract has a unique phytochemical fingerprint, and we have a tool called ID Pack that confirms the species as cranberry. The science says that by using this whole fruit and juice extract, you get better results. We also do clinical trials to be sure it works. We have a health claim on it, and Theralogix goes a step further and has a third-party organization that tests and certifies the final product.”
6. Adulteration can be a problem with some cranberry extracts.
Dan states that adulteration can be a big problem in the cranberry (botanical) extract industry worldwide.
As an informed consumer, you want to do everything you can to make sure you are buying a safe, effective cranberry supplement. Naturex-DBS supplies a traceable, effective cranberry extract you can rely on.
When buying a cranberry supplement, choose a brand that puts traceability, testing, and certification ahead of all else.
What is traceability?
Traceability is defined as the completeness of information available at every step of the supply chain. Whether it’s to keep raw material sources confidential from competitors or hide a less-than-quality raw material from the consumer, supply chain traceability is often kept behind closed doors.
Lack of traceability can be a problem for botanical supplements. This is not a problem for Naturex.
Naturex-DBS can integrate the supply chain from bog to finished product. Like Theralogix, Naturex-DBS believes that traceability is key to providing customers with quality products they can trust.
Naturex-DBS tests its product and delivers ingredients you can trust.
Naturex-DBS tests the raw cranberry materials' effectiveness, the semi-finished product, the trial blend, and then the final blend. They supply a certificate of analysis and they test every batch at a third party to be sure it delivers bioactivity to provide the desired effects.
They also do clinical trials to be sure that their cranberry extract works, and they have a health claim on it as well. Theralogix also has a third-party analysis to verify the product.
Third-party testing and certification
Third-party testing is also very important for dietary supplements, especially botanicals such as cranberry. There are third-party testing and certification agencies like USP and NSF International who work with companies to certify that products contain what they say they do and that they are free from contaminants.
Testing and certification can help you to feel more confident in the safety and reliability of your supplements.
Since its founding in 2003, Theralogix has participated in the NSF Dietary Supplements Certification Program. Not only does NSF International test Theralogix supplements, but it also conducts GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices) audits of our manufacturing plant twice a year.
Participation in the NSF program also guarantees that only high quality ingredients from NSF-approved suppliers go into your supplements.
Thanks to Dan Souza from Naturex-DBS for sharing these fascinating facts about cranberry.
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