Do cranberries help prevent urinary tract infections?
Cranberries and UTI’s. UTI’s and cranberries.
This famous couple is perhaps the best known combo in the alternative remedies world. But the question remains: do cranberries really help prevent urinary tract infections?
New Research on Cranberries
Until now, research has examined the use of cranberries in preventing urinary tract infections but study sizes have been too small to provide a definitive answer. But a new study on cranberries found that cranberry juice—given to college-aged women who just recovered from a bladder infection—did not prevent urinary tract infections from coming back. (Learn about more than cranberries: Blueberries Cut High Blood Pressure Risk)
Drinking cranberry juice is no better than placebo for preventing the recurrence of urinary tract infections (UTIs), according to researchers at the University of Michigan. The study on cranberries was conducted among college-aged women, since they have the highest incidence of UTIs annually. It was supported by The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) and published in Clinical Infectious Diseases.
Cranberries or Placebo Compared in Study
Participants (319 women with an average age of 21 years) had symptoms of an acute UTI. They were randomly assigned to drink either 8 ounces of cranberry juice cocktail (27 percent cranberry juice) or non-cranberry juice (placebo) twice a day for 6 months. Upon enrollment in the study, and at 3- and 6-month visits, participants provided urine specimens for analysis and completed questionnaires regarding symptoms of UTIs and other conditions, behavioral and risk factors associated with UTIs, diet, and medical history.
Although the recurrence rate of UTIs among participants was lower than the researchers expected (16.9 percent instead of 30 percent), results of the study showed that drinking 8 ounces of cranberry juice cocktail twice a day offered no better protection against the risk of recurring UTIs compared with placebo. Contrary to the researchers’ expectations, the cranberry group had a slightly higher recurrence rate (19 percent vs. 15 percent) of UTIs.
Different Results from Previous Cranberries Research
The findings from this study differ from previous studies in similar populations in which cranberry juice was shown to significantly reduce the recurrences of UTIs.
But Cranberries Not Just About UTI’s
So is it time to toss out those cranberries?
Not so fast. While cranberries and UTI’s might be having relationship problems, cranberries are still a nutritious food with valuable health benefits.
Historically, cranberry fruits and leaves were used for a variety of problems, such as wounds, diarrhea, diabetes, stomach ailments, and liver problems. Not only are cranberries used to produce beverages and many other food products, cranberries also appear in dietary supplements in the form of extracts, capsules, or tablets.
Discover more about cranberries in Cranberry – Know What Herbs Do What
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Barbosa-Cesnik C, Brown MB, Buxton M, et al. “Cranberry juice fails to prevent recurrent urinary tract infection: results from a randomized placebo-controlled trial”. Clinical Infectious Diseases. 2011;52(1):23–30.
Source: The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM)