Cranberry Juice For Urinary Tract Infection
Specialist says grocery-store varieties aren’t strong enough for the job
THURSDAY, Feb. 25, 2016 — Contrary to popular belief, cranberry juice does not cure a urinary tract infection, a doctor says.
Many people drink cranberry juice in an attempt to ease their symptoms, but it will do nothing to help them, said Dr. Timothy Boone, vice dean of the Texas A& M Health Science Center College of Medicine, Houston campus.
“Cranberry juice, especially the juice concentrates you find at the grocery store, will not treat a UTI or bladder infection,” he said in a center news release.
“It can offer more hydration and possibly wash bacteria from your body more effectively, but the active ingredient in cranberry is long gone by the time it reaches your bladder,” Boone said.
Each year, more than 3 million Americans have a urinary tract infection — an infection in any part of the urinary system, kidney, bladder or urethra, according to the news release.
The active ingredient in cranberries — A-type proanthocyanidins — is effective against UTI-causing bacteria, but is found only in cranberry capsules, not in cranberry juice, Boone said.
“It takes an extremely large concentration of cranberry to prevent bacterial adhesion,” Boone said. “This amount of concentration is not found in the juices we drink. There’s a possibility it was stronger back in our grandparents’ day, but definitely not in modern times.”
Misconception: Drinking Buckets Of Cranberry Juice Can Cure And Even Prevent Bladder Infections
Actually: You may enjoy the taste but it wont cure and, probably, wont prevent recurrence.
This purported remedy is centuries old and there is a considerable amount of research investigating it. While some studies suggest that cranberry may reduce repeated infections in younger women, it is certainly not a treatment for an active case. The gold standard for treatment is antibiotics. Sometimes doctors just recommend rest and ibuprofen.
I was hoping it would work, said Dr. Manisha Juthani-Mehta, an infectious disease specialist at the Yale School of Medicine, and the lead author of a study published Thursday in the journal JAMA, which showed no reduction in urinary tract infections for female nursing home patients who took standardized, high-dose cranberry capsules the equivalent of 20 ounces of juice daily for a year.
Im not sure its worth spending money on, particularly for patients on a fixed income, she said.
In a strongly worded editorial also in JAMA, Dr. Lindsay E. Nicolle, an expert on urinary tract infections, or UTIs, at the University of Manitoba, concluded that the evidence is convincing that cranberry products should not be recommended as a medical intervention for the prevention of UTI. She added that clinicians should not be promoting cranberry use by suggesting that there is proven, or even possible, benefit.
She concluded, It is time to move on from cranberries.
Cranberry Juice And Utis: Myth Vs Science
UTIs are a common bacterial infection, especially among women.
In fact, 50% of women, compared with 12% of men, will develop a UTI in their lifetime. Whats more, up to 30% of young women have recurrent UTIs, which can significantly affect their quality of life (
In addition to medications like antibiotics, many people use natural remedies for UTI prevention and treatment.
Cranberry juice and cranberry juice supplements are perhaps the most popular natural treatments for UTIs.
Cranberries contain compounds such as phenolic acids and flavonoids, which may help treat and prevent UTIs.
These compounds may help (
- interfere with the ability of bacteria to stick to the lining of the urinary tract
- reduce inflammation
- modulate gut bacteria
Nevertheless, you may wonder whether cranberry juice is effective at preventing and treating UTIs.
Read Also: Prostate Cancer Spread To Bladder Neck
Cranberry Juice Fights Urinary Tract Infections Quickly
Study Shows Cranberry Juice Works Against Bacteria Within 8 Hours
Previous studies have suggested that the active compounds in cranberry juice are not destroyed by the digestive system after people drink them, but instead work to fight against bacteria, including E. coli. This latest study, presented at the national meeting of the American Chemical Society in Boston, affirms that and provides evidence of the medicinal value of cranberries.
The new research suggests that the beneficial substances in cranberry juice could reach the urinary tract and prevent bacterial adhesion within eight hours.
Researchers from the Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts grew strains of E. coli in urine collected from healthy people before and after they drank cranberry juice cocktail.
How Might It Work
Scientists used to think that cranberries protected against UTIs by making urine more acidic, which is less friendly to bacteria like Escherichia coli that are usually to blame.
But now, researchers have a different theory: that cranberries make it harder for infection-causing bacteria to stick to the urinary tract walls.
It could be that nutrients in cranberries change the bacteria so that they can’t stick to the urinary tract. Or it may be that cranberries create a slippery coating on the urinary tract walls that makes it hard for E. coli to get a good grip.
Recommended Reading: What Antibiotics Treat Uti And Bladder Infections
Does Cranberry Juice Help Treat Utis Myth Vs Science
If you get frequent urinary tract infections , youve probably been told to drink cranberry juice and that its effective at preventing and treating these uncomfortable infections.
But is cranberry juice truly helpful for people with UTIs? And does adding cranberry juice to your diet help reduce the risk of a UTI?
This article explains everything you need to know about cranberry juice and UTIs to help you separate the myths from the science.
What Is The Best Kind Of Cranberry Juice For An Uti
Top 10 Cranberry Juice Options for UTI Dynamic Health Cranberry Juice Concentrate, 16 oz liquid Concentrate $ 4.6 Only Natural Organic Cranberry Concentrate, 32-ounce Concentrate $$ 4.5 Lakewood PURE Cranberry Juice, 32-Ounce Bottles Ready-to-drink $$$$ 4.5 Welchs Juice Cocktail, Cranberry, 5.5-Ounce Cans
Also Check: Bladder Feels Full At Night
Apple Cider Vinegar And Cranberry Juice For Uti:
People suffering from Urinary Tract Infection can rely on Apple Cider Vinegar as a natural antibiotic. ACV is high on potassium, and other useful enzymes and minerals which can prevent bacteria from growing or multiplying. ACV also helps block inflammation and reduces bloating.
- Simply add 1 tablespoon ACV with cranberry juice and drink it.
- You may also add little lemon juice and honey
- Drink twice a day for a few days.
- When you have a UTI, you should drink plenty of water to flush the urinary tract of the bacteria.
Know What Youre Getting
Theres no harm in drinking cranberry juice regularly to ward off UTIs theres just no guarantee itll work. However, do make sure youre drinking 100% cranberry juice and not a cocktail, which is mostly grape juice, apple juice, and sugar.
Cranberry juice does pad your diet with extra calories. Even unsweetened, 100% cranberry juice contains 116 calories per cup. That might not seem like a lot, but if you add it without trimming an equal number of calories elsewhere, it could lead you to gain about a pound every month.
If you opt for cranberry supplements, know that the US Food and Drug Administration doesnt regulate them. That means you cant be sure how much active ingredient each dose contains.
You May Like: Does Hair Dye Cause Bladder Cancer
How Does Cranberry Juice Help Utis
Certain compounds found in cranberries can change the structure of certain bacteria, making it more difficult for them to stick to the walls of the urinary system and easier for the body to flush them out.
A review of 13 studies concluded that people who use cranberry products daily are 38% less likely to develop a UTI. Capsules seem to be more effective than supermarket juice drinks.4
It is also a liquid after all, and all liquids are helpful for flushing out a UTI.
May Help Ease Pms Symptoms And Prevent Osteoporosis
Cranberry juice is a decent source of magnesium, containing 4% of the DV in 1 cup .
This mineral which many people dont get enough of is essential for many body processes, including healthy bones and proper muscle function. A deficiency may contribute to muscle cramps .
Increasing your magnesium intake may help muscles contract more effectively, resulting in less pain. As such, this mineral is thought to help ease PMS symptoms, which may include cramps .
Whats more, magnesium is necessary for regulating bone density. Women are at an increased risk of osteoporosis or bone density loss later in life, especially after menopause when estrogens protective effects on bones decrease .
Thus, magnesium may help alleviate this condition.
During PMS, you may also experience anxiety, depression, lower back pain, and breast tenderness. One older review showed a significant decrease in these symptoms when women supplemented with magnesium .
Still, the amount of magnesium in this review was far higher than what youd get from drinking cranberry juice. As such, specific research on cranberry juice is needed.
While more human studies are necessary, cranberry juice may have several benefits for womens health. These include easing PMS symptoms, preventing osteoporosis, aiding postmenopausal health, and reducing signs of aging.
Also Check: How To Hold Your Bladder For A Long Time
Cranberry Juice For Prevention Of Uti
A Cochrane review of 10 trials with more than 1000 patients17 showed that good-quality randomized controlled trials in women found that cranberry juice decreased the number of symptomatic UTIs over a 12-month period, especially among women with recurrent UTIs. No such evidence was provided for the effectiveness of cranberry juice or cranberry-lingonberry juice in children.
In an earlier randomized controlled trial from Finland, respiratory tract bacterial composition and fecal fatty acid composition did not change significantly using cranberry juice in 342 children in day-care centres over a 3-month period.18 Unlike in other studies, the cranberry juice was well accepted by the children, which might suggest that its concentration might have been too low to affect them. It is also possible that colonic flora do not correlate well with the incidence of UTI.
In a recent double-blind randomized placebo-controlled trial in 7 Finnish hospitals, 255 children treated for UTI were given cranberry juice or placebo for 6 months. The investigators found no differences in timing between first recurrences of UTI , but UTI incidence per person-year at risk was 0.16 episodes lower in the cranberry group . The number of days on antibiotic therapy was much lower in children receiving cranberry . This suggests a potential for cranberry juice to reduce recurrent UTIs in children.16
May Help Prevent Utis In Some People
Some research suggests that cranberry juice and cranberry supplements may reduce the risk of UTIs in certain populations.
One review of 7 high quality studies that included 1,498 healthy women found that taking cranberry juice and cranberry supplements reduced the risk of UTI recurrence by 26% .
Another review concluded that cranberry products seem to prevent UTIs in women, but that they arent helpful for this purpose among people who are at an increased risk of contracting UTIs .
Findings from other studies have also suggested that cranberry products, including cranberry juice, may help prevent UTIs from coming back in a few different populations, including (
- women with a history of UTIs
- older adults in nursing homes
- otherwise healthy children
Some findings also suggest cranberry juice capsules may help reduce UTIs in women whove undergone gynecological surgeries during which a catheter was placed in their urethra to empty their bladder .
Its important to note that cranberry extract, which is different from cranberry juice, has more evidence supporting its ability to help prevent UTIs from recurring in certain populations.
This is because cranberry supplements are a more concentrated source of the active compounds thought to be helpful in UTI treatment.
Proanthocyanidins are a type of polyphenol compound that is naturally concentrated in cranberries.
Recommended Reading: Can Soda Cause Bladder Infection
Contraindications Interactions Adverse Effects
Cranberry has a record of safety, although specific long-term safety data are lacking. No significant herb-drug interactions have been reported. A single study23 found that cranberry may increase the absorption of vitamin B12 in patients who also are taking proton pump inhibitors and that it may allow the kidneys to metabolize weakly alkaline drugs more rapidly, thus reducing their effectiveness. A small study24 found a significant rise in urinary oxalate levels, prompting a caution that regular use of cranberry may increase the risk of kidney stone formation in patients with a history of oxalate calculi.
Juicing For Uti Essentials: Pineapple
Pineapple is a sweet and juicy ingredient that does a great job keeping you hydrated, which is essential when youre trying to beat a UTI. But it does even more than simple hydration you see, pineapple is packed with an enzyme called bromelain which is well-known for its role in aiding digestion but less known for the part it plays in decreasing inflammation and fighting infection.
Plus, pineapple juice recipes are some of the best things around.
Recommended Reading: How To Stop A Leaky Bladder Without Surgery
Is Cranberry Juice Good For Managing Uti Symptoms
Additionally, cranberry juice is often claimed to be good for improving urinary tract infection symptoms. While some data shows that cranberry juice might , it is very limited and cannot be deemed conclusive.8 Nonetheless, it contains antioxidants that are antibacterial and anti-inflammatory,9 which could help. However, we would caveat this with two words of warning:
If you or someone you know are experiencing leaks as part of an infection, we recommend using continence products. iD has a large range of dermatologically tested, discreet and comfortable solutions to suit every individuals needs.
Cranberry For Treatment Of Uti
Randomized trials of cranberry products for the treatment of UTI have not been performed yet. However, in one uncontrolled study, more than 50% of patients had a positive clinical response after drinking 450 mL of cranberry juice daily for 3 weeks.21 Another study22 found that 2 to 3 glasses of cranberry juice a day reduced white cell counts to 500 per mm3 or less in children with neuropathic bladders, although urine cultures continued to be positive for E coli.
Also Check: How To Know If Cat Has Bladder Infection
Juice Has More Sugar Than Cranberry Supplements
The American Heart Association recommends that women and men have no more than 25 and 36 grams of added sugar per day, respectively. While natural sugars are naturally found in foods , added sugars are added during processing, cooking, or preparation . Think of it as a budget you can spend your grams of added sugar however youd like, but its best to stay under the recommended daily limit for your gender.
An eight-ounce serving of cranberry juice cocktail contains a total of 25 grams of sugar and about 23 grams of that is added sugar. Nearly equivalent to the sugar content in eight ounces of soda, one serving of cranberry juice cocktail would spend most of your added sugar budget.
Of course, you could drink unsweetened cranberry juice, but its mouth-puckering, tart flavor makes it unpleasant for most people to drink every day.
Also Check: Why Can I Not Control My Bladder
Is One Type Of Cranberry Juice Better Than Another For Uti
No one type of cranberry juice is the best for UTI prevention, but it is important to be mindful of the ingredients list.
Pure cranberry juice is extremely bitter and practically undrinkable, so the kind you buy at the store is usually diluted quite a bit. And the more pure your cranberry juice, the more likely you are to get a health benefit.
Be mindful of the sugar content too. Most store-bought cranberry juices contain high amounts of added sugars, and the FDA recommends a maximum of about 50 grams of added sugars per day.
In other words, you wont be doing your body any favors by chugging three glasses of sweetened cranberry juice cocktail each night .
Some drug stores also sell cranberry supplements or cranberry capsules for UTI prevention, but these arent typically regulated by the FDA, so youll have to vet them yourself.
Recommended Reading: How To Get Rid Of A Bladder Infection Without Antibiotics
How Much Cranberry Juice Do You Need To Help Prevent Or Treat A Uti
Since the jury is out on the efficacy of cranberry for this purpose, there is no set recommendation for how much cranberry juice to drink to prevent UTIs.
One study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that drinking eight ounces of cranberry beverage each day helped lower the recurrence of UTIs in women. But that study was sponsored by a cranberry juice company.
So, as you can imagine, thats a potential conflict of interest. Take expert recommendations with a grain of salt here since we dont have clear data to support a consensus on how much cranberry juice to drink to prevent or treat UTIs.
Only Natural Organic Cranberry Concentrate
Only Natural Organic Cranberry Concentrate was specifically formulate to assist in treating UTI, which is why its a favorite among buyers. This organic juice concentrate boasts all natural ingredients with no added preservatives or sweeteners.
The concentrate is very flavorful, making a little go a long way. For individuals who want to enjoy more than one serving in a day, this can be very economical. The bottle that contains the concentrate also features a very secure cap which helps keep it fresh and prevents the aroma from seeping out.
Despite being organic and natural, the concentrate does have some sweetness to it. For individuals who want to enjoy the actual flavor of cranberry, this excessive sweetness can be off-putting, even if the product claims not to have added sweeteners.
Don’t Miss: What To Do For A Bladder Infection At Home