Urinary tract infections or UTIs account for nearly 8 million doctor visits each year. The incidences of women suffering from UTIs are more than that in men mainly due to their shorter urethras (the tube between the genitals and the urinary bladder). Women suffering from frequent urine infections tend to experience various debilitating symptoms including cystitis which is characterized by pain in the lower back and stomach region, urgency to urinate (but not producing any urine) as well as burning and painful sensation during urination. Naturally, most sufferers want to know if there are any preventive remedies for UTI, especially natural remedies that do not have any harmful side effects. Furthermore, most patients want to determine if there is any truth behind the use of cranberry juice for urine infections prevention. In this guide, we will discuss if cranberry juice, its extracts and supplements are indeed beneficial to sufferers of frequent urine infections.
First, a few basics.
What is cranberry? What are its health benefits?
Cranberry is a fruit yielded by small/dwarf shrubs of the species Vaccinium Macrocarpon. It is red acid berry that is often used in cooking. Cranberry sauce, cranberry stuffing and dried cranberry recipes are popular delicacies in North America during the Holiday Season. But the fruit is perhaps best known for its many health benefits. The fact that, like all other berries it is packed with antioxidants makes it useful in anti aging therapies. Its use as a folk remedy to treat and prevent urine and bladder infections is also well known. In fact: Cranberry juice for urine infections prevention is a considered as one of the best, most natural, safe and effective remedies.
Other health benefits of cranberries are:
- To prevent scurvy- The Cranberry fruit is extremely high in Vitamin C and hence can prevent scurvy.
- Rich Fiber source- The cranberry is an excellent source of fiber which is known to benefit heart health, lower hypertension and reduce constipation etc.
- Cancer fighting compounds- According to experts, cranberries are a rich source of many vitamins including vitamins E and K which have powerful anti inflammatory and anti cancer properties.
What does research say about use of cranberry in treating and preventing UTIs?
Studies have shown that cranberry juice for urine infections prevention is a natural and simple treatment that has no known side effects, no known food or medicine interactions, nor any known overdose effects. It is even considered safe for women in pregnancy and lactation.
Several double blind studies have proven the efficacy of cranberry juice and supplements for preventing UTI. In one study consisting of 153 subjects, 16 fluid ounces of store brought cranberry juice each day produced excellent results in 73% of the subjects taking it. When the users stopped taking the juice, 61% had a recurring urine infection.
Action of cranberry juice for urine infections
Experts believe that the infection fighting action of cranberry juice that helps prevent and treat urine infections is owing to the antibacterial effects of Hippuric acid contained in the berries. This acid must however be highly concentrated in the urine and hence it is essential that one drinks at least one quart of cranberry juice for urine infections prevention in a single sitting. Additionally, cranberry juice also contains proanthocyanidins (PAC) which further reduce the adhesion of (E.coli) bacteria to the bladder walls. However, to bring this action, one needs to take at least 36 mg of PAC. In fact; a higher dosage of 72mg is even more effective in preventing the adhesion of bacteria to the walls of the urinary tract.
Are dehydrated cranberries and cranberry extracts/supplements as effective as cranberry juice for urine infection prevention?
Yes, according to many experts, even supplements and extracts of cranberry sourced from reputed vendors can interfere with the adherence of E.Coli bacterium to the walls of the urinary tract. This prevents infections and also marshals the body’s natural mechanism to fight existing bacteria. Talk to your doctor regarding supplementation and dosage of cranberry supplements and whether they are right for you.
Several studies have established that cranberry juice has many health benefits and one of them is that of supporting urinary tract health. More than 90% of UTIs can be attributed to E.coli bacterium. Research has proven beyond doubts that the compounds contained in cranberry can help prevent adhesion of this bacteria to the walls of the urinary tract.
Many women suffer from UTIs frequently and often become immune to antibiotics used for treating them. Furthermore, antibiotics also kill the good bacteria present in the gut reducing the body’s natural immunity. It is no wonder that more and more doctors are encouraging the use of Cranberry juice for urine infections prevention.