Monday, July 23, 2012

Cranberry and UTI

Not just for Thanksgiving...

Many expectant mothers struggle with frequent urinary tract infections. Typically the medical community has dealt with this problem in treatment mode. But, how much better if we can prevent it?
Cranberry is a folk remedy that has been used for years to relieve UTI symptoms. Cranberry was originally thought to work by acidifying the urine, but its effects are now known to be due to its interference with the attachment of bacteria to uroepithelial cells. In fact, A-type proanthocyanidins were identified in cranberry in 1989 as compounds with the potential to inhibit the adherence of P-fimbriated Escherichia coli to the urogenital mucosa.
Since e-coli is the most common bacteria implicated in UTI (urinary tract infections), it is worth considering this natural remedy. It is harmless and very possibly helpful so if you are prone to these nasty and painful infections, talk to your doctor about this.

A recent 6 month study including 1494 participants showed that Cranberry-containing products may protect against UTIs. The juice showed the greatest promise but some people may not be able to consume large amounts of juice. It is also possible that the reason is because of the increase in water consumption (in the juice). It could also be something contained in the juice itself. Either way - juice or capsules with water or other fluids - cranberry is looking good even in meta-analysis studies.

Clinical implications from the study reported by Medscape.

  • Use of cranberry products is associated with a reduction in the risk for recurrent UTIs.
  • The benefits of cranberry products for UTI prevention are greater in women with recurrent UTI, female populations, children, those who drink cranberry juice, and those who use the products more than twice daily.
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