New study claims, consuming cranberry products may be a low risk, cheap and effective way to prevent recurrent urinary tract infections (UTIs). Cranberries are a good source of vitamin C, fiber and vitamin E.
UTIs are caused by microbes such as bacteria overcoming the body’s defenses in the urinary tract. They can affect the kidneys, bladder and the tubes that run between them.
Researchers conducted a comprehensive meta-analysis and assessment of human clinical trials and 28 studies on nearly 5,000 patients. They found that overall, the use of cranberry products led to a statistically significant risk reduction in repeat UTIs.
The prescription of cranberry products would reduce administration of antibiotics, which could be beneficial to patients since antibiotics can lead to the worldwide emergence of antibiotic-resistant microorganisms, the researchers said.
The medicinal properties of cranberries may be attributed to their unique polyphenol and proanthocyanidins. The high level of proanthocyanidins (PACs) helps reduce the adhesion of certain bacteria to the urinary tract walls, in turn fighting off infections.
“Our investigation supports that cranberry products can be a powerful tool to fight off frequent UTIs,” said lead author Angelo Luis from the Universidade da Beira Interior in Portugal.
“Findings like this give medicine practitioners a viable, inexpensive, non-antibiotic option to help patients reduce the recurrence of an uncomfortable and potentially debilitating infection,” Luis noted.
Their ability to keep infection-causing bacteria from sticking to the urinary tract walls may be the major reason for their effectiveness in limiting infection growth and recurrence.
“While recommendations for dosage and duration of treatment require further study, the efficacy of the medicinal properties of cranberry products has been well-established,” Luis added.
The study suggests that doctors may recommend cranberry products as the first line of defense against the disease. The study was published in The Journal of Urology.