Can drinking a glass of cranberry juice actually protect against urinary tract infections? It is said that that Urinary Tract Infections or UTIs can be prevented with the help of cranberries. No doubt, these berries are delicious and tart, but the question is, are they actually medicinally beneficial, especially to defend the urinary bladder from infections?
It is true that the claims that cranberries can defend the bladder from urinary tract infections, especially in women who frequently get UTIs, is backed by some science. However, for other groups of people, the extent of the benefits of cranberries is not exactly clear. Furthermore, there are no actual recommendations about how much cranberry juice people should drink to protect their bladder from UTIs. Following is a look on the opinion of health experts regarding the benefits of cranberries, especially for urinary tract health.
The science behind the claims that cranberries defend the bladder from infection
Scientists used to believe that cranberries made urine more acidic; making urine inhospitable to Escherichia coli (E. coli), bacteria that caused UTIs, thus protecting the bladder against UTIs. However, over the years, there has been a shift in this thinking.
It is now believed by researchers bacteria that cause UTIs are prevented from sticking to the walls of the urinary tract by substances contained in cranberries. There are a variety of theories of how cranberries exactly do this. It is shown by certain studies that the bacteria are changed by particular antioxidants contained in cranberries, which prevents them from sticking to the urinary tract. Another idea is that a slippery Teflon-like coating is created by cranberries on the walls of the urinary tract, so the E. coli bacteria are not able to get a good grip.
Is there any evidence that cranberries prevent UTIs?
The effects of cranberry products on UTIs have been analyzed by studies. Following is an overview of the benefit of cranberries, as far as UTIs are concerned:
It has been discovered by a couple of studies that UTIs can be prevented by taking cranberry pills or drinking cranberry juice, especially in women are prone to these infections.
– A study was conducted on women with a history of suffering from UTIs because of the E. coli bacteria. The risk of getting a UTI dropped down by 20% once those women started drinking 1.7 ounces of cranberry-lingonberry juice concentrate daily.
– In another study, patients started experiencing the least symptoms of UTI when they started taking cranberry tablets and drinking cranberry juice. In this study, a single tablet of concentrated cranberry was taken by sexually active women two times a day, and about 8 ounces of cranberry juice was consumed thrice a day for 12 months.
– In another study, the risk of having white blood cells and bacteria in urine was reduced in older adults when they started eating cranberry products.
Cranberry might not cure just about any urinary tract problem but it can sure help defend the bladder against infections. As long as drinking cranberry juice or using other cranberry products
does not aggravate other medical problems, interact with medicines or bother the stomach, drinking it is worth it.