Cranberry Extract Solution for  Urinary Tract Infections

Fighting urinary tract infections with cranberry juice

For nearly ninety years, the American cranberry (Vaccinium macrocarpon) has been used by countless women to prevent and treat urinary tract infections (UTI). Originally, scientists believed drinking cranberry juice cocktail acidified the urine, hindering bacterial proliferation. At the time, this practice was one of the few effective treatments for women with recurrent UTI.

A 1967 study shows consumption of commercial cranberry juice cocktail did not acidify the urine as was previously believed.(1) Despite this, UTI sufferers continued to use cranberry juice with beneficial results. A second study, published in The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) in 1994, confirmed the beneficial effects of regular consumption of cranberry juice.

In this study 153 female subjects were randomized into two groups, cranberry juice drinkers (10 ounces daily) and placebo, using a cranberry flavored beverage with no cranberry juice. After six months the results conclusively demonstrated that the drinkers of cranberry juice experienced fewer bacterial infections. Those with bacteria counts indicating an increased likelihood of infection diminished in the cranberry group as reflected by a 25% decrease in positive bacterial urine samples relative to the controls.(2)

Because no assessment was made as to urinary tract infection symptoms, the study did not enable researchers to determine if cranberry actually cured full blown infections. Nevertheless, the evidence to support regular use of cranberry to prevent recurrent or chronic UTI is compelling to say the least.

Modern research has now led us to the discovery that cranberry helps relieve UTI not by any process of acidification, but rather due to its ability to prevent microorganisms from adhering to the epithelial cells that line the urinary tract. Escherichia coli, the most common UTI-causing bacteria, produces chemicals known as adhesions, enabling the organism to cling to epithelial cells where they proliferate and cause infection. Cranberry juice was found to contain two substances which inhibit the adhesion activity of bacteria: fructose and an, as yet, unidentified polymeric compound.

It is now known that cranberry can reduce the bacteria responsible for UTI. However, cranberry's effects on full blown UTI infections have not been studied, so persons experiencing UTI or UTI symptoms should still seek medical intervention in addition to supplementing their diets with cranberry.

Because of the high sugar and moderate calorie content of cranberry juice, coupled with the amount required each day for optimum effect, some people prefer to take a cranberry extract instead of juice.


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