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In a double-blind trial, supplementation with a cranberry extract (500 mg three times per day after meals) for 12 weeks significantly lowered serum total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol levels compared with placebo in patients with type 2 diabetes who were taking oral hypoglycemic medication.1
Modern research has suggested that cranberry may prevent urinary tract infections.1, 2 In a double-blind trial, elderly women who drank 10 ounces (300 ml) of cranberry juice per day had a decrease in the amount of bacteria in their urine.3 In another study, elderly residents of a nursing home consumed either four ounces (120 ml) of cranberry juice or six capsules containing concentrated cranberry daily for 13 months. During that time, the number of UTIs decreased by 25%.4 A small preliminary trial found that supplementation with encapsulated cranberry concentrate (400 mg twice per day for three months) significantly reduced the recurrence of UTIs in women (aged 18 to 45) with a history of recurrent infections.5
Cranberry juice has also been found to be as effective as the antibiotic cefaclor for preventing UTIs in children who had recurrent UTIs because of a condition that causes urine to flow backwards from the bladder into the ureters (vesicoureteral reflux). In that study, the children received a cranberry juice concentrate that was equivalent to 200 ml of cranberry juice per day.6
Research has suggested cranberry may be effective against UTIs because it prevents E. coli, the bacteria that causes most urinary tract infections, from attaching to the walls of the bladder.7 Cranberry is not, however, a substitute for antibiotics in the treatment of acute UTIs. Moreover, in children whose UTIs are due to “neurogenic bladder” (a condition caused by spinal cord injury or myelomeningocele), cranberry juice supplementation did not reduce the rate of infection.8 Drinking 10–16 ounces (300–500 ml) of unsweetened or lightly sweetened cranberry juice is recommended by many doctors for prevention, and as part of the treatment of UTIs. Alternatively, 400 mg of concentrated cranberry extracts twice per day can be used.
1. Bailey DT, Dalton C, Joseph Daugherty FJ, Tempesta MS. Can a concentrated cranberry extract prevent recurrent urinary tract infections in women? A pilot study. Phytomedicine 2007;14:237-41.
2. Salo J, Uhari M, Helminen M, et al. Cranberry juice for the prevention of recurrences of urinary tract infections in children: a randomized placebo-controlled trial. Clin Infect Dis 2012;54:340-6
3. Avorn J, Monane M, Gurwitz JH, et al. Reduction of bacteriuria and pyuria after ingestion of cranberry juice. JAMA 1994;271:751-4.
4. Dignam R, Ahmed M, Denman S, et al. The effect of cranberry juice on UTI rates in a long term care facility. J Am Geriatr Soc 1997;45:S53.
5. Walker EB, Barney DP, Mickelsen JN, et al. Cranberry concentrate: UTI prophylaxis. J Family Pract 1997;45:167-8 [letter].
6. Nishizaki N, Someya T, Hirano D, et al. Can cranberry juice be a substitute for cefaclor prophylaxis in children with vesicoureteral reflux? Pediatr Int 2009;51:433-4.
7. Sobota AE. Inhibition of bacterial adherence by cranberry juice: Potential use for the treatment of urinary tract infections. J Urol 1984;131:1013-6.
8. Schlager TA, Anderson S, Trudell J, Hendley JO. Effect of cranberry juice on bacteriuria in children with neurogenic bladder receiving intermittent catheterization. J Pediatr 1999;135:698-702.
Cranberry is a member of the same family as bilberry and blueberry. It is from North America and grows in bogs. The ripe fruit is used medicinally.
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The information presented by Healthnotes is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. Self-treatment is not recommended for life-threatening conditions that require medical treatment under a doctor's care. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires December 2018.