Cranberry Juice and UTIs
When many people think of Urinary Tract Infections, they think of cranberry juice. Cranberry juice or extract is commonly believed to be a tool to reduce UTI risk, yet as the subject of numerous clinical studies, there is very little evidence to suggest any positive benefit.
For instance, a 1,400-person study of college-aged women indicated that cranberry juice was not effective in reducing UTI risk, and less effective than vitamin C alone (1). Another 1 year long study in people with increased risk of UTI’s indicated that “taking cranberry extract versus placebo twice a day did not prevent UTI occurrence” (2). Published in 2013, even a recent review of all of the existing literature of cranberry and UTI indicated that cranberry juice and extracts “exert low effectiveness” in reducing UTI risk (3). There is little behind the theory of cranberries and UTI’s.
So if there isn’t much evidence to support cranberry, why is the belief so common? There are two parts to the idea of why cranberry might help reduce UTI risk. 1) Cranberries are acidic, and will make your urine more acidic which will help fight off bacteria, and 2) cranberries contain the sugar D-Mannose, which can help keep bacteria from attaching to the urinary wall (a key ingredient in Uqora). In reality, cranberries aren’t acidic enough to impact the acidity of urine and D-Mannose is only found in very small concentrations. On top of that, cranberry juice is very high in sugar and calories, and you would need large quantities to have a positive effect, if any, which another study has cited as not even being cost-effective (4).
More importantly, pushing cranberry as a natural UTI reducer has been a marketing ploy for years for cranberry based products. It’s time we spread the knowledge about the great cranberry myth and move toward truly effective products.
- Foxman, B and Chi, JW. “Health behavior and urinary tract infection in college-
aged women.” Journal of Clinical Epidemiology, Vol. 43, pages 329-337. 1990.
- Gallien, Philippe; Amarenco, Gerard; Benoit, Nicolas; et al. Cranberry versus
placebo in the prevention of urinary infections in multiple scleroris: a multicenter, randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind trial. MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS JOURNAL Volume: 20 Issue: 9 Pages: 1252-1259 Published: AUG 2014
- Vasileiou, Ioanna; Katsargyris, Athanasios; Theocharis, Stamatios; et al. Current
clinical status on the preventive effects of cranberry consumption against urinary tract infections. NUTRITION RESEARCH. Volume: 33 Issue: 8 Pages: 595-607 Published: AUG 2013
- Griebling, Tomas, Cost-Effectiveness of Cranberry Capsules to Prevent Urinary
Tract Infections in Long-Term Care Facilities: Economic Evaluation with a Randomized Controlled Trial. JOURNAL OF UROLOGY. Volume: 193 Issue: 1 Pages: 152-153 Published: JAN 2015