Cranberries Really Can Help Prevent Urinary Tract Infections, Scientists Say

Last Updated: April 26, 2023, 12:30 IST

Cranberries could really be beneficial in preventing urinary tract infections. (Credits: AFP)

This is the first time that science has been able to attribute such properties to these small red berries native to North America, providing evidence to confirm a decades-old myth.

More than just a myth, hearsay or a received idea, it turns out that cranberries could indeed be beneficial in preventing urinary tract infections, as revealed by research conducted by scientists in Australia. This is the first time that science has been able to attribute such properties to these small red berries native to North America, providing evidence to confirm a decades-old myth.

Despite numerous studies on the subject, science had never managed to substantiate claims that cranberries could prevent urinary tract infections, the most recent review being conducted in 2012 and based on 24 trials. A little over a decade later, this has now been achieved via new research that supports the idea that these small red berries can indeed be effective in preventing urinary tract infections. This research is the work of a team of scientists from Flinders University in Adelaide and The Children’s Hospital at Westmead.

Published in Cochrane Reviews, their research is based on 50 trials, of which more than 20 are considered recent, and including 8,857 participants. The result is that cranberry juice, as well as cranberry-based supplements, whether taken in capsule or tablet form, could reduce the risk of recurrent urinary tract infections by more than a quarter in women, by more than half in children, and by just as much in individuals susceptible to develop them after a medical procedure. The findings support the idea that cranberries are more than just a folk remedy.

“Even back in 1973, my mum was told to try cranberry juice to prevent her horrible and frequent UTIs, and for her it’s been a savior. Despite me niggling in her ear about evidence, she’s continued to take it daily, first as the nasty sour juice and in recent years, the easy to swallow capsules. As soon as she stops, wham the symptoms are back. As usual, it turns out that mum was right! Cranberry products can help some women prevent UTIs,” says study lead author, Dr Gabrielle Williams, in a statement.

If cranberry juice has for years been considered by some as an effective natural remedy to fight against urinary tract infections, no scientific studies had previously proven this real effectiveness. Nevertheless, a number of food supplements based on these small red berries have been sold for a long time, lauding their properties and their benefits for the urinary tract. This new study, although still only the first, seemingly supports these claims, especially since the researchers report few side effects, except for abdominal pain.

Despite the compelling results, particularly for women with recurring UTIs, the researchers believe that further studies are now needed to determine the category or categories of people for whom cranberry products would be most beneficial.

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(This story has not been edited by News18 staff and is published from a syndicated news agency feed – AFP)

Disclaimer: This post has been auto-published from an agency/news feed without any modifications to the text and has not been reviewed by an editor.

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