Ask Clark’s

"ask clarks" header I have been curious about cranberry juice. Is it helpful for the Urinary Tract System? –
a letter from Maria of Ontario

 By Clark’s Nutrition   

Is the use of cranberry juice for treatment of Urinary Tract Infections (UTI’s) common folklore or traditional use? Folklore or traditional use of a substance is often not scientifically substantiated. Challenging folklore with science helps us to better understand the action(s) a substance might have on the body and substantiate the folklore information being touted. Science is often limited to what it can provide and prove. Therefore it is often beneficial in the area of understanding the uses of a substance and expanding the use for that given substance.

Looking at a recent study of women who experience frequent UTI’s, there appears to be a significant reduction in the amounts of these UTI’s while consuming 8oz of cranberry juice daily. This study was a double blind placebo control study and lasted for two years (2013-15) making folklore use current. There have been several other studies with cranberries and UTI’s in previous years with many seeking the folklore prevention factor. Some of these studies have been done with the popular Ocean Spray Cranberry Company, using cranberry juice concentrate (2oz.) and low-calorie cocktail (300ml or 10oz) products providing significant positive results as well.

Another area to consider would be capsule or supplement products. Of these products, CranActin© at 400mg a day was effective in reducing UTI’s as well.

The most common explanation for cranberries effectiveness centers around (PAC-A ~ proanthocyanidin-A) an active antioxidant found in cranberries. Cranberry proanthocyanidins bind to proteins and specific bacteria like e-coli which can be a common culprit for UTI’s. This binding action carries away the bacteria from the body through elimination preventing infection by attachment to the urinary tract.

Finally, the use of cranberries and the reduction of UTI’s for over 100+ years is substantiated by current research. Additional information also suggests that cranberry can be used as an excellent antioxidant for the body. The use of science in this situation has brought about new information about cranberry, making it more valuable than what we had originally thought.  Remember it is always advisable to seek a physician if you have any concerns about infection of other health concerns.

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Due to the number of responses, we will only be able to answer published questions.

  1. Effect of oralcranberry extract (standardized proanthocyanidin-A) in patients with recurrent UTI by pathogenic E. coli: a randomized placebo-contr olled clinical research study.Singh I, Gautam LK, Kaur IR.Int Urol Nephrol. 2016 Jun 17. [Epub ahead of print]
  2. Consumption of acranberry juice beverage lowered the number of clinical urinary tract infectionepisodes in women with a recent history of urinary tract infection.Maki KC, Kaspar KL, Khoo C, Derrig LH, Schild AL, Gupta K.Am J Clin Nutr. 2016 Jun;103(6):1434-42. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.116.130542. summary and link below:
  3. 2014 Apr 14;15(4):1375-81. doi: 10.1021/bm401909c. Epu 2014 Mar 25.Evaluating the binding of selected biomolecules to cranberry derived proanthocyanidins using the quartz crystal microbalance.Weckman NE1, Olsson AL, Tufenkji N.

Barrett, PhD, The Handbook of Clinical Tested Herbal Remedies vol. 1 The Hawthorn Press.