Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Fast Facts - Health Effects of Cranberries

History Facts:
  • Cranberries are 1 of 3 fruits native to North America (others are blueberry & biliberry)
  • Used by Native Americans to treat bladder & kidney ailments
  • Documented use during the 17th century for relief of blood disorders, stomach ailments, liver disorders, vomiting, scurvy, and cancer
  • 1 of every 5 women in the U.S. have a reported lifetime incidence of UTI
    • 3% of these women have recurrent disease
Glimpse of Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) Research:
  • Systematic review - no randomized trials assessing effectiveness of cranberry JUICE in treatment of UTIs, concluded no evidence to support it's use
    • Jepson RG, Mihaljevic L, Craig J. Cranberries for treating urinary tract infections. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2004;(3):CD001322
  • Randomized placebo-controlled trial showed cranberry extract TABLETs significantly decreased the number of patients having at least one UTI per year
    •  Stothers L. A randomized trial to evaluate effectiveness and cost effectiveness of naturopathic cranberry products as prophylaxis against urinary tract infection in women. Can J Urol. 2002;9:1558–62
How Do Cranberries Help Prevent UTIs?
  • Initial hypothesis - cranberries acidify the urine making it difficult for bacteria to grow
  • More recent hypothesis - Cranberries help prevent bacterial binding to cell surface membranes
    • In vitro studies show cranberries inhibit bacterial adherence of E. coli & other gram-negative bacteria
      • Sobota AE. Inhibition of bacterial adherence by cranberry juice: potential use for the treatment of urinary tract infections. J Urol. 1984;131:1013–6
      • Zafriri D, Ofek I, Adar R, Pocino M, Sharon N. Inhibitory activity of cranberry juice on adherence of type 1 and type P fimbriated Escherichia coli to eucaryotic cells. Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 1989;33:92–8
  • Cranberry's are relatively safe and effective for UTI prophylaxis (prevention)
  • Cranberry tablets (vs. juice) may be helpful for people at risk for recurrent UTI infections
  • Long-term use in oxalate kidney stone formers, and patients with other medical problems such as diabetes should use caution/talk to your doctor
  • Evidence for other health effects of cranberries are lacking

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