Meta-analysis adds evidence to cranberry’s protective effect against urinary tract infection in women

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

A review and meta-analysis published on October 18, 2017 in the Journal of Nutrition supports the use of cranberry juice or supplements in the prevention of urinary tract infections (UTIs) in women.

Uncomplicated UTI (cystitis) is a sporadic infection of the urinary tract that is common among women (as opposed to complicated UTI, which is associated with a structural or functional abnormality). Women have a 50% lifetime risk of experiencing a UTI and 20-30% of these women go on to experience subsequent infections. To authors Zhuxuan Fu and colleagues' knowledge, "This is the first meta-analysis to focus on cranberry as a nutritive option to reduce the risk of recurrence of uncomplicated UTI in healthy nonpregnant women."

Dr Fu and associates identified 7 randomized, controlled trials that evaluated the effects of cranberry juice, tablets or capsules among 1,498 women at risk of UTI. The researchers determined that daily cranberry intake lowered women’s risk of developing a UTI by 26% in comparison with the risk experienced by subjects assigned to control groups.

"Several clinical studies suggest that consumption of cranberry juice or cranberry supplements may decrease UTI occurrence in healthy women," they write. "These observations have been supported by results from in vitro research, which show that cranberry-derived compounds (e.g., polyphenolics and A-type proanthocyanidins) may interfere with the adhesion of bacteria to urinary tract epithelial cells, attenuate the uropathogen reservoir in the gastrointestinal tract, and suppress the inflammatory cascade."

"Our meta-analysis suggests that cranberry can be a potential nonpharmacologic approach for generally healthy women to prevent an uncomplicated recurrent UTI," the authors conclude.


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