New research shows little benefit from drinking cranberry juice to prevent urinary tract infection.
The long-held belief that drinking large amounts of cranberry juice will ward off or help clear up a urinary tract infection (UTI) has come under fire with the findings from a new study, according to nydailynews.com.
About 20 percent of all women will contract a UTI at some point in their lives, and four out of five of those women will have a recurring infection, especially those patients in nursing homes.
The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) reports that cranberry capsules are quite often given to older women, those in nursing homes, as a preventative treatment, even thought the association considers the pills to be “understudied.”
The pills and the juice are thought to be effective against infections because cranberries contain proanthocyanidins (PACs), an ingredient that has been found to prevent bacteria from binding to the walls of the bladder and the urinary tract.
So, many women, at the first sign of a UTI, with symptoms including frequent urges to urinate and experiencing pain during the process, began to consume large quantities to clear up the infection.
Turns out, most of the commercially available juices in the grocery stores simply don’t have enough PACs to do the trick, though previous studies seem to have produced conflicting results.
That prompted a team of researchers from the Yale School of Medicine to select 185 nursing home residents to participate in a study in which they took two oral cranberry capsules each day that contained either PACs or a placebo. After a year of research, the team found the group, which averaged 86 years of age, had no significant differences in the presence of bacteria in their urinary tracts.
The study also noted there were no differences in the number of UTIs, the antibiotics prescribed for treatment of a suspected UTI, death rates, or hospitalizations in the two sets of subjects.
The experts say the best way to avoid a UTI is to eat well, get plenty of rest, and exercise, and should you contract a UTI, seek medical help, likely an antibiotic to quickly resolve the problem.