Research: cranberries help prevent urinary tract infections (UTI)

A Dutch infectious disease specialists, based on the information from early research, has stated that cranberries could be used to prevent urinary tract infections in some women.

The Dutch scientist, Suzanne Geerlings, admitted the cranberry method is not as effective as antibiotics but at least the long term effect of using cranberries is that the agent responsible for the infection will not grow a resistance like in the case of antibiotics.

Whatever the case, all agree that further research needs to be made before cranberries are recommended as standards for urinary tract infections. That agreement was made after scientists held an annual infectious disease meeting of the American Society for Microbiology.

The second most common type of infection in the human body is the urinary tract infection. The statistics from the National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse account from 8.1 million visits to physician due to urinary tract infections. Men are not as infected with UTI as women but when they are, it can be a serious cases. On the other hand, women are more likely to get an infections with a lifetime risk of more than 50%.

Is cranberry better than antibiotics

By reviewing 10 different studies involving 1000 women, it was revealed that cranberries, taken in one form or the other, could reduce the number of urinary tract infections by a third over a year period. The cranberries test results clearly showed a difference in comparison to placebo. Even woman with repeated UTI benefited from cranberries.

Suzanne Geerlings’ team did a research to compare the effect of cranberry capsule with respect to antibiotics. They found that both did reduced the number of urinary tract infections over a year period. That said the antibiotics did better by reducing the average number of UTI to 2. The cranberry capsules reduced it to 4. Nonetheless, the women who were given the antibiotics showed signs of resistance just one month after the treatment started.

So which option should you choose

You should decide with your doctor which one you want to try. The antibiotics are much more effective but the risk involved is that the infection may turn out to develop a resistance against the antibiotic over a period of time. Cranberries may not be as effective but you can rely on them for the longer term. You should be careful when using cranberries though. If you are on medication you need to find out if it is ok to combine a cranberry capsule with the medication you are already on. Products made with cranberries can dangerously trigger a negative reaction with certain medications.

Other doctors believe some more research needs to be done to properly understand the effect of cranberries. There seems to be some design flaws in the research. Some other studies seems to show that cranberries have no effect at all on infections. The road is long and the research still continues.

These findings are just preliminary. They will have to go through a process of peer reviewing before being fully accepted by the scientific community. If the review is positive, the research will then be published in a medical journal.