Cranberry (Vaccinium macrocarpon) is a small round red colored fruit which is native to America. It typically grows in bogs.
American cranberry is one of the only three species of fruit native to North America. The other species are blueberry and bilberry.
Cranberry gets its name from “crane-berry” because its stem and flower resemble the head, neck, and beak of a crane.
Major Benefit – Protection against Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)
- Cranberry fruit and its products (such as juices and supplements) have been used by women of all ages for generations to help maintain the health of the urinary system (bladder and urethra).
- Cranberries help to prevent and treat urinary tract infections (UTIs).
- Its benefits are most pronounced in middle-aged women who experience recurrent UTIs.
- In the past it was thought that cranberries prevent urinary tract infections (UTIs) because they increase the acidity of urine that inhibits the growth of bacteria on the urinary tract lining.
- But recent research has shown that it’s not the acidity of the cranberries, but the unusual nature of their major component, proanthocyanidins (PACs), that is related to prevention of UTIs.
- The special structure of these PACs prevents the attachment of bacteria to the urinary tract lining.
This excellent animated video explains how cranberry prevents the bacteria from attaching to the bladder lining.
This video demonstrates the remarkable benefits cranberry can bring you.
How It Works
- To cause infection bacteria has to first get attached to the lining of any part of our body. After attaching it multiplies to grow into a colony or population. Together this colony of bacteria makes toxins that cause infections and inflammation.
- The proanthocyanidins (PACs) present in cranberry have special structures called A-type linkages that make it difficult for bacteria to attach to the urinary tract linings. Thus it prevents the attachment of bacteria and stops the infection in the first stage.
- Most of these types of bacteria are pathogenic (infection-causing) strains of E. coli – one of the most common microorganisms involved in UTIs.
- The proanthocyanidins present in Cranberry specifically inhibit hemagglutination of E. coli by inhibiting expression of P adhesin (the protein used by bacteria to adhere).
- By preventing unwanted bacteria like E. coli to attach to the urinary tract linings, cranberry’s PACs prevent the expansion of bacterial populations that can result in infection.
Cranberries help prevent stomach ulcers too!
- Stomach ulcers are usually related to overgrowth and attachment of a stomach-bacterium – Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) to the stomach lining.
- Cranberries help prevent bacterial attachment to the stomach lining in a similar manner, as they prevent bacterial attachment to the lining of the urinary tract.
- So, in this way, Cranberries have the added benefit of protecting us from stomach ulcers.
A Word of Advice – Heed The Synergy!
- Recent studies have also shown that whole cranberries do a better job of protecting our cardiovascular system and our liver.
- Several research findings have pointed out that it is the synergy among cranberry nutrients, rather than individual cranberry components, that are responsible for cranberry’s health benefits.
- This synergy is only found when the whole berry or its juice is consumed in food form.
- This rule about whole dietary intake appears to apply to the antioxidant benefits, anti-inflammatory benefits, and anti-cancer benefits of cranberry.
- Cranberries contain a chemical named oxalate which could increase the risk of kidney stones.
- This is especially important for those who have a history of renal stones (calculi).
- Such people should consult a physician before using any cranberry supplement.
What the Press Says
BBC News: (Click article for full size)
Fox News Featured Video: (Click article for full size)
Excerpts from Research Studies Proving Efficacy of Cranberry in the Management of UTIs
- “Cranberry cocktail is useful in managing urinary tract infections in certain patients
- “Cranberry provides the most cost effective prevention of UTI”
- “Benefits derived from the use of cranberry juice may be related to its ability to inhibit bacterial adherence.”
- “Consumption of cranberry juice may offer protection against both sensitive and resistant strains of E coli.”
- “Results suggest that presence of the A-type linkage in cranberry proanthocyanidins may enhance urinary bacterial anti-adhesion activities and aid in maintaining urinary tract health.”
- 300 to 400mg of cranberry extract twice daily, or 8 oz of unsweetened juice taken three time daily for the prophylaxis (prevention) of UTIs.
- For treatment of UTI the dose can be well increased as cranberries are well tolerated and are a safe natural herbal medicine.
Testimonials from people who faced the plight of UTIs and resorted to Cranberry
I’ve noticed definite improvements in my urinary tract health; my urine has been noticeably more clear and I need to urinate with less frequency and urgency.– Erek Gerende, Camarillo, CA.
It is great in slowing the frequency of UTI’s & is very cost effective.– Hugh Brady
I have no trouble anymore!
For many years, I had urinary discomfort causes by Escherichia coli… I read an article of a health magazine about the beneficial effects of cranberry and have tried it for 7 months. I take one capsule per day. Since then, I have no trouble anymore. I talked about it to my gynaecologist and she recommends it. Thanks.– Annie Balzac, France
The miracle happened!
I have lived with urinary discomfort for 25 years. I used to have one episode each month. I tried Cranberry! The miracle happened : I had only 2 episodes in one year!. I am delighted and I continue to take cranberry every night and it works!– Severine Estevelles, France
My gynaecologist recommended me!
During my pregnancy, the gynaecologist advised to cranberry supplement in order to avoid the recurrence of urinary tract problems, which I used to have frequently before. That is why, during my pregnancy, I encountered no problems like these. It has been beneficial for me and I continue to use daily even after giving birth. I advise my friends to do the same!– Sandra Vigneux sur Seine, France
I take cranberry every morning!
Since I take cranberry every morning, i do not have urinary disorders anymore.– SarahParis, France