Cranberry juice may be the traditional cocktail to chase away urinary tract infections but you’re better off tossing the bottle and popping the berries in pill form, according to new research published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.
UTIs are the most common bacterial infection in humans, reports the Cleveland Clinic. They account for more 8.6 million physician visits (84 percent by women) and over 1 million hospital admissions in the United States each year.
Timothy Boone, PhD, vice dean of the Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine in Houston, and his team conducted a study to see whether cranberries could make a difference. They studied 160 patients aged 23-88 years who were undergoing elective gynecological surgery between 2011-2013. Normally, 10-64 percent of women undergoing this kind of surgery will develop a UTI following the removal of the catheter. The researchers gave half the patients two cranberry juice capsules twice daily - the equivalent in strength to two 8-ounce servings of cranberry juice - for 6 weeks after surgery. The others took a placebo.
The cranberry capsules lowered the risk of UTIS by 50 percent, according to a post about the research published on medicalnewstoday.com. The researchers believe compounds in the berries help block bacteria’s ability to cling to the bladder wall and cause infection.
The researchers point out that you’d have to guzzle gallons of cranberry juice for the same effect. "It takes an extremely large concentration of cranberry to prevent bacterial adhesion,” Boone told medicalnewstoday.com. “This amount of concentration is not found in the juices we drink. There's a possibility it was stronger back in our grandparents' day, but definitely not in modern times."
Other research, however, has linked regular consumption of cranberry juice with lower blood pressure.