In brief: Cranberry juice and urinary tract infections

In brief

Cranberry juice and urinary tract infections

Published: March, 2014

Maybe because it's so tart and ruby red, cranberry juice certainly seems like it should have medicinal properties. People, especially women, have drunk gallons in the belief that it combats urinary tract infections (UTIs). In test-tube experiments, the particular combination of fructose and proanthocyanidins (the substances responsible for the red color) in cranberry juice seems to reduce the adhesive powers of E. coli and other bacteria. If bacteria can't "grab" onto tissue, they can't infect it.

It's doubtful, though, that cranberry juice could stop an infection once it's started. And there's no good evidence from studies that it works as a treatment.

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