The health benefits of cranberry juice are, after all, a large focus of their marketing strategy. Last week, Ocean Spray released the results of a study , published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, which suggests drinking an 8-ounce glass of cranberry juice every day could help reduce the likelihood of a UTI by 40 percent, at least in women over 40 who frequently have the infection.
Calling the "landmark" study the largest clinical trial of its kind, the press release states cranberry juice "may be a useful strategy to decrease worldwide use of antibiotics" by preventing the need for the drugs.
So how do their claims match up to the evidence? One group drank 8 ounces of an Ocean Spray cranberry cocktail per day, which contained 27 percent actual cranberry juice. The group other received a placebo. Ocean Spray financially supported the study, including providing the cranberry cocktail. Two of its employees, Kerrie L. Kaspar and Christina Khoo, head of research sciences, were involved in all aspects of the research. Ocean Spray representatives said the study was conducted by an independent research company, registered with clinicaltrials.
The research also followed necessary protocols, including board and ethics committee approval. Kalpana Gupta, an associate professor of infectious diseases at Boston University, was the only researcher on the study who reported no conflicts of interest. She's also been researching infectious disease for 20 years, including studying cranberries for the National Institutes of Health NIH.
She called the study "beautifully done" because of its size, compliance to treatment, and follow-up. There were women in the final study. All had experienced a recent UTI. During the study period, researchers diagnosed 39 UTIs in people who drank cranberry juice.
In the placebo group, there were 67 UTIs. Overall, researchers concluded, there was a 40 percent reduction in UTI symptoms in women who drank the cranberry cocktail. Taking a Closer Look There are, however, points of concern. The study examined a woman's symptoms, not laboratory-confirmed bacterial infections. Secondly, they counted all of the UTIs among the subjects and piled them together, not addressing the individual infection rates.
Gupta said symptoms were measured because that's what's used in the clinical setting. While Gupta says she wasn't paid for her role in the study, she now speaks on the issue and Ocean Spray compensates her for her travel expenses. In , Gupta co-authored research in the journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings that found cranberry juice didn't significantly reduce UTIs risk in women.
Ocean Spray didn't fund that research. When it comes to studying UTI risk, Glatt says other factors could have been at play and should have been controlled for, such as a woman's sexual activity and contraception use, which can increase her likelihood of a UTI.
Some research has shown that cranberries possess molecules that can interfere with how bacteria affix themselves inside the urinary tract. Those results, however, are at the type of concentrations for cranberries typically found in concentrated pills. Even then research on cranberry's protective effects is limited.
Other Considerations Drinking more cranberry cocktail could come with some unintended consequences. Ocean Spray's Cranberry Juice Cocktail contains 28 grams of sugar per 8-ounce serving, which is higher than some sodas.
That's 7 teaspoons of sugar, one more than the daily recommended maximum for women. While she didn't say what Ocean Spray product was tested, Gupta did say it was a low-calorie version.
Timothy Boone, Ph. The study was based on results collected from college women with UTI symptoms. Researchers concluded that overall the juice didn't help protect a second infection within six months.
He points out it was in a nutrition journal, not one focusing on infectious diseases. Its board's conflict-of-interest disclosures are numerous. While none disclose ties to Ocean Spray, they do extend to other major sugary drink manufacturers, including Ocean Spray's distributor, Pepsi Co.
Michele Simon, who writes at EatDrinkPolitics. They identified 10 studies — involving a total of 1, participants — that met their inclusion criteria. Within these results, cranberries appeared to be more effective at preventing UTIs in women with recurrent symptomatic infections than in elderly populations — and ineffective in people with bladder problems that involved catheterization.
One of the drawbacks of the studies being reviewed was their lack of consistency in dosing and in the concentration of cranberries. Also, the chemical composition of the cranberry products was not standardized, and the bioequivalence between the juice, capsules, or tablets was unknown.
So it's hard to know exactly which and how much of the various cranberry components people were getting, or what level of intake was effective. Also, the dropout rate was high in most of the studies; the reasons for this remain unclear, though in some studies, taste has been cited as a problem. How do cranberries help? Cranberries contain several compounds that could confer health benefits, including salicylic acid the active ingredient in aspirin and plant chemicals called polyphenols, which have antioxidant properties.
No exact mechanism of action has been established, but in laboratory tests, cranberry extracts have been shown to hamper the ability of E. Also, the flavor may not be agreeable to some people, especially over the long term. Fortunately, there are many other things you can do to help stave off UTIs.
Drink plenty of water, to help increase urine output.
In addition, cranberries are a good source of various vitamins and antioxidants. Of the men, nearly 60 percent said they had. This is because it takes an very high concentration of cranberry to prevent bacterial adhesion.
They also contain proanthocyanidins PACs , an antioxidant that may help prevent a range of diseases. One study published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases, compared drinking up to 10 ounces of Ocean Spray's Cranberry Classic per day with drinking the same amout of a placebo. Nutrition One half cup or 55 grams of chopped cranberries contains : Cranberries contain nutrients that may help control a UTI, but the amounts in cranberry juice are probably not enough to make a difference. The program brought together a select group of researchers and industry professionals to present current research and foster rigorous dialogue, integrate knowledge of cranberry health benefits across disciplines and identify critical gaps to be addressed by future research. Foo et al. Fu and Dr.
Antibiotics are very effective in preventing and treating these infections, but many women don't like to take them because they can cause diarrhea, nausea, and yeast infections of the vagina or mouth. Last month, the U. Taking a Closer Look There are, however, points of concern. Its board's conflict-of-interest disclosures are numerous. Fu and Dr.
Here are some ways that cranberries can enhance health: 1 Urinary tract infections The cranberry is perhaps best known for its role in preventing urinary tract infections UTIs , especially for those with recurrent infections. The effect of cranberry products on cardiovascular health and glucose management was also explained in the review. Its board's conflict-of-interest disclosures are numerous.
Antibiotics are very effective in preventing and treating these infections, but many women don't like to take them because they can cause diarrhea, nausea, and yeast infections of the vagina or mouth. Drink plenty of water, to help increase urine output. Early settlers from England used them to treat poor appetite, stomach complaints, blood disorders, and scurvy. They are often referred to as a "super food.
Amesh A. We specialize in science-based literature review projects like this one, including research synthesis, evidence mapping studies and systematic reviews. These findings were published by the Journal of Nutrition online on October 18th and will be included in the December print issue of the journal. Cranberry PACs comprise a group of heterogeneous chemical structures, characterized by their constitutive units, types of linkage, and degree of polymerization DP. Specifically, a recent clinical trial conducted by Biofortis, published in June in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, found that consumption of cranberry juice daily by women who are at risk of a urinary tract infection UTI , resulted in fewer episodes of recurrent UTIs. Fast facts on cranberries: Here are some key points about cranberries.