Study: Cranberry Juice Can Help UTIs

In a victory for home doctors, a new study suggests that the popular ‘cure’ for urinary tract infection actually works

Wikimedia Commons / Cjboffoli / CC BY 3.0

Turns out the deliciously tart berries also improve your health.

You’ve probably been told time and again by various people in white lab coats that homemade remedies and witch doctors’ tricks are just that: tricks that don’t actually work. However, a recent study is validation for fans of home remedies everywhere.

The belief that cranberry juice can relieve symptoms of urinary tract infection or lessen its occurrence, as we have told you before, is a poular home-remedy myth, but studies attempting to verify its effects have produced mixed results.

Now, however, scientists have done a new comprehensive study on the subject, testing patients who drank cranberry juice against those who were given a placebo, a juice which looked and tasted the same but did not contain the supposedly beneficial nutrients of cranberry juice.

The results were staggering: there was a 39 percent reduction in clinical UTI episodes among the cranberry juice-drinkers. Urologist Courtenay Moore gives a reason for this resounding success: “There is an active ingredient in cranberries that can prevent adherence of bacteria to the bladder wall, particularly E. coli.”

It should be noted, though, that two of the researchers on the team were employees of Ocean Spray, the best-known brand of cranberry juice, and that Ocean Spray provided funding for the study. Based on the results, it will probably provide funding for additional research, since it might be expected to bring good publicity to the cranberry giant.

The researchers noted a need for that additional research (as most medical studies do). In that recommendation, the scientists expressed their desire to use different cranberry products to see which has the greatest effect, and to discern how exactly this phenomenon occurs.