Landmark study suggests cranberries can decrease use of antibiotics

Cranberries reduce symptoms of UTIsLeading experts on infectious disease and urinary tract infections (UTIs) will gather in London to discuss the alarming state of antibiotic resistance, and to present findings from a landmark study that conclusively shows that cranberries can be a nutritional approach to reducing symptomatic UTIs.

According to the study, recently published by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, drinking a 240ml glass of cranberry juice a day reduces symptomatic UTIs by nearly 40 per cent in women with recurrent UTIs – reducing the burden of UTIs and reducing the antibiotic use associated with treating recurrent UTIs.

‘Currently the primary approach to reducing symptomatic events of UTI is the use of chronic antibiotics for suppression, an approach associated with side effects and development of antibiotic resistance. This study shows that consuming 240ml glass of cranberry juice a day reduces the number of times women suffer from repeat episodes of symptomatic UTI and avoids chronic suppressive antibiotics,’ says Dr. Kalpana Gupta, infectious disease specialist and Professor of Medicine at Boston University’s School of Medicine

An author on the study and panelist at the session, Dr. Gupta believes that cranberries can help to reduce the worldwide use of antibiotics and significantly improve the quality of life for women who suffer from recurrent UTI symptoms.

Cranberries contain a unique combination of compounds including Type-A PACs (or proanthocyanidins) that prevent bacteria from sticking and causing infection. In addition to PACs, new studies have revealed a new class of compounds, xyloglucan oligosaccharides, which have similar
anti-bacterial properties against E. coli as PACs. This means there are multiple, unique elements within cranberries working hard for your health.

These unique compounds can be found in a variety of products, including cranberry juice cocktail, 100 per cent cranberry juice, light cranberry juice, dried cranberries and cranberry extract, however most of the research surrounding cranberries and UTIs has been conducted using juice.

The suggestion that a nutritional approach like cranberry juice could reduce antibiotic use is welcome news given the alarming challenge it presents to public health, one that the WHO refers to as one of the greatest challenges to public health today, and that the UK Chancellor of the Exchequer said could become a threat ‘greater than cancer’.

According to Gupta, those who suffer from UTIs can feel confident that this nutritional approach is a potential solution – further validating more than 50 years of well-documented cranberry research.