Cranberry juice 'won't prevent' bladder infections
“It’s a myth that cranberry juice can cure bladder infections,” the Daily Mail reported today. The story was based on a large review of research that looked at the effectiveness of cranberry juice and cranberry products such as capsules, in preventing bladder and other urinary tract infections (UTIs), which are most common in women.
The use of cranberry juice to protect against infection was first thought to have originated with Native Americans. It is now a popular home remedy, often recommended to women by their doctors to help prevent infections on the basis of previous research that suggested it could be helpful.
The theory is that cranberry juice contains substances that help prevent bacteria from sticking to the wall of the urinary tract. However, this new widely reported study found that overall, cranberry products did not reduce the occurrence of UTIs, such as cystitis, when compared with placebo, water or no treatment at all.
This updated review comes from the respected Cochrane Collaboration and its results are likely to be reliable. It suggests that while cranberry juice may be of small benefit to some women, it would need to be consumed in such large quantities as to make it unacceptable to many as a remedy.
Other cranberry products were also found to be ineffective, possibly due to the lack of potency of the active ingredients. Other methods women can use to reduce the risk of developing a UTI include drinking plenty of fluids and practising good hygiene.
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