You’re in a crowded room and all of a sudden you get the urge to “go” to the bathroom. You stand up, accidentally bump into 3 people along the way, and finally make it to the door. You run down the hall to the bathroom and you sit down. Only a few drops tinkle out! All that work for just this little bit? You notice you’re urine has an awful odor and it looks a little cloudy too. Do these symptoms sound familiar? These symptoms are all indicative of a urinary tract infection (UTI). Sometimes you’re told to drink cranberry juice to help prevent or treat a UTI. Just what is so special about drinking that juice? Is the juice made from magic berries?
There are only three fruits that are native to North America: American cranberry (Vaccinium macrocarpon), blueberry (Vaccinium angustifolia) and bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus). It was first thought that by drinking cranberry juice your urine became more acidic, which would kind of have an “antibacterial effect”. Darren Lynch, M.D., explains in his article, Cranberry for Prevention of Urinary Tract Infections, that currently it is believed the mechanism of action for cranberries is preventing bacteria to bind to “host cell surface membranes”. The bacteria that causes a urinary tract infection is Escherichia coli, which is more commonly called E. Coli. Cranberries contain phenol compounds known as proanthocyanidins. These proanthocyanidins, in particular, “inhibits the Escherichia coli bacteria from attaching to the lining of the urinary tract.” (Lynch, 2004)
So whether it is a glass of cranberry juice, a cranberry cocktail, or a cranberry pill – bottoms up! Cranberry juice and its derivatives can only aid in the prevention and treatment of a urinary tract infection.
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