Multiple studies have shown that cranberry can treat and helps prevent urinary tract infections among women and children.
This is backed up by consistently positive results among numerous studies. Following all these studies have been multiple reviews of studies that use meta-analysis to gauge the success of UTI treatment with cranberries or cranberry juice. These have concluded that cranberries or cranberry juice reverses and prevents urinary tract infections at a rate of 38 percent.
Furthermore, meta-analysis has established that recurrent urinary tract infections are reduced at a rate of 47 percent by the use of cranberry.
Children also benefit from the use of cranberry for urinary tract infections. The latest review from Auburn University (December, 2015) analyzed the results of 8 studies on children. It showed that cranberry juice was at least as effective as antibiotics in treating urinary tract infections.
Examples of research reviewed
These reviews calculated the results of multiple studies. Here are a couple of studies they drew from:
Researchers from Finland tested cranberry juice against the number of recurrences of UTI infections among children as well as the need for antimicrobial medications.
In the Finnish study, a total of 263 children received either cranberry juice or a placebo for six months, and then were followed for one year. Approximately half of the children were given the placebo. Through the year, 22% of the children had at least one recurrence of urinary tract infection, while only 16% of the children treated with cranberry juice had recurrent infections – a difference of almost 30%.
Furthermore, the placebo group had 47 episodes of urinary tract infections, while the cranberry group experienced only 27 urinary tract infection episodes. In other words, there were 74% more episodes among the placebo group than among the cranberry group.
In addition, the children who took the cranberry juice required significantly fewer doses of antimicrobial medication than their placebo counterparts.
This recent study confirms a 2009 Catholic University study that found, among 84 girls aged three to fourteen, that consuming concentrated cranberry juice daily reduced UTI recurrence by more than half.
Preventing recurrent infections
Other studies have confirmed that cranberry juice or cranberry capsules significantly reduce urinary tract infections and recurrence among adult women. A 2004 Cochrane review from Edinburgh University analyzed multiple clinical studies on adult women. They concluded that cranberry juice or capsules significantly reduced the number and recurrence of urinary tract infections among adult women.
The mechanism most widely accepted for this is that cranberry alters the pH within the urinary tract mucosal lining, which reduces microorganisms’ ability to adhere to the walls of the urinary tract.
Little difference was seen in effectiveness between cranberry capsules and cranberry juice among these studies. Unfortunately, holiday cranberry recipes weren’t tested.
Liska DJ, Kern HJ, Maki KC. Cranberries and Urinary Tract Infections: How Can the Same Evidence Lead to Conflicting Advice? Adv Nutr. 2016 May 16;7(3):498-506. doi: 10.3945/an.115.011197.
Durham SH, Stamm PL, Eiland LS. Cranberry Products for the Prophylaxis of Urinary Tract Infections in Pediatric Patients. Ann Pharmacother. 2015 Dec;49(12):1349-56. doi: 10.1177/1060028015606729.
Wagenlehner FM, Vahlensieck W, Bauer HW, Weidner W, Piechota HJ, Naber KG. Prevention of recurrent urinary tract infections. Minerva Urol Nefrol. 2013 Mar;65(1):9-20.
Salo J, Uhari M, Helminen M, Korppi M, Nieminen T, Pokka T, Kontiokari T. Cranberry Juice for the Prevention of Recurrences of Urinary Tract Infections in Children: A Randomized Placebo-Controlled Trial. Clin Infect Dis. 2011 Nov 18.
Ferrara P, Romaniello L, Vitelli O, Gatto A, Serva M, Cataldi L. Cranberry juice for the prevention of recurrent urinary tract infections: a randomized controlled trial in children. Scand J Urol Nephrol. 2009;43(5):369-72.
Jepson RG, Mihaljevic L, Craig J. Cranberries for preventing urinary tract infections. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2004;(2):CD001321.