We have posted several times about the efficacy of cranberry juice against Urinary Tract Infections (UTI) [1] Cranberry juice has been accepted by the nutrition and alternative medicine communities as the first line of defense against UTIs [2,3]

UTIs affect particularly women, and people who must  use  a wheelchair for mobility.

How does Cranberry juice work? It contains  proanthocyanidins (PAC) which helps reduce the adhesion of E. coli bacteria to the urinary tract walls.

So the result of the Cochrane Library [4] stating that:  ”cranberry is  unlikely to prevent UTIs”  is disconcerting.

The Cranberry bush

But a review of the study by the Cochrane study shows potential gaps in their methodology.

Quoting the Cochrane work:

“…Many studies reported low compliance and high withdrawal/dropout problems which they attributed to palatability (taste acceptability)  of the products…”

It appears that the issue of  palatability and compliance might have unfairly interfered with the efficacy assessment : ‘…Many people in the studies stopped drinking the juice, suggesting it may not be an acceptable intervention…

Since when does palatability affect the objective efficacy of a remedy?

Particularly consider that: “…The effectiveness of cranberry was not significantly different to antibiotics…” Not different from antibiotics???  Isn’t that a great testimony FOR cranberry juice!

Besides, there are many ways to increase the appeal of the “bitter medicine”, mixing with sweet juices is one of the simplest.

Another reason for patient acceptability of the bitter taste is that they may not care for the recurrence of the painful UTIs. The patient might weigh the taste of cranberry juice  against the side effects and loss of efficacy of antibiotics for recurring infections.

Take the article in ScienceDaily as an example [5]: “…Antimicrobial Resistance for Common Urinary Tract Infection Drug Increases Five Fold Since 2000…!”

So we think that the Cochrane study does not upset the consensus that cranberry juice has a place against UTI in prevention of recurrences.

But talk to your Health Provider….

Sources:

  1. MediNewsDigest ; Cranberry juice
  2. Der Urologe ; “Myth or truth. Cranberry juice for prophylaxis and treatment of recurrent urinary tract infection’ ; 2009
  3. Livestrong ; “”HOW DOES CRANBERRY JUICE HELP WITH UTI?”, March 2011
  4. Cochrane Library ;“Cranberries for preventing urinary tract infections”;  Oct 2012
  5. ScienceDaily ; “”Antimicrobial Resistance for Common Urinary Tract Infection Drug Increases Five Fold Since 2000″ ; April 2012
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