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Cranberry Juice Does Not Prevent Urinary Bladder Infections, New Study Suggests

Update Date: Oct 17, 2012 08:35 AM EDT

Doctors often recommend drinking cranberry juice along with taking standard medication when patients are diagnosed with urinary tract infections or UTIs. However a new study suggests that the dry red fruit juice may be a weak preventative for bladder or kidney infections.

UTI's are commonly associated with women and are found to result from an overactive sexual life. Certain sugars and flavanol compounds in cranberries were thought to prevent bacteria from sticking to urinary tract walls, thereby preventing infection, particularly in people with higher risk of contracting an infection such as cohabitant heterosexual women.

After an in depth analysis of several reviews, with particular attention paid on evidence, study authors concluded in The Cochrane Review that cranberry juice may offer a small benefit in preventing UTIs in women who have recurrence issues.

Researchers gathered together evidence from 24 studies that involved a total of 4,473 people. These studies included 14 added since the 2008 update. Although some studies indicated that there was a small improvement in women with UTIs who took cranberry supplements opposed to women in control groups who took placebos, it was shown that women would have to consume two glasses of cranberry juice per day for long periods to prevent one infection.

"Now that we've updated our review with more studies, the results suggest that cranberry juice is even less effective at preventing UTIs than was shown in the last update," said lead researcher Ruth Jepson of the University of Stirling in Stirling, UK. In the studies where participants were given juice, there were large numbers of drop-outs, suggesting it might not be acceptable to drink over long time periods.

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