Can you cure a UTI with cranberry juice?
Cranberry juice is effective at prevention of and treatment for Urinary Tract Infections (UTI). It's been proven time and again.
Some scientists don't like to say that cranberry juice will cure a UTI, that would annoy the American Medical Association (AMA). They are very aggressive at making sure nobody can ever claim to cure anything that goes out of balance. Fact is, cranberry juice is a very effective natural remedy for UTI.
To clarify what a UTI is: A Urinary Tract Infection cause an urgent need to urinate, frequent urination, painful or burning sensation during urination (dysuria), and/or spasms and cramps in the bladder. In serious cases, cloudy, foul-smelling, or bloody urine may occur. As with any infection, it may also be accompanied by a fever. Kidney infections are similar but are oftentimes more severe with nausea, chills, abdominal cramping or aching pain in the lower back that isn't relieved by sitting.
Cranberry juice works in a couple different ways. The first way it works is by antioxidants, called condensed tannins (known as proanthocyanidins), preventing bacteria, such as Escherichia coli, or E. coli, from attaching to the cells in the urinary tract.
By preventing them from attaching, it allows natural components of your immune system to locate and destroy the E. coli bacteria. This is similar to the way elderberry juice blocks viruses from attaching to cells. This trait in both cranberry juice and elderberry juice is called "anti-adherence" factor. Pretty straight forward. Just to throw it out there, blueberry juice also has this "anti-adherence" factor.
The second way cranberry juice works for urinary tract infections is by acting as a diuretic. A diuretic is a substance that increases urinary output. Since we know the bacteria can't stick to the walls of the epithelial tract (urinary tract), this increase in urinary output will have a tendency to flush the urinary tract clear of invading bacteria.
I think the misinformation regarding cranberry juice for UTI comes about because of the plethora of low quality cranberry juice products on the market. Pure cranberry juice is quite tart and just a tad bitter, not to most people's liking. This has encouraged many juice companies to mix cranberry with water, refined sugar, and other cheaper juices and then call it cranberry juice.
That's sort of like putting a third tank of gasoline in your car and then filling the rest of the tank with propane. Pure cranberry juice has literally 3 times the amount of active beneficial ingredients as cranberry juice cocktail with none of the added refined sugars. The taste is quite tart, but you can always add water to your level of taste preference.
The amount of cranberry juice also matters. Studies have shown that about 3 ounces a day of a typical cranberry juice cocktail will work as a preventive. I would go for the pure cranberry juice and then it'll only take an ounce. For treatment, you'd have to use from 12-32 ounces of the cocktail or 4 ounces of pure cranberry juice. You can mix the pure cranberry juice with water to dilute it. If you need additional sweetening, you could use a bit of stevia. Stevia is a natural sweetener that is non-caloric and has some additional anti-bacterial properties. Xylitol is another natural option that is non-caloric, has anti-bacterial properties, and won't impact blood sugar levels.
If you get frequent urinary tract infections, I would highly suggest you lower your intake of refined sugar, artificial sugar, and refined flour. All three of these things increase the likelihood of infection by feeding pathogenic bacteria. I would also highly suggest to start taking a good quality probiotic. This will build your immune system and make it more effective in getting rid of bacteria and viruses. The best way to be happy is to be healthy. Enjoy.
Related Cranberry Juice Pages:Cranberry Juice Overview
1: Worcester Polytechnic Institute (2008, July 25). How Cranberry Juice Can Prevent Urinary Tract Infections. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 10, 2009, from http://www.sciencedaily.com /releases/2008/07/080721152005.htm
2: Journal of the American Medical Association 271:751-754, 1994
3: New England Journal of Medicine October 8, 1998, Vol. 339, No. 13