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A cranberry a day keeps the doctor away…

It's definitely apples that folklore suggests keeps the doctor away.

Well, it's actually both and I've got science behind me on this one. Recent clinical and biomedical research support the long held belief that drinking cranberry juice helps prevent urinary tract infections or UTIs.

So mom was right! And here's the science behind it. You may not know that urine is normally sterile. But if bacteria gets into your bladder, kidneys or anything else involved in collecting or transporting urine, you end up with an infection.

Ninety percent of UTIs are caused by E. coli.

According to the CDC, in the year 2000, there were 8.3 million doctor's visits related to UTIs and most of the patients were women. About 1 in 5 women will experience an infection during her lifetime. So this is a disease with a huge economic impact.

Studies show the frequency of UTIs is significantly lower in groups drinking cranberry juice or cranberry juice cocktail. Both were equally effective and the question is "Why?"

Laboratory studies have shown cranberry juice has a direct effect on the E. coli bacterium.

A few studies suggest that cranberry juice acidifies the urine which causes bacteriostasis or the inability of the E. coli to grow. But other studies don't support this conclusion which makes this theory controversial.

More recent studies show that cranberry drinks inhibit E. coli's ability to adhere to surface cells or epithelial cells of the urinary tract. That's important because E. coli must adhere to these surface cells to establish infection.

Research has shown sugars and other molecules in cranberry juice prevent E. coli's surface proteins from binding to receptors on the surface of the epithelial cells.

It's amazing to think doing something so simple can keep a common infection away.

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For more information…

Does cranberry juice prevent or treat urinary tract infection?
Article from the Journal of Family Medicine (Feb 2003) which summaries clinical studies on cranberry juice and urinary tract infections. Additional links provide access to other information.
For more information…

(Vaccinium macrocarpon)

Article from Mayo.com that presents evidence-based results of cranberry juice on various health aliments.
For more information…

How Cranberry Juice Can Prevent Urinary Tract Infections
Great summary of the evidence that cranberry juice can interfere with the ability of E. coli, a common cause of UTI to bind to cells that line the urinary tract.
For more information…


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