If you’ve ever had a urinary tract infection (UTI), your doctor and/or friends or relatives may have advised you to start drinking cranberry juice on a regular basis. This has been a popular remedy for common bacterial infections, but until recently, how exactly cranberry juice or capsules helped was unclear. Reuters.com reports that a new review of past evidence suggests that certain compounds in cranberries may “prevent bacteria from attaching to tissue in the urinary tract, thereby warding off infections.” The study also suggests that similar benefits may also be derived from other berries.

The analysis was conducted by a team led by Dr. Chih-Hung Wang from National Taiwan University Hospotal and published in the Archives of Internal Medicine. It was based on 10 earlier studies in which a total of around 1,500 people were assigned to one of three groups. One group took a dose of cranberry products on a daily basis, the second took cranberry-free placeboes, and the third took nothing at all. The group of people who took cranberry daily ended up with 38 percent fewer cases of UTI. Women who have had multiple UTIs in the past enjoyed a 47-percent reduction in their risk of contracting another infection when they took daily doses of cranberry products.

However, experts consulted by Reuters.com suggest taking the results of this analysis with a grain of salt. While taking cranberry products may not be the ultimate key to UTI prevention, pharmaceutical researcher Bill Gurley at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock, told Reuters, “Incoporating a little cranberry juice in your diet certainly can’t hurt.” Gurley, who is not involved in this study, did caution readers to note that the advisable dosage or form (whether tablets or juice) has not yet been determined.

(Photo by Julie Falk via Flickr Creative Commons)

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