Cran­ber­ries help uri­nary tract in­fec­tions, but not as juice

Pakistan Observer - - KARACHI CITY -

DASH­ING out for a bot­tle of cran berry juice when a uri­nary tract in fec­tion hits may not be so help­ful af­ter all. Re­search pub­lished in the Amer­i­can Jour­nal of Ob­stet­rics and Gyne­col­ogy sug­gests it could just be an old wives’ tale.

The ac­tive in­gre­di­ents in cran­ber­ries pre­vent bac­te­ria from ad­her­ing to the blad­der wall. A uri­nary tract in­fec­tion (UTI) can af­fect any part of the uri­nary sys­tem, kid­neys, blad­der or ure­thra.

More than 3 mil­lion Amer­i­cans, mostly women, ex­pe­ri­ence a UTI ev­ery year. Symp­toms in­clude fre­quent, painful uri­na­tion, pelvic pain and traces blood in the urine. The in­fec­tion does not nor­mally last long, and most pa­tients self-diagnose.

For many, the first port of call is a box of cran­berry juice. How­ever, new re­search sug­gests that while cran­berry cap­sules can help, cran­berry juice may be lit­tle more than a panacea. Dr. Ti­mothy Boone, PhD, vice dean of the Texas A&M Health Science Cen­ter Col­lege of Medicine in Hous­ton, and col­leagues wanted to know if cran­ber­ries can re­ally help. Cran­berry cap­sules re­duce the preva­lence of UTI The team stud­ied 160 pa­tients aged 23-88 years who were un­der­go­ing elec­tive gy­ne­co­log­i­cal surgery be­tween 20112013. Nor­mally, 10-64% of women un­der­go­ing this kind of surgery will de­velop a UTI fol­low­ing the re­moval of the catheter. Half of the pa­tients re­ceived two cran­berry juice cap­sules twice daily - the equiv­a­lent in strength to two 8-ounce serv­ings of cran­berry juice - for 6 weeks af­ter surgery. The oth­ers took a placebo. Cran­berry cap­sules low­ered the risk of UTIs by 50%. In the cran­berry treat­ment group, 19% of pa­tients de­vel­oped a UTI, com­pared with 38% of the placebo group.

So, how does it work? For a UTI to oc­cur, bac­te­ria must ad­here to and in­vade the lin­ing of the blad­der. Cran­ber­ries con­tain A-type proan­tho­cyani­dins (PACs), which in­ter­fere with the bac­te­ria’s abil­ity to the blad­der wall, re­duc­ing the like­li­hood of in­fec­tion. How­ever, the re­searchers point out that since a cran­berry cap­sule pro­vides the equiv­a­lent of 8 ounces of cran­berry juice, a pa­tient would need a lot of pure cran­berry to pre­vent an in­fec­tion.

Dr. Boone ex­plains: “It takes an ex­tremely large con­cen­tra­tion of cran­berry to pre­vent bac­te­rial ad­he­sion. This amount of con­cen­tra­tion is not found in the juices we drink. There’s a pos­si­bil­ity it was stronger back in our grand­par­ents’ day, but def­i­nitely not in mod­ern times.”

“Cran­berry juice, es­pe­cially the juice con­cen­trates you find at the gro­cery store, will not treat a UTI or blad­der in­fec­tion. It can of­fer more hy­dra­tion and pos­si­bly wash bac­te­ria from your body more ef­fec­tively, but the ac­tive in­gre­di­ent in cran­berry is long gone by the time it reaches your blad­der.”

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