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Benefits of Cranberry Extract for UTIs: Everything You Need to Know

Published : July 2, 2021 4 mins read Updated On : Jun 17, 2024

Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) are infections in any part of the urinary system, which includes the kidneys, ureters, bladder, and urethra. Most UTIs involve the lower urinary tract, the bladder and the urethra. Urinary tract infections mostly happen in women. Every 1 in 2 women suffer through UTI but urinary tract infections in men are also common.

Symptoms of UTIs:

  • Frequent Urination: An increased need to urinate, often producing only small amounts of urine.
  • Burning Sensation: Pain or a burning sensation when urinating.
  • Cloudy Urine: Urine may appear cloudy or milky.
  • Strong Odor: Urine with a strong, unpleasant smell.
  • Pelvic Pain: Discomfort or pain in the lower abdomen, especially in women.
  • Bloody Urine: Presence of blood in the urine, causing it to appear red or pink.
  • Fever and Chills: Often present in more severe cases, indicating a possible kidney infection.

Causes of UTIs:

  • Bacteria: Most commonly Escherichia coli (E. coli) from the gastrointestinal tract. This bacteria can enter the urinary tract through the urethra and multiply in the bladder.
  • Sexual Activity: Can introduce bacteria into the urinary tract.
  • Poor Hygiene: Wiping from back to front after bowel movements can introduce bacteria to the urethra.
  • Urinary Catheters: Use of catheters can introduce bacteria and increase the risk of infection.
  • Blockages: Kidney stones or an enlarged prostate can block the flow of urine and lead to infection.
  • Immune System Disorders: Conditions like diabetes can compromise the immune system, increasing susceptibility to infections.
  • Menopause: Changes in the urinary tract post-menopause can increase the risk of UTIs in women.
There are several home remedies for managing UTIs. Among the various at home treatments that are said to prevent or treat UTI, Cranberry juice is on the top of that list. But does this natural cranberry extract for UTI really work? And if so, why choose cranberry extract supplement over cranberry juice. How does it work? Let's go through the Cranberry extract benefits for UTI Here are some facts that you would want to know.

Cranberry 

Cranberry Extract for UTI Treatment

Cranberry extract is rich in Proanthocyanidins A or more popularly known as PAC. It is a flavonoid present in cranberry extracts which has anti-bacterial properties. It helps cleanse and protect the urinary tract by preventing Escherichia coli, the bacteria causing UTI, from sticking to the urinary tract walls.

You need a high concentration of PACs because they are the actual active ingredient in cranberry extracts that help with UTI. Bacteria causing UTI have hair-like structures called fimbriae. They attach to the cells of the bladder walls using fimbriae. PACs prevent these structures from attaching to the wall of the urinary tract by attaching to them. Bacteria can then be safely flushed from the body during urination.
One study found that 1500 women who took cranberry supplements reduced the risk of UTI recurrence by 26% (1).
Other studies have also found that cranberry products are helpful preventing UTIs from coming back in (2)

  • women with a history of UTIs
  • older women in nursing homes
  • otherwise, healthy girls

Why Choose Cranberry Extract Over Cranberry Juice?

First cranberry juice for UTI is loaded with sugar and secondly and most importantly, it just doesn't have enough PACs to help with UTI whatsoever. The PACs present in cranberry juice are not enough to help treat the UTI and will not reach the bladder to perform any of these functions.
Supplements with cranberry extract are a more concentrated source of the active compounds thought to be helpful in UTI treatment.
One study in 145 women with history of UTIs found that those who took cranberry extract over cranberry juice received 18.5 mg more cranberry proanthocyanidin (3).

Conclusion
Cranberry extract has emerged as a promising natural remedy for UTIs due to its high concentration of proanthocyanidins (PACs), which inhibit bacterial adhesion to the urinary tract. This mechanism helps prevent and reduce UTI recurrence effectively. Compared to cranberry juice, cranberry extract supplements offer a more potent source of PACs without the excess sugar found in juice. Studies have shown significant benefits in reducing UTI recurrence, making cranberry extract a favorable option for managing and preventing UTIs, especially in those with recurrent infections.

FAQs

1. What is the fastest way to cure a urine infection?
The fastest way to cure a urinary tract infection (UTI) is to take prescribed antibiotics, stay hydrated, and avoid irritants like caffeine and alcohol.

2. Which fruits are good for urine infection?
Fruits beneficial for urinary tract infections include cranberries, blueberries, and oranges. These fruits are rich in antioxidants and vitamin C, which help prevent bacteria from adhering to the urinary tract.

3. How long does it take for cranberry juice to work?
Cranberry juice may start showing effects within 8-12 hours but is more effective as a preventive measure. For acute UTIs, antibiotics provide faster and more reliable treatment.

4. What is the best time to drink cranberry juice?
The best time to drink cranberry juice is with meals or shortly after eating. This timing enhances absorption and reduces the risk of stomach upset. Drink consistently for preventive benefits.

author
Soumil Vartak
Health and Fitness enthusiast

Soumil is really passionate about health and fitness. He provides great insight on various trends about health and fitness. By writing about these topics he try to provide key insight on diet and e... Read More

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