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LMU 53 – Harnessing Cranberry for Urinary Tract Infection Prevention: A Breakthrough Study

Cranberry Drink and Supplements Shown to Reduce Recurrence

LMU 53 – Harnessing Cranberry for Urinary Tract Infection Prevention: A Breakthrough Study

Source: the FASEB journal (April 2017)

Lifestyle Medicine Update (May 19, 2017)


Recurrent urinary tract infections (UTIs), often underestimated, can severely disrupt the quality of life. However, a groundbreaking study published in the journal Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology in April 2017 highlights the potential of cranberry consumption to alleviate this pervasive condition. With UTIs affecting a significant portion of the population, particularly women, this study’s findings offer a ray of hope for better management and prevention.

The UTI Conundrum: Prevalence and Challenges

A staggering reality emerges as research indicates that 1 in 2 women experiences a urinary tract infection during their lifetime. Alarmingly, between 20-30% of women are prone to recurrent UTIs, which can be triggered by factors ranging from sexual activity and pregnancy to conditions like diabetes, multiple sclerosis, kidney stones, stroke, spinal cord injuries, and compromised immunity. Catheter usage and weakened immune systems further elevate the risk of UTIs.

UTIs: A Common and Serious Medical Issue

Urinary tract infections represent the most common bacterial infections worldwide. In the United States alone, UTIs contribute to nearly 7 million office visits and 1 million emergency department visits annually, leading to approximately 100,000 hospitalizations. Pregnant women and pediatric cases accentuate the gravity of the issue. While UTIs are generally treatable with antibiotics, they can escalate to kidney infections or sepsis, becoming life-threatening in some instances.

Cranberry’s Potential: Insights from a Pivotal Study

The 2017 meta-analysis study holds significant implications in the realm of UTI management. Drawing insights from 1,498 women, researchers from Tufts University, UCLA, and Biofortis Research presented compelling data at the Experimental Biology 2017 event in Chicago. The study showcases that daily cranberry intake reduces the risk of recurrent UTIs by an impressive 23%. Notably, researchers suggest that cranberry consumption in the form of capsules or tablets yields optimal results, potentially providing a more concentrated dose of the crucial active ingredients. Intriguingly, recent research on cranberry drinks has also demonstrated promising outcomes, revealing a 27% risk reduction in UTI recurrence for women who recently underwent antibiotic treatment.

Unveiling Cranberry’s Mechanism of Action

Cranberries, over the years, have garnered attention for their potential in UTI prevention. The key lies in specific components of cranberry and cranberry extract capsules and tablets, which appear to hinder E. coli bacteria’s ability to adhere to the urinary tract walls. This hindrance facilitates the elimination of bacteria during urination, thereby reducing the risk of infection. However, it is vital to emphasize that antibiotics, prescribed by medical professionals, remain the primary mode of treatment for active UTIs.

Guidance and Takeaway

The study unequivocally emphasizes that while cranberry products hold the potential to prevent recurrent UTIs, they are not a substitute for medical intervention. If confronted with an ongoing UTI, immediate medical attention and antibiotic treatment are imperative. However, individuals who are predisposed to recurrent UTIs may find incorporating a daily cranberry drink or supplement into their routine beneficial for averting future occurrences.

Looking Forward: Implications for Health and Wellness

The 2017 study heralds a new era in UTI management, underscoring the potential of cranberry as a preventive tool. By reducing the recurrence of UTIs, cranberry offers individuals the opportunity to regain control over their health and wellbeing, mitigating the distress caused by this common yet often debilitating condition.


  1. Fu Z, Liska A, Talan D, Chung M. An updated meta-analysis of cranberry and recurrent urinary tract infections in women. The FASEB journal April 2017. Vol 31 No 1 supplement
  2. Niemean KM, Dicklin MR, Schild AL et al. Cranberry beverage consumption reduces antibiotic use for clinical urinary tract infection in women with a recent history of urinary tract infection. The FASEB journal. April 2017. Vol 31 No1 supplement.

Eat Smart, Live Well, Look Great

Dr. Meschino

Dr. James Meschino


Dr. James Meschino, DC, MS, ROHP, is an educator, author, and researcher having lectured to thousands of healthcare professionals across North America. He holds a Master’s Degree in Science with specialties in human nutrition and biology and is recognized as an expert in the field of nutrition, anti-aging, fitness, and wellness as well as the author of numerous books.

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