Cranberry juice may not help your UTI after all

trending 25/05/2018

Most of us have always been taught that if you're suffering a UTI, a good dose of cranberry juice will be your saving grace. 

But it turns out this may not have been true all along.

Ocean Spray Cranberry Health Institute is the world's leading cranberry product provider, and are currently filing a petition with the US Food and Drug Administration Agency to market some of their products as preventing UTIs. You would have seen their juices on our shelves here in NZ. 

But a study that they themselves conducted in 2016 on cranberry juice's effectiveness at preventing recurrent UTIs had some women participants have three UTIs in a six-month period. The first study to suggest drinking cranberry juice coild prevent or even treat UTIs was published by the Journal of Urology in 1984, followed by may other studies of the years, most of which concluded that they needed more evidence.

The 2016 study that Ocean Spray was involved in found that drinking cranberry juice prevented symptoms of UTIs compared to a placebo group that drank fake cranberry juice. But when other researchers compared actual, culture-confirmed UTIs, there was no significant difference between women who drank cranberry juice and women who didn't.

Another 2016 study by Yale, focusing on women in nursing homes (a population prone to UTIs), also found no relationship between taking concentrated cranberry supplements and preventing UTIs.

The final decision on the Ocean Spray petition is due later this year, taking into account many other studies led by Christina Khoo, the head of research science at Ocean Spray Cranberry Health Institute, and Amy Howell, a scientist with Rutgers University's Marucci Center for Blueberry and Cranberry Research.

Well we guess the jury is still out on this one, but there are some other thoughts on why drinking the juice may help:

"Cranberry juice is juice — it's high in vitamin-C, it's supposed to be slightly diuretic so it makes you urinate more frequently, which is a good thing if you have a tendency toward urinary tract infections" says Betsy Foxman, the director of the Center for Molecular and Clinical Epidemiology of Infectious Diseases at the University of Michigan.

So there may not be any science behind the whole thing after all, apart from drinking juice makes you pee more. Well, at least it tastes good! Cosmopolitans anyone?!