Patients suffering from a UTI are often advised to take a glass of cranberry juice everyday. It has been used for years to prevent colonization of bacteria in the urinary tract. Numerous clinical trials have proved that cranberry juice can prevent occurrence of a UTI (urinary tract infection) and can play a very important role to keep the urinary tract healthy. So, can cranberry juice cure a UTI? Scientists haven't come across any conclusive evidence in support of its ability to cure the infection. The issue is discussed below:
Urinary tract infection is caused by the species of bacteria known as E.coli. The bacteria usually attacks any organ of the urinary tract and with no treatment, spreads to adjoining areas. As we all know, the urinary system that is responsible for production and excretion of urine consists of two kidneys, a urinary bladder, two ureters and urethra. In most cases, UTI in both men and women affects the bladder (the place where urine is stored). In conjunction with antibiotic therapy, doctors often tell their patients to increase cranberry juice for the treatment of UTI. As cranberry juice helps relieve symptoms of a UTI, many patients ask, is cranberry juice a curative treatment for UTI. It is discussed below:
Can Cranberry Juice Cure Urinary Tract Infections?
Cranberry juice displays high acidic properties as it is a rich source of malic and citric acids. As a result, drinking cranberry juice makes liquid excretory product (urine) more acidic. This in turn creates an acidic environment in the urinary tract, which is unfavorable for the growth of bacteria. Also, cranberry juice contains proanthocyanidins (PAC), a name given to a class of flavonoids (antioxidants) that do not allow the bacteria to attach on the walls of the urinary tract. That is why, it is said that a glass of cranberry juice a day can help to keep UTI away. Doctors also assert that one of the best ways to minimize the chances of UTI is to have pure cranberry juice daily (not the one mixed with cocktails).
Cranberry Juice and UTI: Cranberry juice is regarded as a natural antibiotic as it does an excellent job of preventing bacterial growth in the urinary tract. However, what about the person who's facing symptoms of a UTI? UTI means the bacteria in large numbers have entered the urinary system and are stuck up in the lining of the urinary tract. Now, is it possible for the cranberry juice to detach them from the tissues lining the walls of the urinary tract? Studies that have been conducted have shown that cranberry juice has not shown much success to disengage the bacteria from the surface of the urinary tract.
In yet another study, a solution containing urinary tract cells and 'UTI causing bacteria' was analyzed under a microscope. The examination revealed that the bacteria clung to the cells. Cranberry juice was then slowly introduced into the solution, and it was observed that the quite a few cells were able to free themselves from the bacteria. A sort of repelling effect was noticed between the bacterium and the cells. This study indicates that the bacteria lose their ability to hold the urinary tract cells properly in the presence of cranberry juice. This only proves that cranberry juice weakens the bacterium, making it incapable to cause any infection. However, in an environment where the E.coli bacteria have already spread in the urinary system and are strongly connected to the tissues of the urinary tract, it becomes extremely difficult for the compounds of the cranberry juice to dislodge the bacteria. Hence, the answer to the question 'can cranberry juice cure a UTI is 'No'.
Preventing Recurring UTI: Recurrent UTI is a headache for many as one has to put up with the symptoms again. The infection may come back 6 months or even two weeks after the previous UTI has been successfully treated. Using antibiotics every time to treat UTI increases the risk of bacteria getting resistant to the antibiotics. A better alternative would be to drink cranberry juice on a daily basis. Some studies suggest that the juice might work to prevent recurrence of UTI. In one study it was observed that the incidence of UTI over a period of 1 year reduced drastically in people taking cranberry juice daily. The PAC in cranberries is chiefly responsible to keep the bacteria away from binding the urinary tract lining. In the presence of PAC, the bacteria finds it difficult to reattach to the urinary tract lining. That is why, drinking cranberry juice can be helpful to keep UTI reinfection at bay. Taking unsweetened cranberry juice that does not contain any added sugar is found to be more effective in preventing UTI from recurring.
So, ignoring antibiotics and just drinking cranberry juice for treating UTI would definitely not work to drive away the infection. So, after consulting a doctor, one should accordingly take the antibiotic treatment to resolve the issue.