The medical community is not short of old wives’ tales. From ‘an apple a day’ to ‘carrots improving eyesight’, there are plenty of unfounded claims relating to your health. The most recent one seems to be backed up with more research than most – eating cranberries is another way of preventing Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs). But is there any truth to this?
The story behind the fruit
The origins of this remedy stem from the pre-antibiotic era of medicine when it was thought that making your urine more acidic would be an effective treatment for UTIs. Cranberry juice was thought to lower the pH of urine due to the body’s production of hippuric acid needed to metabolise the juice. However, it was later proven that for the acid to reach antibacterial levels a substantial amount of cranberry juice would need to be ingested, far more than could be drunk. For a long time, that was that.
More recent studies, however, have focused on a chemical in the cranberries themselves, known as A2-type proanthocyanidins (PACs). The initial claim was that PACs could bind to incoming bacteria and prevent it from adhering to surfaces, thereby preventing the formation of biofilm and subsequently preventing the ensuing UTI.
The cranberry craze
Cranberry juice was already still touted as helping against UTIs, a remnant of the acidic urine theory, but this new research was a green light for many companies to go even further. Cranberry juice was claimed to “prevent UTIs”, with businesses looking to cash in on this new revelation.
Unfortunately, this boom in businesses making this claim was more or less off the back of one study, which was soon scrutinised in the wake of these claims. It didn’t take long for further, more detailed studies to be made.
Clarification on the cranberry theory
The research conducted afterwards threw some shade onto the initial claims. Multiple major studies were conducted, and many of them found no link between the PACs found in cranberry juice and preventing UTIs. The issue was that over-the-counter cranberry juice didn’t contain nearly enough PACs to have an effect. However, when the dosage was increased by using cranberry capsules, the results were mixed and generally positive.
To this day, the full effects of PACs on UTIs are not fully known. Ingesting large amounts of it does seem to have a positive impact, and research continues to produce mixed results. What is becoming clearer is that your standard bottle of cranberry juice is unlikely to produce definite results.
UroShield – the better option for preventing CAUTIs
If it’s definite results you’re looking for, then look no further. UroShield is a small device that clips onto the end of a catheter and uses low-frequency ultrasonic Surface Acoustic Waves (SAW) to vibrate the surface, preventing bacteria from adhering and lowering the rate of infection. And unlike cranberry juice, there’s a significant amount of evidence to prove it works.
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