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Cranberries and UTI

JAMA Network reports A Randomized Clinical Trial out of Yale that is debunking one our most commonly used ‘old wives tales’.  For years woman have been told to consume cranberries for the prevention of UTI’s and bacterial formation in the bladder.  The thought behind the claim: the consumption of the proanthocyanidin rich cranberries actually lowered the presence of bacteriuria plus pyuria, as well as, increased the acidity of urine to prevent UTIs.

The study was a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled efficacy trial involving 185 English-speaking women aged 65 years or older, with or without bacteriuria plus pyuria at baseline, residing in 21 nursing homes located within 50 miles of New Haven, Connecticut (August 24, 2012-October 26, 2015).  

Of the 185 trial patients, 92 women were given capsules containing the cranberries most potent components, 93 women were given a placebo.  The woman were assessed every 2 months over a 1-year study surveillance.  The capsules did not seem to do much for either reducing the amount of bacteria in the women’s urine, or for lowering the number of UTIs during the study; both the women taking the cranberry capsules and the placebo had similar rates of both.

“I was hoping it would work,” said Dr. Manisha Juhani-Mehta“I’m not sure it’s worth spending money on, particularly for patients on a fixed income.”



Among older women residing in nursing homes, administration of cranberry capsules compared with placebo resulted in no significant difference in presence of bacteriuria plus pyuria over 1 year. Dr. Lindsay E. Nicolle, an expert on urinary tract infections at the University of Manitoba, concluded in her JAMA Report that the evidence is “convincing that cranberry products should not be recommended as a medical intervention for the prevention of UTI.” She added that “clinicians should not be promoting cranberry use by suggesting that there is proven, or even possible, benefit.”




JAMAA Randomized Clinical Trial | October 27, 2016. dos:10.1001| jama.2016.16141 : Manisha Juthani-Mehta, MD1; Peter H. Van Ness, PhD, MPH2; Luann Bianco, BA2; et al Manisha Juthani-Mehta, MD, Section of Infectious Diseases, Department of Internal Medicine, Yale University School of Medicine, PO Box 208022, New Haven, CT 06520 ([email protected]).

JAMA |Cranberry for Prevention of Urinary Tract Infection| October 27, 2016. dos:10.1001| jama.2016.16140 : Lindsay E. Nicolle, MD, FRCPC1


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