Researchers have concluded that drinking cranberry juice does not prevent or treat urinary tract infections (UTIs), contradicting previous studies on the subject.
For decades women have used cranberry juice to treat mild cystitis or prevent recurring infections, and many GPs encourage women to try the treatment. Just earlier this year, scientists stated that drinking cranberry juice can prevent urine infections when drunk on a daily basis.
Cranberry products decrease risk of urinary tract infections
But the latest review in a systematic series published in the Cochrane Library has concluded that cranberry juice provides no meaningful benefit against cystitis.
In the current review, researchers gathered together evidence from 24 studies that involved a total of 4,473 people. These studies included 14 added since the last review in 2008.
Those in treatment groups were given cranberry juice, tablets or capsules, whilst those in control groups were given placebo cranberry products, water, methenamine hippurate, antibiotics, lactobacillus or nothing.
The researchers concluded that whilst some of the studies showed ‘small benefits’ for women suffering recurrent infections, they were not statistically significant, and women would have to consume two glasses of cranberry juice every day over long periods to prevent just one infection.
Lead researcher Dr Ruth Jepson, from the University of Stirling in Scotland, said: "Now that we've updated our review with more studies, the results suggest that cranberry juice is even less effective at preventing UTIs than was shown in the last update.
"We can't see a particular need for more studies of the effect of cranberry juice, as the majority of existing studies indicate that the benefit is small at best, and the studies have high drop-out rates."
"More studies of other cranberry products such as tablets or capsules may be justified, but only for women with recurrent UTIs, and only if these products contain the recommended amount of active ingredient”.
UTIs will usually pass within a few days or can be easily treated with a course of antibiotics. People with or without medical insurance should visit their GP if they suspect they have a urinary tract infection.
© ActiveQuote Ltd. 2012