27 May

Cranberry Juice, Urinary Tract Infections and Antibiotic Resistance

Of course, the' public relations people' for the 'cranberry juice people' are always going to shine the best possible light on the idea that cranberry juice can help to prevent urinary tract infections and that this in turn may help with the growing problem of antibiotic resistance.

I feel there could be something in this, so have posted below a press release from the PR people of the cranberry people so you can feel about their stance. It's worth a read.

Cranberry juice may prove natural ally to help prevent UTIs amid antibiotic resistance threat

Growing evidence that drinking cranberry juice may help support urinary tract health by reducing urinary tract infections (UTIs) to potentially alleviate concerns on global antibiotic resistance.

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) represent a global public health challenge and are the second most common type of infection. [i] With antibiotics the normal course of treatment, the World Health Organisation's (WHO) recent report on antimicrobial resistance singled out UTIs as one of the leading causes of antibiotic resistance. [ii]

In fact, resistance to fluoroquinolones, the antibiotic treatment most commonly used for the treatment of UTIs, is very widespread. Today, there are countries in many parts of the world where this treatment is now ineffective in more than half of patients, leading to the need to use 'last resort' antibiotics.[iii]

Now, research published in peer-reviewed Nutrition Bulletin (May 2014), suggests there is increasing evidence and expert support for the role cranberry juice can play as a natural ally in the reduction of recurrent UTIs and the maintenance of urinary tract health.

Here in the UK, UTIs account for one to three percent of all GP consultations. Half of the UK's female population will develop a UTI at least once in their lifetime and 20 to 30 per cent of those will suffer a recurrence.[iv]

The WHO's stark warnings about antibiotic resistance happening right now in every region of the world echoes comments previously made by England's Chief Medical Officer Dame Sally Davis, who referred to it as a 'ticking time bomb' and ranked it alongside terrorism as a threat to the nation.[v]

How does it work? The (simple) science

Ninety per cent of UTIs are caused by E.coli bacteria, which bind themselves to the cells lining the urinary tract. Sexual activity can multiply a woman's risk of a UTI by 14 times.

Unique cranberry compounds such as proanthocyanadins (PACs) may help keep certain bacteria from sticking, allowing them to then be naturally flushed from the body.

Dr Ann Pallett, Lead Clinical Infection Specialist, University Hospital Southampton Trust, commented: “UTIs are a common complaint but increasingly there are fewer routine antibiotics that are effective in treating them. Of concern, is that resistance is beginning to emerge towards even the most powerful broad spectrum antibiotics, due to the arrival of new strains of bacteria, transmitted from other parts of the world."

“Where preventative measures, such as consuming cranberry juice, can be taken to reduce the occurrence of UTIs, this can only be a good thing. More studies are now needed to fully understand the role that cranberry products can play."

The mounting scientific evidence

The growing body of evidence has shown that drinking a glass of cranberry juice daily can help keep the urinary tract healthy and may help to prevent recurrent infection.

  • One study found that drinking 240ml of cranberry juice a day can help reduce the likelihood of bacteria gaining a foothold in the urinary tract for at least eight hours.[vi]
  • Another revealed that UTI recurrence rates over a year were reduced by 35 percent in young to middle-aged women who consumed 250ml of cranberry juice daily.[vii]
  • For children too, where 7% experience UTIs, cranberry juice may help to fight infection.[viii]
  • One 2012 trial gave 40 children cranberry juice, or a placebo and found a 65 per cent reduction in the incidence of UTIs.[ix]
  • In another study of 263 children with UTIs, those who drank cranberry juice over a six-month period had a far lower incidence of recurrence (27 episodes) than those who were given a placebo (47 episodes). Those who drank cranberry juice also saw a decrease in the number of days they needed antibiotics.[x]
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