Cranberry products reduce the risk for symptomatic urinary tract infections (UTIs) in women with recurrent UTIs, in children, and in patients receiving interventions such as radiation therapy for bladder or prostate cancer, a new review finds.
Elisabeth M. Hodson, MBBS, of The Children’s Hospital at Westmead in Australia, and colleagues conducted an updated systematic review of 50 randomized trials or quasi-randomized studies involving 8857 patients from multiple countries. In a meta-analysis of 26 studies, cranberry products significantly reduced the risk for symptomatic, culture‐verified UTIs by 30% compared with placebo or no treatment, the investigators reported in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. Cranberry products significantly reduced the risk for UTIs by 26% in women with recurrent UTIs, 54% in children (without neurogenic bladder), and 53% in individuals susceptible to UTIs due to an intervention. The certainty of the evidence was moderate.
Current data do not support the use of cranberry products in older adults residing in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities, patients with neuromuscular bladder dysfunction and incomplete bladder emptying, or pregnant women, Dr Hodson, editor of Cochrane Kidney and Transplant, and colleagues reported. The certainty of the evidence was low.
Cranberry products included cranberry juice, tablets, capsules, or powder taken for at least 1 month. According to the investigators, cranberries contain proanthocyanidins that prevent adherence of Escherichia coli to urothelial cells lining the bladder walls. Proanthocyanidin concentration can be reduced during processing. No formal proanthocyanidin dose, formulation, or regimen has been established for UTI prevention. Use of cranberry products may be associated with adverse gastrointestinal events.
This is the latest update of a review first published in 1998 and updated in 2003, 2004, 2008, and 2012.
“This is a review of the totality of the evidence and as new evidence emerges, new findings might occur,” senior author, Jonathan Craig, MBChB, PhD, vice president and executive dean of the College of Medicine & Public Health at Flinders University in Australia, stated in a news release. “In this case, the new evidence shows a very positive finding that cranberry juice can prevent UTI in susceptible people.”
The investigators did not have sufficient data to determine whether cranberry products are more or less effective than probiotics or antibiotics in preventing UTI.
Williams G, Hahn D, Stephens JH, Craig JC, Hodson EM. Cranberries for preventing urinary tract infections. Cochrane Database Systematic Rev. Published online April 17, 2023. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD001321.pub6
A myth no more: Cranberry products can prevent urinary tract infections for women: New medical evidence shows consuming cranberry products is an effective way to prevent a UTI. News release. ScienceDaily, April 20, 2023.