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Cranberries – A Natural Remedy against Urine Infections

Cranberries have been traditionally used for decades to prevent infections of the urinary tract. That is why, in the last few years, cranberry Vaccinium macrocarpon has been the protagonist of several research lines.

What is cranberry?

Cranberry is a fruit from the Vaccinium macrocarpon Aiton species, which belongs to the Vaccinium L. genus of the Ericaceae family.

The plant from which the berries are extracted is a small perennial shrub, it can slowly grow from 10 to 20 cm. The plant is native to the Eastern United States. Native Americans used cranberries as food, as a natural remedy for several diseases and as a dye due to its intense red color.

Cranberries are subspherical berries of a whitish color that turn red as they mature, eventually becoming a bright pink or crimson color. They measure approximately 9-14 mm and have a smooth surface.

Benefits of cranberry

  • It prevents bacterial adherence to the bladder and urethra, specially by E. coli bacteria
  • It has antioxidant properties.
  • It supports the health of the cardiovascular and immune systems.
  • It blocks the pathogens that cause tooth decay, which improves our oral health.

It is being studied how both its antioxidant supply as well as its preventive capacity can be used against urine infections.

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Cranberries, either in their natural form, juice, tablets, or capsules, have an antiseptic and antibiotic effect on the germs that cause urinary tract infections. It is particularly effective on the Escherichia coli according to several studies that have been carried out up until now.

Women are tend to suffer more from recurrent urinary infections like cystitis, which an infection of the bladder, as well as frequent infections during pregnancy.

In its multidisciplinary guide about cystitis, the Spanish Association of Urology warns that between a 50 and 60% of pre-menopausal women suffers some kind of urine infection (a 90% are cystitis), and the highest peak takes place between 18 and 39 years of age, which coincides with an increase of sexual activity.

Approximately a 20% of women suffer regularly from cystitis and urinary infections which produce unpleasant symptoms, such as a burning and pain when urinating.

Cranberries are rich in proanthocyanidins (PAC), which are a type of antioxidants flavonoids that prevent and relieve urinary infections by preventing the bacteria from adhering to the walls of the bladder.

From this hypothesis, several research lines are trying to confirm its role in the prevention of different bladder infections, like cystitis, renal parenchymal (pyelonephritis), or in the prostate (acute prostatitis or a chronic bacterial infection).

In fact, a review of this studies published by the prestigious Cochrane Foundation proved that cranberries reduce the risk of suffering recurrent cystitis in a 35%. However, cranberries do not have the ability to release the bacteria since they are adhered to these cells from the urinary tract.

This could explain why the cranberry can be effective for the prevention of urinary tract infections but not as an effective treatment.

Cranberries and the Urinary Tract

 

Natural cranberry is more acid than other fruits, which is why we do not tend to eat it alone. Cranberry in tablets as a dietary supplement is much easier to take.

Those who are prone to suffering from chronic urinary infections can follow a natural treatment with cranberry dietary supplements, which is an effective and safe alternative, as opposed to anti-biotic treatments. Cranberries are very rich in tannins and they are used to prevent and treat cystitis and urinary infections. Cranberries come from a heather bush and its production peak takes place between the months of May and June.

Cranberries have positive effects for the prevention and treatment of urinary tract infections. It contributes to health overall and more specifically to the health of the immune system due to its high percentage of vitamins.

What are the properties of cranberries to treat urinary infections?

Cranberries are a type of fruit with a high percentage of Vitamin B2. Its ingredients include tannins which are a very valuable component to treat urinary tract infections.

Tannins react against the attack of bacteria, preventing their colonization and multiplication within the organism. Cranberries improve our health in general. Because of this, they are used to prevent and treat urinary infections, both in Europe and the United States.

Effects of Cranberries

One of the components of cranberries are tannins, which have the ability to block the attack of bacteria and to stop urinary infections and cystitis.

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The most common causes for urinary infections are the E.Coli bacteria, which can find optimal conditions to multiply and colonize the mucous membranes of the urinary tract.

Tannins protect the mucous membranes against the attack of bacteria, thanks to these substances the bacteria are excreted through the urine, avoiding the inflammation. E. Coli bacteria are immune to most antibiotics.

Therefore, the active ingredients of cranberries combined with antibiotics can be used to ensure that the bacteria do not find the perfect environment to proliferate in the urinary tract.

Moreover, the tannins from the cranberries have a high Vitamin B2 percentage which is highly beneficial for our health. Tannins also help with the metabolism of carbohydrates and to transform fats into energy. Another of the effects of Vitamin B2 is the inhibition of the inflammation in the mucous membranes.

It is advisable to take cranberry nutritional supplements for:

  • Women or patients with urine or urinary infections
  • Women who suffer from cystitis or bladder infections
  • To prevent and treat bladder infections
  • To improve the performance in cases of weakness
  • To strengthen the immune defenses

Cranberries encourage the physical balance

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Intake and dose of cranberry supplements:

In medicine, cranberries are mainly used to prevent and treat urinary infections which tend to affect specially women. They should be taken regularly to make sure that the fruit provides as much efficacy as possible. These cranberries can be consumed as juices or as food supplements in capsules.

Consuming a tablet, capsule, or glass of cranberry juice every three or four hours, will provide the body with the vitamins and tannins that it needs. Natural cranberry has a bitter taste and it is not usually eaten alone, rather, it is mixed with other foods.

Cranberry juice is usually combined with other types of juice. Cranberry jelly is usually used to match salty dishes. Even the infusions will provide certain benefits. For those who do not like its flavor, the best choice is to take it as a dietary supplement.

The experts say that those products that use cranberry have to be valued/standardized for PAC and contain at least 140 mg of proanthocyadinins (PAC), that difficult its adherence to the bacteria from the urinary tract epithelium.

In the White Book made by the Ibero-american Society of Neurology and Urogynecology and the Spanish Society of Community Medicine, it is stated that cranberry must be taken 30 consecutive days to make sure that the E. coli does not repopulate the urinary tracts. Moreover, this should be done at least three or four months every year.

It is also advisable to do two servings to create a morn uniform effect on the urinary tracts.

Cranberry is safe and it does not usually have side effects. It can be taken for long periods of time as a preventive measure. However, you should consult your doctor before using it, since it can interact with some medicines.

Who can specially benefit from taking Cranberries?

Those who tend to suffer cystitis and urinary infections.

  • People with vitamin deficiencies.
  • Those who want to improve their physical performance.
  • People who want to enhance their immune system.
  • To prevent bacterial infections.

Tips to avoid urinary infections

Some of the factors that increase the risk of suffering cystitis are, apart from sexual relations, eating acid or spicy foods, caffeine, alcohol, and carbonated drinks.

To avoid the infections, it is advisable to drink at least 1.5 liters of liquid daily, urinate every two or three hours, as well as taking cranberries, and specially wash your genitals before and after having sex with neutral soaps, use underwear made of cotton and avoid adjusted clothing.

The opinion of specialists about cranberries:

The benefits and effects of cranberries on health have been known for centuries.

The products that are commonly combined with cranberries are usually enriched with sugar. Thus, cranberry dietary supplements are the best alternative, since they have a higher concentration of the ingredients. Its regular consumption also stimulates the immune system.

Cranberry supplements have no side effects nor contraindications

No side effects or contraindications have been found due to the consumption of cranberry supplements. They are usually well-tolerated because they are made with natural ingredients.

This supplement does not produce any type of interaction when it is combined with other supplements or medicines. The natural and raw cranberry can cause stomach discomfort because of its acidity, which is why it would be more advisable to take this fruit as a supplement.

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Cranberries have been traditionally used for decades to prevent infections of the urinary tract. That is why, in the last few years, cranberry Vaccinium macrocarpon has been the protagonist of several research lines. What is cranberry? Cranberry is a fruit from the Vaccinium macrocarpon Aiton species, which belongs to the Vaccinium L. genus of the Ericaceae family. The plant from which the berries are extracted is a small perennial shrub, it can slowly grow from 10 to 20 cm. The plant is native to the Eastern United States. Native Americans used cranberries as food, as a natural remedy for several…

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