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Researchers: Cranberry Juice, Products Not Useful In Preventing UTIs

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File photo of cranberries. (Photo by Darren McCollester/Getty Images)

File photo of cranberries. (Photo by Darren McCollester/Getty Images)

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WASHINGTON (CBS Baltimore) – Contrary to popular belief, cranberry juice and other products made from them are reportedly not useful in preventing urinary tract infections.

A new study, which was published in a 2012 edition of the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews and written by authors Jepson RG, Williams G, Craig JC, found that “[a]lthough some … studies demonstrated a small benefit for women with recurrent UTIs, there were no statistically significant differences when the results of a much larger study were included.”

“Prior to the current update [to the studies], it appeared there was some evidence that cranberry juice may decrease the number of symptomatic UTIs over a 12-month period, particularly for women with recurrent UTIs,” the authors additionally concluded. “The addition of 14 further studies suggests that cranberry juice is less effective than previously indicated.”

This new information contrasts a study published this July on the official website for the United States Department of Health and Human Services in Washington, D.C.

That investigation found that supplements and juice made from cranberries did, in fact, provide protection from UTIs in the almost 1,620 incidents documented in the 13 studies analyzed by researchers in Taiwan.

That study, which was published in the Archives of Internal Medicine and authored by Dr. Chien-Chang Lee of the National Taiwan University Hospital, found that “cranberry-containing products could reduce the incidence rate of UTIs for people at high risk,” including pregnant women and elderly persons of both genders.

The researchers in the newer study were reportedly motivated to “assess the effectiveness of cranberry products in preventing UTIs in susceptible populations” because of the widely accepted legitimacy of cranberries’ preventative capabilities.

According to the abstract summary, researchers studied multiple trials, performed Internet research, verified previous articles on the topic and talked with companies that promote and distribute cranberry products during the course of their analysis.

“Given the large number of dropouts/withdrawals from studies (mainly attributed to the acceptability of consuming cranberry products particularly juice, over long periods), and the evidence that the benefit for preventing UTI is small, cranberry juice cannot currently be recommended for the prevention of UTIs,” they found.

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