Is Cranberry Juice Useful For UTI & How

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated -

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Cranberry juice can be helpful for the prevention of Urinary Tract Infections in some cases, but there is less evidence to support it as a treatment once an infection has been contracted. There are a number of conflicting opinions on the use of cranberry juice for UTIs, and the overall conclusion is that it can help, and it certainly doesn’t hurt to try.

This sweet and tart juice has been turned to by generations of women to prevent and treat urinary tract infections, although most doctors stick with the statement that only antibiotics can effectively eliminate these infections. Unfortunately, many women suffer from chronic UTIs, often 3-4 times per year, or more, and they do their best to avoid excessive use of antibiotics, for fear of becoming resistant and thus even more susceptible to bacterial infections.

Cranberry Juice Benefits

Cranberries, and thus their juice, do contain some beneficial vitamins, minerals and active ingredients that back up this claim of its ability to cure urinary tract infections. As per USDA, it is rich in potassium, calcium, phosphorus and vitamin C.

Most notably, cranberries contain A-type proanthocyanids, powerful antioxidants that make it difficult, if not impossible, for bacteria to attach to the walls of your bladder. Without bacteria latching on, the UTI can successfully be avoided. However, many forms of cranberry juice on the market are actually overly processed and lack many of these key ingredients. If you want to ensure that you are getting a health-impacting dose of antioxidants in your juice, search for 100% natural juice or concentrated tablets.

A glass of cranberry juice and a few cranberries on a spoon

Cranberries and cranberry juice Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Nutrition Facts

Cranberry juice, unsweetened
Serving Size :
NutrientValue
Water [g]87.13
Energy [kcal]46
Energy [kJ]194
Protein [g]0.39
Total lipid (fat) [g]0.13
Ash [g]0.15
Carbohydrate, by difference [g]12.2
Fiber, total dietary [g]0.1
Sugars, total including NLEA [g]12.1
Calcium, Ca [mg]8
Iron, Fe [mg]0.25
Magnesium, Mg [mg]6
Phosphorus, P [mg]13
Potassium, K [mg]77
Sodium, Na [mg]2
Zinc, Zn [mg]0.1
Copper, Cu [mg]0.06
Selenium, Se [µg]0.1
Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid [mg]9.3
Thiamin [mg]0.01
Riboflavin [mg]0.02
Niacin [mg]0.09
Vitamin B-6 [mg]0.05
Folate, total [µg]1
Folate, food [µg]1
Folate, DFE [µg]1
Choline, total [mg]3.3
Vitamin A, RAE [µg]2
Carotene, beta [µg]27
Vitamin A, IU [IU]45
Lutein + zeaxanthin [µg]68
Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) [mg]1.2
Vitamin K (phylloquinone) [µg]5.1
Fatty acids, total saturated [g]0.01
16:0 [g]0.01
18:0 [g]0
Fatty acids, total monounsaturated [g]0.02
16:1 [g]0
18:1 [g]0.02
Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated [g]0.07
18:2 [g]0.04
18:3 [g]0.03
Sources include : USDA

How to Use Cranberry Juice?

At least one glass of cranberry juice can be consumed every morning, and another later in the afternoon or evening, for the best preventative effects for urinary tract infections. However, cranberry juice should be used in the case of chronic UTI sufferers. The anti-bacterial properties of this juice are effective in a preventative sense, but once the bacteria has taken hold, cranberry juice is not medically proven as an effective form of treatment.

That being said, drinking beverages of any kind – which increases the amount you urinate – is critical when you are suffering from a UTI, as this can help to wash the bacteria from your bladder and detoxify the body. However, cranberry juice should be consumed more readily between infections, particularly if you tend to develop UTIs on a regular basis. This powerful juice has been shown to lessen the frequency of chronic UTIs.

Precautions to Take

If you are suffering with a urinary tract infection, it is unwise to think of this juice as your only option for treatment. As mentioned above, cranberry juice has shown itself to be more effective as a preventative measure than a treatment, and numerous research studies back this up. This juice does contain a high concentration of vitamin C, which is an immune system booster, as well as lower levels of vitamin A, calcium, iron and magnesium. Keeping your body strong when you are healthy is a much better choice than working to fix the problem once you get sick. Also, as mentioned above, ensure that you are drinking juice made from 100% cranberries, and not one that is artificially sweetened and packed with preservatives. The anti-bacterial components are found in the cranberries themselves, not an artificial flavor!

Ways to Prevent UTI

For those who have found success taking cranberry juice for their UTI in the past, it is also wise to combine other preventative and treatment measures, such as drinking plenty of fluids (other than this juice), proper hygiene following sexual intercourse, the elimination of irritating feminine products, and even potentially changing the birth control that you use.

The debate is still out on whether cranberry juice can definitively help in cases of urinary tract infections, but there is no harm in taking other precautions and preventative measures to keep yourself safe!

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About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, publisher and photographer with English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana (USA). He co-founded the literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and now serves as the Content Director for Stain’d Arts, a non-profit based in Denver, Colorado. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

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