Q: I published the original article on cranberry juice cocktail and urinary tract infections (Journal of Urology, May 1984). We also demonstrated in several nursing home studies that cranberry juice cocktail, not the plain juice, works best. Please spare your readers the tartness of the straight juice. — Anthony E. Sobota, PhD
A: Thank you for investigating this old wives' tale in such a scientific manner. Investigators have confirmed your original findings and explored why it works (Urology online, April 16, 2010).
One reader shared this cranberry story: "Since drinking about 4 ounces of cranberry juice every day I haven't had a urinary tract infection. When I was overseas and the juice was unavailable, I used cranberry extract pills when an infection showed up. It was over in two or three days. That's a much better solution than an antibiotic, which should be saved for when it's really needed!"
Q: When I was 53, I was diagnosed with osteoporosis. I started with Fosamax, but every time I took it I felt like I had the flu. Then the doctor prescribed Forteo. It helped, but not enough. Actonel gave me an ulcer after seven months. Now I am on Reclast. By the way, I also was diagnosed with celiac disease, which explains why my bones are in bad shape.
I feel like I have exhausted all options. Is there anything else to strengthen bones?
A: Celiac disease interferes with nutrient absorption and poses a serious risk for osteoporosis. Your case illustrates the danger of going undiagnosed.
Actonel, Boniva, Fosamax and Reclast are similar drugs. There are other options, including Evista, low-dose estrogen and calcitonin. Vitamin D and exercise also are critical for maintaining bone health.
Joe Graedon is a pharmacologist, and Teresa Graedon is an expert in medical anthropology and nutrition. http://www.peoplespharmacy.com