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Urinary tract infection? Go ahead and drink cranberry juice

July 11, 2012|By Mary MacVean, Los Angeles Times
  • A chic way to get cranberry -- roasted cranberry borscht.
A chic way to get cranberry -- roasted cranberry borscht. (Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles…)

Women who get urinary tract infections – and that’s nearly half of all women -- likely know this already: Try cranberry. It’s a treatment that’s been passed around among women for a long time to prevent the recurrence of this annoying infection.

Unlike some folk remedies, this one has gained credence through the years from the experts – the medical experts, that is. And a study in the Archives of Internal Medicine reinforces the use of cranberry products to prevent UTIs – one of the most common bacterial infections among adult women, with about 7 million doctor visits a year in the United States alone.

The authors of the study published Monday looked at 13 trials, which included 1,616 people, to see what effect cranberry products – juice or capsules, for example – had and concluded that they protect some people. But the authors also said the results should be interpreted “with great caution” because the trials were so different – different forms of cranberry or dosage or other factors.

Over time, various aspects of cranberry have been looked at as the potential helpful substance. In 1989, compounds known as A-type proanthocyanidins, or PACs, were identified as having the potential to keep the bacteria from doing their damage. But authors of the recent analysis said there are hundreds of other compounds in cranberries that might be helpful and have yet to be studied.

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