More than 150 published research studies show that cranberries have the ability to reduce the incidence of infections, improve heart health and tone down inflammation. For example, uniquely bioactive natural compounds in cranberries have been shown to promote a healthy urinary tract.
Urinary tract infections (UTIs) affect more than 15 million US women every year. Antibiotic treatment remains the standard approach for managing these infections. However, growing bacterial resistance to antibiotics makes it necessary to develop other approaches.
Cranberries are rich in polyphenolic compounds known as A-type proanthocyanidins, which provide anti-adhesion benefits that help to protect against urinary tract infections (UTIs). Cranberries may also reduce the recurrence of UTIs, helping to lower reliance on antibiotic treatment.
For example, two recent studies have shown that cranberry powder can inhibit the spread of bacteria commonly found in urinary tract infections (UTIs). Specifically, increasing cranberry powder concentrations reduced the bacteria's ability to make urease, an enzyme that helps them to spread in the urinary tract.
Previous studies have shown that exposure to cranberry extracts lowers the expression of a gene that codes for a structure known as a ‘flagellar filament’, which bacteria use to move around. This is a significant finding, since bacteria use movement to spread infection and escape the immune system.
Previous studies have also shown that cranberry juice stops E. coli sticking to other bacteria, making it easier for them to be flushed away from the urinary tract.
Last but not least, recent research shows that cranberry-enriched silicone substrates prevent the spread of germs - which could lead to cranberry extracts being used to limit germ spread in implantable medical devices such as catheters, with considerable potential benefits for patient health.