Summer was set for good and urinary infections are making their appearance. Although urinary tract infections system can occur throughout the year, in the summer their frequency increases significantly, especially among women. Even if antibiotics are the easy solution to deal with them, there also have a wide variety of undesirable actions. The juice and the extract of cranberries have been widely used to prevent and treat urinary tract infections. So how can you effectively shield your urinary tract?
What Is Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)?
Urinary tract infection is the presence of clinical symptoms originating from the urogenital tract due to one or more microorganisms in the urine at concentrations higher than normal.
The infections can be detected in the bladder (cystitis), in the renal parenchyma (pyelonephritis) or in the prostate (acute or chronic bacterial prostatitis). Individual episodes of urinary tract infections are very common. Adult women may suffer from UTIs twice as likely as men. Urinary tract infections that recur after the first episode are called recurrent urinary tract infections and concern 1/3 of the population.
What is cranberry?
The scientific name of the cranberries is Vaccinium macrocarpon. As a fresh fruit, cranberry contains about 80% water and 10% carbohydrates. Among other nutrients, it is a rich source of flavonoids, anthocyanins, catechins, triterpenoids, organic acids, lutein, zeaxanthin and contains small amounts of proteins, fibers, sodium, selenium and vitamins A, C and E.
Studies suggest that cranberry juice can effectively reduce the number and intensity of urinary tract symptoms, particularly in women with recurrent urinary tract infection. In addition to their healing properties, cranberries seem to be of great help in preventing urinary tract infections.
Treatment of urinary tract infection
For the treatment of urinary tract infection, antibiotics are usually prescribed, which are quite effective for treating UTIs. Their repeated use, however, is recognized as the main cause of creating resistant to antibiotic bacterias, while also they disrupt gut microflora. For this reason, especially in case of recurrent urinary tract infections, a natural remedy is needed which will have the same efficacy but without the undesirable effects of the antibiotics.
Cranberry and urinary tract infections
It was believed that eating cranberries makes urine more acidic and that is why the growth of bacteria is reduced, which is no longer the case. Cranberries can help both in the treatment and prevention of urinary tract infections. According to meta-analyses, frequent consumption may reduce the recurrence of urinary tract infection in one year by 35%, especially among young and middle-aged women.
Cranberries inhibit the adhesion of uropathogenic bacterias, such as E. coli, to the bladder epithelium, thus reducing colonization and subsequent infection. They also have anti-inflammatory properties, reducing the intensity of the symptoms. Their effects are due to their high concentration in anthocyanidins and proanthocyanidins, which are potent anti-adherent compounds. Some studies have shown that regular consumption of cranberry juice is also effective in cases of urinary tract infections caused by antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
For better action and effectiveness, cranberry extract is combined with d-mannose, which helps uropathogenic bacteria to be excreted by the body through urination. Both cranberry extract and mannose do not kill pathogenic bacteria, but they remove them from the body.
The usual dose is 400-500 mg of cranberry extract, twice daily for 6 -12 months. For cranberry juice the dosage is 30-300 mL of juice, depending on the beverage concentration. Cranberry can also be taken by children, at smaller doses of 5 mL/kg, in divided doses.
Cranberry intake is relatively safe and does not show any side effects. Large doses, more than 3-4 liters a day, can cause gastrointestinal symptoms, such as diarrhea. People with a predisposition to calcium oxalate stones or people taking anticoagulant treatment should avoid taking cranberry juice.