Contrary to what your mother might have told you, cranberry juice is not a magic elixir that will prevent urinary tract infections, an all-too-common and often painful ailment that accounts for about 8.1 million visits to healthcare providers each year.
According to a review of the latest research from The Cochrane Library, which included 24 studies and nearly 5,000 participants, cranberry juice and cranberry pills are unlikely to prevent cystitis and may only be helpful to select women with recurrent UTIs.
In the past, scientists suggested that certain sugars and a type of enzyme called flavanol found in the red berries prevented bacteria from sticking to the cells lining the walls of your urinary tract, and that by drinking cranberry juice you could in effect prevent infection.
Lead researcher Ruth Jepson, PhD, stated “there might be a slight effect with the juice, but it depends on whether someone is prepared to drink cranberry juice twice a day for months on end to perhaps prevent one UTI.”
So if this sounds like way too much of a commitment (after all, who really has room in their fridge for that much Ocean Spray?) and you do come down with a UTI, remember that cranberry juice is not your only option. Alternative remedies do exist – for example, you can see a doctor and take antibiotics.