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Cranberry Juice for UTIs? -- cranberries and a glass of cranberry juice


Cranberry has been used with some success by women for many decades to prevent urinary tract infections (UTIs). Certain compounds in cranberries limit the ability of E. coli bacteria that cause the infection to attach to the walls of the bladder and urinary tract and gain a foothold. In 2020, the FDA began allowing certain types of cranberry juice and cranberry supplements to claim that they help reduce the risk of recurrent UTIs.

Evidence from one clinical trial also suggests cranberry may reduce symptoms of overactive bladder.

ConsumerLab explains what to look for when choosing a cranberry juice or supplement (including products such as Ellura/Urell) to help prevent UTIs, and how products such as Ellura, AZO Cranberry, TheraCran and Ocean Spray's Cranberry +health chews differ. The answer also discusses potential side effects and drug interactions with cranberry juice. Sign in to see the full answer >>

ConsumerLab is currently testing cranberry juices and supplements and results will be published in 2021.

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November 13, 2019

As an emotional eater, I became addicted to sweetened tea brand and also then pop. I went from water to drinking the bottled tea and pop daily for one month. Then, uti appeared. Looking back in my life, I have always had to drink alot of water or would get uti's.

I discontinued the crap mentioned above and will not ever begin drinking this addictive stuff that is hard on health again. Keep drinking your water daily, clean plain water. I just had to share this in hopes of helping someone.

*It took me 2 months to clean out my body and feel better again. No way will I buy that stuff again. It is addictive.

October 27, 2019

You say aPACs are better than bPACS, but what about cPACs?

Trunature recommends one capsule per day (36 mg cPACs per day). It is sold at Costco. If the cPACs are effective, should the recommendation on the label be for two pills a day?
October 28, 2019

Thanks for your question, Josey, as one might think that that label refers to a different type of PAC. However, the "c" in "cPACs" on that label seems just to be an abbreviation for "cranberry" and not a reference to a different type of PAC.

November 13, 2019

Cranberry contains two types of PAC (proanthocyanidins) A-type and B-type. Together they can be referred to as c-PAC or PAC-A, (both meaning total PAC) and both can be soluble or insoluble. Only A-type Soluble PAC exerts AAA (Anti-Adhesion Activity) against P-fimbriated uropathogenic bacterium. Whole cranberry powder, press cake, and press cake derivatives contain mostly insoluble A-type & B-type PAC and do not express AAA. These types of derivative products represent the vast majority of cranberry supplements.

1)Upton R, Brendler T, eds. American Herbal Pharmacopoeia and Therapeutic Compendium: Cranberry fruit: Vaccinium macrocarpon Aiton. Scotts Valley, CA: American Herbal Pharmacopoeia. Monograph revision; 2016.

2) Citation: Howell AB, Reed JD, Krueger CG, Winterbottom R, Cunningham DG, Leahy M. A-type cranberry proanthocyanidins and uropathogenic bacterial anti-adhesion activity. Phytochemistry. 2005;66(18):2281-2291.

Kevin Wade, Trophikos, EVP Clinical & Physcian Development

May 10, 2019

I was having recurring UTI’S for several months while taking an antibiotic that obviously was not working. My urogynocologist finally suggested taking the cranberry capsules with the PAC -- proanthocyanidines --total of 6 capsules a day (2 capsules taken 3 x a day) for 2 months. I have had excellent results and now just take 2 capsules a day for maintanace. It is important to buy the cranberries supplements that have the PAC’s, otherwise it is ineffective. I bought mine from Amazon. Also, it would be utterly ridiculous to drink cranberry juice with sweeteners in them as the sugar feeds the infection. Straight, pure cranberry juice, tastes so tart and sour it is extremely hard to drink it even with adding water to dilute the taste. I strongly recommend the PAC cranberry supplements in capsule form.
May 10, 2019

Hi Janice - Thank you for sharing your experience with this. Although the evidence is better with juice than pills, your rationale is understandable. It would seem prudent to take the pills with a good amount of water.

May 30, 2019

I have some cranberry juice concentrate. I added water but yes, it is hard to drink. Still though are you saying it's better than a supplement? Did i read that increase the oxalates? Will that lead to kidney stones?
thank you!
May 31, 2019

Hi Susan - As noted in the Answer above, a review of published studies did conclude that juice may be more likely to help. Cranberry can increase oxalate levels, which can increase the risk of kidney stones (see the "Side effects and potential drug interactions" section above for more information).

October 27, 2019

There is an African fruit called "Miracle Fruit" that is also grown in the U.S., and you can buy the plants to grow your own bush. It's very expensive, but when you take a bite of it, you can eat a lemon and it will taste sweet. It's supposed to be very safe. I've read this is such a bizarre anomaly that people have Miracle Fruit Parties all to eat sour food before/after eating some Miracle I will have to get it since my mom HATES cranberry tartness!

My mom has severe UTI's and nothing works and she has overused antibiotics and has now triggered C-Diff. The new urologist just prescribed UREX-methenamine and I was suspicious about it not being safe for kidneys and it's not if one has kidney failure......

Other than some forms of probiotics for woman/uti's, aged garlic supplements, maybe CBD, thought about Colloidal Silver, and there's all kinds of Ayurvedic Medicine herbs that seem scary to try with my mom's kidney failure at stage4. I often wondered about the benefits of Fenugreek (maple syrup taste) and if it could work for UTI's from what I read.

We even tried a product I saw marketed on TV called UQORA-TARGET that formulates D-Manose into their product lines and they have probiotics, which didn't work either, but I think I will have my mom try it again, but she didn't like their Pink-Lemon Aid flavor of their drink.......we're running out of options and these UTI's are getting severe to where she was even placed on Miropenim IV antibiotic for a severe foot wound & diverticultis infection which knocked out the UTI for 2 months but it came back.

I had even read research-papers that drinking High PH water to make the urine alkaline disturbs the cell walls of some urinary tract colonizers, which is the exact opposite protocol from keeping the urine acidic thru cranberry, and Vitamin C ect....

I hope Consumer Labs can do some intense research about what else can be used for UTI's.

Brian A.11412
November 21, 2016

My experience with Cranberry. Took tablets and frequently drank it for 5 years. Was able to control my gout without meds. Got a kidney stone (ouch!). One year later got another. (Ouch again!). Urologist said "Cranberry (and apple juice) are kidney stone builders".

On hike shortly after with a Boy Scout leader acquaintance who was also a doctor. Told him my dilemma about kidney stones. Suggested I try lemon juice as it is thought to break down or reduce the kidney stones. After additional research noted thoughts that such as lemon juice(and broccoli) also helps reduce body PH. Yes lemon juice, it says, does that.

For over 2 years now most frequently add lemon juice (about 1 to 1 1/2 oz.) to my breakfast and supper beverage. No kidney stones and very infrequent and minor short duration gout pain, (2) alleve and gone.

Uric acid still kinda high but apparently no crystallization.

I will let you know what excessive consumption of lemon juice causes when it happens
but so far so good.

November 2, 2016

Thank you for providing this analysis. I had already wondered if a group of nursing home residents could be said to be representative of the general population! I've been drinking cranberry juice or taking supplements when the juice is not available (e.g, rarely seen in Europe) for over thirty years and I am quite confident that this has helped reduce the incidence of UTIs, particularly in the years post-pelvic radiation.

October 30, 2016

Thanks very much for this new question answer about UTIs. I appreciate all you do on our behalf. Please keep up the good work.

I'm a 78-year-old guy with a long history of UTI, none of which we've ever let get out of hand through use of Cranberry. For years I used CranActin, sometimes unsweetened Cranberry juice, then "trunature® CRAN-MAX Cranberry 500 mg., 180 Veggie Capsules" from Costco, but more recently "Natural Cranberry Drink Concentrate" by Natural Sources, Inc of San Clemente, CA 92674. Reconstitution instructions: mix 8 oz of concentrate with 56 oz water.

I learned many years ago to check the color of my urine every day and look for any cloudiness (assume that's infection starting up). I keep my urine clear to very light yellow, relying on that to assure I'm drinking enough water (and I rarely drink anything but
t pure water--we have a deep well).

When cloudiness shows up--which it did this morning for first time in more than a year--I immediately start taking cranberry the concentrate diluted 7oz:1oz. All the products I've used seem to work well for me.

Hope my experiece will help others, and perhaps give you additional products to consider testing.

August 2, 2017

Hi Roy - No additional suggestions on our end. What you are doing should definitely help.

November 13, 2019

Smitty, I can't thank you enough for taking the time to write your comment. I just turned 70 and seem to be getting more uti's. One is too many and this will help me to be more vigilent. I had the warning sign of cloudiness and didnt catch it. I take extra b vitamins and so my urine is always so bright, but it did begin a cloudiness and smell. I just want others to read your comment and be vigilent about catching a uti before it becomes painful. THANK YOU AGAIN AND AGAIN. I'm going to get the cranberry stuff you mentioned above and keep your notes handy. THANK YOU.

November 13, 2019

Thank you Consumer Lab for having this discussion available for all of us that believe in good health habits. Having these comment sections is additonal value that we never hear even in a doctors office. THANK YOU.
November 13, 2019

We appreciate you feedback about the Comments on our CL Answers, Pamela, and are very glad that you find them helpful! We spend a lot of time moderating the Comments and responding to them.

T Allen
October 30, 2016

Thank you for the unbiased reporting of the results of this study! Every other report I've seen says "cranberries don't work". Since millions of women know otherwise it's nice that CL sees both sides of the story!

October 17, 2016

A question regarding this sentence: "Research suggests that a specific type of PAC, known as the A-type PAC, may be most important as it interferes with bacterial adhesion while B-type PACs (which are common in other fruits, such as apples) do not." By definition, are all cranberry supplements going to be APAC vs BPAC, such that we don't need to be concerned about whether or not the product label states one or the other, or doesn't list that at all?
October 17, 2016

Hi Colleen - The PACs in cranberry are almost entirely A-linked. However, cranberry supplements may be adulterated with other sources of PACs (which are not A-linking) such as apples, grapes, grapeseed, etc. so you can't assume a cranberry supplement contains all A-linked PACs.

August 1, 2016

I have used the following recipe over the years and it has never failed to quickly resolve UTI for me, usually in one day if I start it at first hint of symptoms.
Heat 1 quart drinking water to boil and remove from heat. Add to it
1 cup. loosely packed, fresh parsley, roughly chopped and including the stems. Cover and let steep 15-20 minutes. Strain out the parsley and consume this quart throughout the day. Sip some as warm tea, drink cooled or refrigerated. Repeat until symptoms abate.
When I found this recipe it claimed parsley contains something the same or similar to what is used in prescription medications to treat UTI. This was 30 yrs. ago. but it sure has worked for me.
August 1, 2016

Thanks for sharing that. A possible explanation for the benefit you report is that parsley may act as a diuretic. That and the water itself will increase urinary flow, reducing the risk of UTI. (Pregnant women should avoid excessive intake of parsley.)

July 20, 2016

So glad you discussed Ellura. I have found it to be a godsend. Not one UTI since starting it, only as needed and d-Mannose daily. A great service to women everywhere.

June 29, 2016

I used to get regular UTI's, so i started drinking 1/4 cup real cranberry juice diluted with water every morning. I ended up with kidney stones. So be careful! I stopped the cranberry juice and haven't had stones since (once the one's i had were expelled). I was getting UTI's due to too much sugar in my diet or possibly candida or yeast overgrowth. Just another avenue to check out if you get them often. I corrected my diet and no longer get them.

June 22, 2016

Does dried cranberries work as well as cranberry juices for UTI

June 22, 2016

There seems to be studies re cranberry juice and cranberry capsules but it is getting easier to find dried cranberries in grocery stores. Wouldn't these be better than either the juice or the capsules?
July 7, 2016

Hi Alice and Elaine - Thank you for your questions. We've now added information about dried cranberries to the answer above.

Rhea B
February 22, 2016

One thing to beware of: If you have IC (interstitial cystitis), any form of cranberry is one of the worst things you can take. IC is an inflammation of the bladder, and because it does not involve any bacteria, the cranberry not only doesn't help, it increases the pain significantly. And IC is *very* painful.

The thing that's so tricky is that most women who get IC do so after years of having various UTIs. The treatments for UTIs and IC are almost opposite in some ways. The only way to know for sure is to go to a doctor or clinic when you're symptomatic and get tested. If no microorganisms are present, then there's a good chance that you now have IC. (Of course your doctor must carefully eliminate the possibility of other, rarer, causes.)

If you have IC, there are a number of good websites with support info. The disease isn't well understood, so looking for online support in addition to your doctor makes sense.

Anna 8472
February 21, 2016

A product that really works every time is Cystex Cranberry liquid. It contains d-Mannose and cranberry extract. This is an over the counter product that I tried in order to get away from taking Cipro or Bactrim.

February 21, 2016

D-Manose works well to quiet & heal uti. I find it far superior to just cranberry.
February 25, 2016

Hi Idy and Anna - Thank you for sharing your experiences using cranberry and/or D-mannose. You may also be interested in this CL Answer:

February 21, 2016

I use to have UTI's very oftten. Started taken Cranbery pills about 12 years ago and have not had one UTI. So I would think they work just as well as the juice which I cna't drink because I am diabetic.

February 21, 2016

Have you read the work done on this by Nathalie Tufenkji, PhD, an associate professor in McGill University's Department of Chemical Engineering? Cranberries actually prevent the bacteria from forming the tail needed to hang on to the urethra.

May 6, 2015

Check out a product called Ellura. It is available online only. You can read about it there. My urologist suggested it, and although a bit expensive, it's worth it! I hope Consumer Labs tests it soon. P.S. I have no financial interest in this product.
May 19, 2015

Thank you for your suggestion, Judy. We've added information about this product to the Answer above.

January 28, 2015

D-Mannose daily prevents UTI infections for me. I suffered for years with them until I found out about this supplement! It works!

September 16, 2014

D-Mannose a white powder is much more effective for UTI's. It works so quickly. It coats the bladder and the bacteria do not stick to it but are
washed out.
Past Ex: my dad was given every antibiotic poss for a bladder infection for over 3mo, none lasted. I finally gave him D-Mannose and it was gone like nothing. Docs could not figure it out. Now used for prevention.
Sue, RN

November 13, 2019

I realize this is an older post, but had to second Sue159’s comment! D-mannose, either in capsule or powder form is extremely effective and I have used it extensively for family and patients.

Jeanne RN,CCN

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