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Question:
Are cranberry supplements helpful for men? Can they help with symptoms of an enlarged prostate, prostatitis, or urinary tract infections?

Answer:
There is some clinical evidence that cranberry powders and extracts may be helpful for reducing lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS) such as frequency, urgency and nighttime urination, in men with non-bacterial prostatitis or benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), as well as in men undergoing treatment for prostate cancer. Two studies have also found cranberry supplements to lower blood levels of prostate specific antigen (PSA), and one study suggested slight protection from UTIs during radiation treatment . Be aware that men who are taking certain medications or who have certain conditions should not take cranberry supplements. Sign in to see the full answer >>

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Robert11430   November 27, 2016
I am a man in his mid-60s who has recently experienced an increase in LUTS. Therefore, I am interested in the results you reported for patients using cranberry juice or powders. However, in one of your other reports (about using cranberry juice to treat UTIs), you mention that cranberry juice contains oxalates. I have a long history of forming kidney stones containing calcium oxalate, so I need to stay away from oxalates.

My question is this: Do the cranberry powders and/or pills that were tested also contain oxalates, or is this only a concern with the juices?

Thanks.

ConsumerLab.com   November 28, 2016
Hi Robert - Unfortunately there does not seem to be clear information from manufacturers or other sources about the oxalate content of cranberry powders/pills. However, based on the amount of oxalate found in cranberry juice (1.89 mg per ounce of juice), some researchers estimated that one 450 mg tablet of cranberry concentrate might contain about 182 mg of oxalate (more than the estimated normal dietary intake of oxalate North American of 150 mg per day) (http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0090429500008840 ). In this very small study among five men and women without a history of kidney stones, one 450 mg tablet of cranberry concentrate taken twice daily for one week increased urinary oxalate levels by an average of 43%, and the greatest increase was seen in someone who had a family history of kidney stones.) Interestingly, there were also increases in the urinary levels of the stone formation inhibitors magnesium and potassium by an average of 47.3% and 67.5%, respectively.) However, until oxalate levels in cranberry powders/pills are known for certain, and there are larger, longer-term clinical studies, it may be best to avoid cranberry supplements if you have a history of calcium oxalate kidney stones.

peter11411   November 20, 2016
500mgs of cranberry powder contains 180mgs of OXALATE which i believe is very bad for the kidneys especially if you have mild damage. I was taking 1500mgs per day for BPH enlargement and i think it helped re urination, i have now stopped because of oxalate

This CL Answer initially posted on 11/20/2016. Last updated 7/25/2017.

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