Does cranberry help treat or prevent UTIs?Drinking cranberry juice or taking a cranberry supplement may help reduce the risk of recurrent UTIs in women, although the evidence is limited. Drinking the juice is more likely to help than taking a supplement. More limited evidence suggests cranberry may also reduce symptoms of overactive bladderand of lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS) and prostatitis. See What It Does for details.
There is less evidence of benefit for dried cranberries and cranberry chews, and the benefit of cranberry for UTIs in children remains uncertain.
What is in cranberry that helps it work against UTIs?Cranberries contain a variety of polyphenolic compounds that include proanthocyanidins (PACs). PACs have been shown to limit the ability of E. coli bacteria to adhere to the walls of the bladder and urinary tract. By limiting this adhesion, PACs from cranberry — particularly water soluble A-type PACS — may reduce the risk of urinary tract infections (UTIs). See What It Is for more information.
Best cranberry juice or pills?ConsumerLab's tests determined the amounts of water soluble PACs in cranberry products. Amounts per serving ranged nearly 200-fold, from as little as just 0.54 mg to as much as 105.6 mg, and the cost to get 36 mg of PACs ranged from just 35 cents to $21.67. See What CL Found for details.
Our Top Picks among cranberry juices and supplements each provided the highest amount of PACs among competing brands and did so at much lower cost.
What to look for on cranberry labels?When looking at the amounts of PACs listed on labels, it is critical that you also look for the method used to determine those amounts, because different methods, such as BL-DMAC (or DMAC/A2) versus OSP-DMAC (or cPAC-DMAC) can yield very different results (see PAC Test Methods for details) and lack of a listed method can make any amount meaningless.
Is cranberry safe to use?Cranberry beverages or dietary supplements are generally safe for most people, although people with diabetes, those at risk for kidney stones, and those with an aspirin allergy may need to use caution. See Concerns and Cautions for details.
Cranberry Juices and Supplements Review
CL's Tests Show Which Cranberry Juices and Supplements Are Best and Cost the Least
Cranberry juice and supplement brands compared in this review
Lakewood Organic Cranberry Juice Concentrate
Lakewood Organic Pure Cranberry
Ocean Spray Pure Unsweetened Cranberry
R.W. Knudsen Family Just Cranberry
Theralogix Nutritional Science TheraCran One
Trader Joe's 100% Cranberry Juice
In this comprehensive review, you'll discover:
- Which cranberry juices and supplements passed or failed our testing and why
- CL's Top Picks among juices and supplements for quality and value
- The amount of water soluble proanthocyanidins (PACs) in each cranberry product
- What to look for on cranberry juice and cranberry supplement labels, and why choosing a product that lists the amount of PACs and the testing method used to determine this amount is so important
- Cranberry dosage for urinary tract infections (UTIs) and overactive bladder (OAB)
- Potential side effects and drug interactions with cranberry
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