Cranberries are small, tart, bright red berries that are a popular treat, as well as a holiday staple. They are packed with antioxidants and provide many health benefits. Cranberry juice has a reputation for preventing Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs), though research is inconsistent. Is there a benefit to taking cranberry pills?
What are cranberry pills? They are a small tablet or capsule made from dried, powered cranberries and may contain additional ingredients such as vitamin C or probiotics. One benefit of taking cranberry pills is that they may help prevent UTIs, however there have been conflicting research.
A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in November 2016, looked at 185 older women living in a nursing home. The group of women taking cranberry supplements saw a decrease in the number of bacteria in their urine in the first six months. The study did not show a decrease in UTI frequency in the first year.
According to Pennington Biomedical Research Center, cranberry pill health benefits include:
• May help with chronic disease
• May help treat stomach ailments
• High level of antioxidants
While cranberry pills are thought to be safe, there are a few mild side effects such as:
• Stomach pain
• Potential to cause kidney stones (if you are susceptible to them)
• May increase affects of blood thinning with some medications
If you think you may have a UTI, contact your general practitioner.
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Juthani-Mehta M, Van Ness PH, Bianco L, et al. Effect of Cranberry Capsules on Bacteriuria Plus Pyuria Among Older Women in Nursing Homes: A Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA. 2016;316(18):1879–1887.
Roy, Heli J. “Cranberries.” Pennington Nutrition Series. Pennington Biomedical Research Center LSU. 41(2014)