New Research about Cranberry Juice and Urinary Tract Infections

For years, researchers have been trying to identify the compound in cranberries that make it so darn effective at preventing urinary tract infections.

Because if they can identify the compound, they can extract it, condense it, patent it and then sell it to you as a prescription medication.

Currently, they have been taking a serious look at a group of flavonoids found in cranberries called proanthocyanidins. They believe that proanthocyanidins (aka PACs) are the source of the cranberry’s super-powerful infection fighting properties.

Unfortunately for the pharmaceutical industry… researchers  at the Worcester Polytechnic Institute have recently found that “cranberry juice, itself, is far better at preventing biofilm formation, which is the precursor of infection, than PACs alone”.

“What we have shown is that cranberry juice’s ability to prevent biofilms is more complex than we may have originally thought,” said Terri Camesano, professor of chemical engineering at WPI. “For a while, the field focused on these PACs, but the data shows that they aren’t the silver bullet.”

In her latest study, Prof. Camesano incubated two different strains of E. coli in the presence of two different mixtures of commercially available cranberry juice cocktail. They also incubated the bacteria separately in the presence of PACs, but not juice.

While the juice cultures completely prevented biofilm formation, the PACs showed only limited ability to reduce biofilm formation, and only after extended exposure to the E. coli.

Prof. Camesano concluded that “while the mechanisms of action of cranberry products on bacterial adhesion and biofilm formation are not fully understood…this study shows that cranberry juice is better at inhibiting biofilm formation than isolated A-type cranberry flavonoids and PACs, although the reasons for this are not yet clear.”


Save your money on cranberry supplements and go buy yourself a bottle of cranberry juice.



Douglas Robb

Doug Robb is a personal trainer, a fitness blogger and author, a competitive athlete, and a student of nutrition and exercise science. He's also the co-founder of the Hive Health Media. Since 2008, Doug has expanded his impact by bringing his real-world experience online via the health & fitness blog – Health Habits.

One thought on “New Research about Cranberry Juice and Urinary Tract Infections

  • November 2, 2011 at 10:36 am

    Just make sure it is no sugar added cranberry juice. Sugar suppresses the ability of the immune system to destroy bacteria.


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