About 60% of women and 12% of men experience a urinary tract infection (UTI) in their lifetime. And if you’ve had one, you may be more likely to get another one in the future. But it’s not inevitable – there are steps you can take to support urinary tract health. Learn more about cranberry and how you can add it to your arsenal to defend against UTIs.
What is a UTI?
A UTI is a common type of infection that affects your urinary system, usually your bladder or urethra (the tube that carries urine from your bladder to outside your body). UTIs occur when bacteria find a way into your urethra and make themselves at home in your urinary system. Although several different types of bacteria can cause a UTI, E. coli bacteria are the most common culprits.
Can cranberry help prevent UTIs?
There’s no shortage of advice when it comes to UTI prevention. But unfortunately, there’s also no shortage of misinformation. In fact, a recent study revealed that one-third of the most popular videos about UTIs on YouTube contained potentially misleading information. So if you’re searching for ways to support your urinary tract health, make sure you get recommendations only from reliable sources, like your healthcare provider, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), or other trusted medical organizations.
Cranberry is one of the most well-known UTI prevention strategies – but is it effective?
The research points to “yes” – here’s how they work. Cranberries are one of the only fruits known to contain A-type soluble proanthocyanidins, or PACs for short. These powerful plant compounds bind to certain bacteria and prevent them from sticking to the urinary tract.
The American Urological Association (AUA) believes in cranberry, too. Cranberry supplements are the only nutritional supplement recommended by the AUA to decrease the risk of recurrent UTIs.
How much cranberry do you need for UTI prevention?
Research indicates that you need at least 36 mg of PACs per day to support urinary tract health. You can reach this amount in two main ways:
Research suggests that drinking 8-10 ounces of cranberry juice cocktail or 2-3 ounces of unsweetened or “pure” 100% cranberry juice can provide the recommended amount of PACs. But cranberry juice isn’t the best option for everyone – cranberry juice cocktail is laden with added sugars, unsweetened cranberry juice is too tart for many to drink consistently, and juice may be a less reliable source of PACs over time. Check out this blog next to learn more about cranberry juice: “Cranberry and Urinary Tract Health: The Truth About Juice.”
According to the FDA, limited scientific evidence shows that by consuming 500 mg each day of cranberry dietary supplement, healthy women who have had a urinary tract infection (UTI) may reduce their risk of recurrent UTI. So, look for a cranberry supplement that contains 500 mg of cranberry and provides at least 36 mg of soluble PACs per daily dose. If the supplement facts label doesn’t list PAC content or does not certify that the product provides a full 36 mg of PACs, it may not be effective. For extra peace of mind, choose a supplement that’s been independently tested and certified by an organization like NSF® International or USP®.
TheraCran® One checks all the boxes – one capsule offers 36 mg of PACs and 500 mg of cranberry extract, and it’s NSF® tested and certified. It's actually the only cranberry supplement in the U.S. that's independently tested and certified for content accuracy, purity, and PAC content.
Does cranberry work if you have a UTI?
If you think you may have a UTI, be sure to visit your healthcare provider for treatment. While cranberries may be a powerful tool for UTI prevention, they’re not meant to treat any existing conditions.
A high-quality cranberry supplement may be an option if you’re looking for an evidence-based way to support your urinary tract health. Talk with your healthcare provider about UTI prevention strategies that are right for you.