Shortly after my spinal cord injury accident, frequent urinary tract infections (UTIs) occurred. I didn’t know why but two things were for sure: the symptoms related to a UTI were not pleasant nor did I have plans to remain on prophylactic antibiotics to aid in the prevention. As a nurse, I was aware that cranberry juice was helpful in promotion of urinary tract health but that was the extent of my knowledge. One day in the local drugstore, I happened upon cranberry concentrate supplements labeled to “support urinary and bladder functions.” I found this to be fantastic news and one that I was willing to investigate.
Tablets of cranberry concentrate is the latest trend in avoiding the dreaded urinary tract infections we are all hounded with by being a spinal cord injured individual. The development of the cranberry concentrated tablet is monumental in assisting with decreasing symptoms and avoiding added sugar, which results from drinking of cranberry juices. Cranberry juice is also high in salts called oxalates. Even if you are not spinal cord injured but are tormented by frequent urinary tract issues, cranberries work wonders. Here’s why:
Cranberries contain anti-adhesion properties within the antioxidants that prevent the bacteria (primarily E coli) from adhering to the bladder. Researchers believe that cranberries contain substances that prevent infection-causing bacteria from sticking to the urinary tract walls. There are a couple of different theories about how exactly cranberries do this. Some studies show that certain antioxidants in cranberries change the bacteria so that they can’t stick to the urinary tract. Another idea is that cranberries create a Teflon-like slippery coating on the urinary tract walls that prevents E. coli from getting a good grip. The underlying message is that cranberry extract tablets prevent bacteria or bad bugs from adhering to the walls of the bladder thus preventing UTIs.
But how much sugar is in a glass of cranberry juice? There is a labeled amount of 33 grams of sugar in an eight ounce glass of cranberry juice. That’s a lot of added sugar to an individual’s diet especially when 40 grams of sugar is the maximum requirement for a non-diabetic individual. There is no added sugar to a cranberry extract softgel.
What is the recommended daily dose to maintain urinary tract health? That is a much more difficult question to pinpoint the answer. When I spoke with my urologist about the recommended dose, he seemed hesitant to answer my question. His response was actually, “whatever works for you.” He really didn’t know the answer and here is why: according to Drugs.com, there is no standard dose of cranberry supplement for preventing UTIs. Different studies have used varying amounts of the supplement. A 500mg daily dose was as effective as antibiotics in preventing recurrent UTI in older women in a study published by researchers. Ask your doctor about the best dosage for you but your own trials may work best.
So, I supposed you are wondering the results of my investigation? Cranberry supplements work. It has been three years since my last UTI. Cranberry supplements remain stocked in my cabinet and they are my latest “soapbox” conversation. Heck, I have converted my mother and my mother-in-law to the cranberry supplement craze to support urinary health.
This article is not meant to take place of a health care provider consultation but to assist in alleviating the confusion in regards to cranberry supplement consumption. One other side note, worthy of checking with your health-care provider before starting a cranberry regimen, is that cranberries are contraindicated for anyone taking blood-thinners due to the fact that those little berries can cause an unsafe interaction with warfarin. So here’s a cranberry juice cocktail to all of us rolling down the road of life to become more fun, more fit, and oh so fabulous.References:Cranberries for UTI prevention. Obtained July 9, 2014 from http://www.webmd.com/urinary-incontinence-oab/womens-guide/cranberries-for-uti-protection
The daily dosage of cranberry pills. Obtained on July 9, 2014 from http://www.livestrong.com/article/467318-the-daily-dosage-of-cranberry-pills/
What are the health benefits of cranberry pills? Obtained on July 9, 2014 from http://www.livestrong.com/article/25252-health-benefits-cranberry-pills/
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