Does cranberry juice prevent urinary tract infections?

Cranberry-Cross-SectionUrinary tract infections, or UTIs, are a pretty nasty piece of work. They make one of life’s essential processes pretty uncomfortable and can lead to nasty complications including permanent kidney damage.

For a number of years, I’ve believed that cranberry juice was a helpful dietary supplement for helping prevent these nasty conditions.

And, it seems, I was lied to.

Recently, we asked the question “Can you trust nutrition studies?“. In that and other articles, we’ve advised against simply accepting popular coverage of any scientific study and to look back at the original source and who funded and conducted the study.

A recent article at Vox has poured cold water over the scientific basis for the belief cranberry juice can help prevent UTIs.

They point to this study, conducted by Ocean Spray – a producer of, you guessed it, cranberry juice. Judging by my local supermarket, they have pretty much cornered the cranberry juice market.

The study looked legitimate, boasting it was a:

“randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, involved nearly 400 women at 18 clinical sites throughout the US, as well as a Boston University scientist”.

Here’s what Vox had to say.

The study wasn’t just funded by Ocean Spray; it was also co-authored by Ocean Spray staff scientists. Not only was the food company involved in nearly every step of the process but its scientists even helped write the manuscript.

I encourage you to read the full article at Vox and the published study.

And view any claim made by someone selling a product with a healthy dose of scepticism until you’ve validated the data.

Leave a Reply