It has been known for years that drinking cranberry juice helps to prevent and treat urinary tract infections in women. Doctors used to think that the benefit came from the acid in cranberry juice that made your urine acidic. This was disproved many years ago, and it is now known that there is a chemical in the berry that prevents bacteria from adhering to the cells lining the bladder.

A study in the Journal of the American Medical Association describes results of culturing antibiotic resistant E. coli that are the most common causes of urinary tract infections. Urine was collected from women with chronic urinary tract infections after they drank 240 ml (about 8 ounces) of cranberry juice cocktail. Almost 80 percent of the bacterial strains were prevented from adhering to the cells lining the urinary bladder. It did not matter whether the bacteria were resistant or sensitive to antibiotics. The authors suggest that proanthocyanidins, tannins that are the red pigment in cranberry juice, are the component that prevents bacteria from sticking to bladder cell walls.

Journal of the American Medical Association, June 19, 2002

Checked 9/5/05

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