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  Urinary Tract Infection and Cranberry Juice

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By: Otto Wolff, M.D.
pgs. 86B-87A.doc

Urinary Tract Infection and Cranberry Juice

(Original title: Hamwegsinfekt und Preiselbeersaft. Merkurstab 1995; 48: 194. English by A. R. Meuss, FIL, MTA.)

UTI (urinary tract infection) is known to be on the increase all over the world, mainly in women. Cranberries are a home remedy for cystitis. To test the validity of this, a randomized double-blind placebo-controlled trial was conducted with older women, using the strict criteria of today. It was of particular interest to establish if there was a prophylactic effect since antibiotics are known to be effective but do not prevent recurrences.

153 patients were given either 300 ml of a commercially available cranberry juice or a placebo drink exactly the same in appearance, taste and vitamin C content. At the conclusion of the trial period, 28% of the women in the placebo group and 15% in the cranberry juice group had bacteriuria. The protective effect of cranberry juice was statistically significant (p < 0.004). In addition, bacteriuria decreased in subjects Presenting with it at the beginning of the trial in the cranberry group. This was expressed by stating that the probability of remaining bacteriuric while taking cranberry juice was a quarter theprobability in the placebo group, a highly significant result (p < 0.006).

An entirely secondary aspect is whether the effect was due to acidification of the urine due to hippuric acid or to inhibition of bacterial adherence to the urothelium.

The investigations are of value not only because they rehabilitate and demonstrate statistical significance of efficacy for a popular plant-based product but also because recurrences, which are almost certain to occur after antibiotic treatment, can largely be prevented. This may also throw light on the fundamental point of attack - bacteria or organism - which is usually left out of the picture.

Otto Wolff, MD AufderHoehe lO CH-4144 Arlesheim, Switzerland

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