Cystitis: cranberry, a very effective solution

The use of cranberries in food, as an accompaniment to holiday turkey for example, is a tradition probably inaugurated in the USA, around 1621 in Massachusetts.

Native Americans, on the other hand, had been consuming this fruit for much longer, both for its multiple nutritional values ​​and as a treatment for cystitis. Science now knows why. It is good to remember, by this example, that ancestral knowledge often precedes scientific knowledge.

Ethnopharmacology is the science that works to identify the active pharmacological principles in treatments derived from traditional Aboriginal medicines.

Urinary infections such as cystitis are caused by the presence of bacteria, in particular E. coli, in the organs involved in the elimination of urine (bladder, urethra, kidneys). This is a very common type of infection.

Women are particularly susceptible to UTIs due to their shorter urethra which makes it easier for bacteria to enter the bladder; moreover, nearly half of them are affected by this problem at least once in their lives and up to 30% of these people will develop these infections multiple times, sometimes even several times a year.

Even if they are generally not life-threatening, urinary tract infections remain a serious health problem, which can cause significant pain and significantly reduce the quality of life.

Cranberry reduces the adhesion of bacteria

cranberry bowl

After noticing that Native Americans used cranberries to treat urinary tract infections, early North American settlers quickly adopted this practice and made cranberry juice the first real cure for cystitis.

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This use of cranberries has also gone through the centuries and is still considered today as a valid approach to the prevention of these infections. Over the years, medicine has been greatly interested in determining the scientific bases that could explain this antibacterial action of cranberries.

It was first thought that the preventive effect of cranberries was due to an acidification of the urine, but this hypothesis was refuted. It was not until the 1980s that researchers succeeded in demonstrating that the main phytochemicals in cranberries (proanthocyanidins) blocked the adhesion of bacteria to cells in the urinary canal, thereby reducing the risk of developing an infection of the tissue. .

50% reduction in chronic cystitis

This protective effect of cranberries has also been confirmed by a team of Taiwanese researchers. By combining the results of 13 studies carried out on 1616 subjects, they observed that people who consumed cranberry products had an approximately 40% lower risk of being affected by cystitis.

This positive impact is especially pronounced for women with recurrent infections who drink cranberry juice (50% reduction). The analysis also indicates that frequent juice consumption (twice a day) exerts a positive effect, possibly because the antiadhesive effect of proanthocyanidins begins to decline 8 hours after ingestion of cranberries.

Overall, these results are therefore very encouraging, particularly for women struggling with chronic cystitis.

Juiced, dried, cranberries as regularly as possible

This fruit is one of the most antioxidant foods in our diet and can induce multiple beneficial effects on health, in particular for the prevention of heart disease and certain cancers. In addition to juice, adding dried cranberries to snacks, for example, is a simple, economical and delicious way to take advantage of the exceptional properties of these fruits throughout the year.

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Wang CH et al. Cranberry-containing products for prevention of urinary tract infections in susceptible populations: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Arch. Intern. Med; 172: 988-996

* The information and services available on in no way replace the consultation of competent health professionals. []

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