It is believed that the cranberries have an ability to prevent bacteria from sticking to the cells lining the urinary tract where they have the potential to replicate. However if there are already bacteria stuck onto the cells, cranberry does not have the ability to release them. This may be the reason why cranberry is a better preventative method rather than a cure for UTIs.
Cranberry also contains an abundance of salicylic acid, which is a vital ingredient found in aspirin. Salicylic acid has the ability to reduce swelling, prevent blood clotting and has anti tumour effects.
Preventing UTIs – most research indicates that taking certain cranberry extracts can decrease the risk of repeated UTIs in some individuals. There is evidence that suggests taking cranberry products lowers the occurrence of UTIs in women, most children and individuals who are hospitalised.
Individuals with diabetes: Some research indicates that orally taken cranberry supplements does not lower blood sugar levels.
- Pregnancy and breast-feeding: It is best to consume cranberries and cranberry juice as they are definitely safe to have during pregnancy and breast-feeding. Supplements containing cranberry products are not recommended for pregnant women or women who are breast-feeding as there is no definite evidence to suggest that the dietary supplements are safe to consume.
- Kidney stones:If you have a history or presently have kidney stones it is best to avoid cranberry tablets due to the high concentration of oxalate. The chemical oxalate is what primarily makes up kidney stones, combined with calcium. Some studies have indicated that cranberry tablets increase the amount of oxalate in urine up to 43%. Therefore individuals with kidney stones should avoid cranberry tablets and also should not consume much cranberry juice.
- Allergy to any chemical in cranberries:Avoid consuming any cranberry products.
- Taking other medication:Inform your doctor on what medication(s) you are taking as cranberry tablets can interfere with the efficacy of other medications. This includes: prescription, non-prescription, herbal medication or dietary supplements.
- Diabetics:Individuals with diabetes must consume cranberry products that are sugar free.
Use cranberry as directed by your doctor. Check the label on the medicine for exact dosing instructions. Make sure to ask your health care provider for further information on how to use cranberry products or any further questions you may have.
General guidelines for cranberry tablets
- Drink extra fluids while taking cranberry tablets
- Follow the directions on the package, unless your doctor gives you other instructions
- Try to remember to take your recommended dose daily – or whatever timeframe your doctor recommendedPossible side effects of cranberry
There are no reoccurring, common side effects reported by individuals who properly use cranberry. However seek immediate medical attention if you experience any of the following extreme side effects:
- Difficulty breathing
- Tightness in the chest
- Swelling of the mouth, face lips or tongue
The above are not all of the possible side effects that may occur. If you experience any other distressing side effects contact and consult your health care provider.
- Make sure to store your cranberry tablets away from light, heat and moisture unless directed otherwise by your doctor or the package label.
- Keep cranberry tablets away from children and pets
- Do not share your prescribed cranberry tablets with others
- Contact your doctor if you show no signs or improvement or your health declines
- If your symptoms do not improve or if they become worse, check with your doctor
- Ask your doctor or pharmacist how to dispose of medication that has not been consumed
This information page is not sufficient enough to determine whether you should take cranberry tablets/ other products. Your doctor or health care provider will be able to deduce whether cranberry products are appropriate for you.