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7 Benefits and Side Effects of Cranberry (6 Contraindications To Be Noted)[Updated Dec/2022]

Cranberry is a type of evergreen shrub that grows in bogs or wetlands. Cranberry is native to northeastern and northcentral parts of the United States. The shrub has small, dark green leaves, pink flowers, and dark red fruit that are egg-shaped.

Cranberry is most commonly used for the prevention and treatment of urinary tract infections (UTIs).

Cranberry is also used for kidney stones, enlarged prostate, common cold, and many other conditions, but there is no good scientific evidence to support these uses.

In foods, cranberry fruit is used in cranberry juice, cranberry juice cocktail, jelly, and sauce.

Cranberries, also known as cranberries and cranberries, are dark red berries produced by evergreen shrubs of the Rhododendron family. They are mainly grown in acid soils and peat wetlands in temperate climates. They are mainly produced in the northeastern United States and southern Canada.

The origin of the word cranberry is that its flower resembles the head of a sandhill crane, so it was originally named crane berry and then changed to the familiar cranberry


Why is cranberry popular?

Historically, cranberry was an important economic crop for local residents in the Americas. In addition to the use of it to prevent scurvy by sailing crews, the prevention of urinary tract infections is its most well-known effect

The main components of cranberry are: water (88%), organic acids (including salicylic acid), fructose, vitamin C (200 mg/kg), flavonoids, anthocyanins, catechins and triterpenoids. Nutrients are among the best in common fruits, so it is also called ruby ​​fruit

Because cranberries are sour and astringent, they are difficult to eat raw, so they are usually sold on the market after processing. Commonly include juice, dried fruit, jam or capsule health products.


When to eat cranberries (how to eat)? How much does it help?

The current clinical research focuses on cranberry juice, concentrated fruit juice and dry extract (cranberry tablets or capsules). However, there is a lack of consistency in the dosage regimen and there is no standard dosage.

In a study against urinary tract infection, the daily dose of 25% pure cranberry juice was between 120 and 1000 ml, and the concentrated cranberry extract in the form of lozenges or capsules was used 600 mg to more than 1200 mg per day respectively.

The best time to use is after meals. In addition, please confirm with your doctor about your physical condition before use to ensure safety


What are the recommended benefits of cranberry?

  1. Prevent urinary tract infections

Approximately 150 million people worldwide suffer from urinary tract infections each year. Due to the structure of the urinary tract, the lifetime prevalence rate of women can reach 60%, and the incidence rate is 50 times that of men. Common pathogenic factors and pre-urinary tract infections Events, sexual activity, vaginal infections, diabetes, obesity, and genetic susceptibility are related.

In urinary tract infections, cystitis is the most common, mainly uncomplicated (uncomplicated UTI), and complexity is usually related to structural or functional abnormalities (such as: urinary tract obstruction, neurological disease, immune deficiency, renal dysfunction, or catheterization)

In an earlier study (150 women ages 21 to 72), both cranberry juice and cranberry lozenges were significantly effective in preventing UTIs, but lozenges were less effective in terms of cost. A more economical choice. Note 1

But be careful, the effect mentioned here is limited to prevention. Once there are obvious symptoms of urinary tract infection infection, the first line of drugs is still antibiotics.

In addition, the latest literature review and meta-analysis (meta-analysis, including 7 randomized controlled trials, the participants were 1498 women over 18 years old with a history of urinary tract infection) pointed out that compared with placebo or untreated control subjects, use of cranberry was associated with a reduction in recurrence of urinary tract infection episodes (magnitude of 26%) . Note 2

The underlying mechanism may be related to the ability of A-type proanthocyanidins and fructose substances in cranberries to inhibit pathogenic bacteria (Escherichia coli) from adhering to the cell wall of the urinary tract. Note 3

*Conclusion: For women who have a history of urinary tract infection but are in good health, using cranberry can prevent recurrence

  1. Improve risk factors for cardiovascular disease

Cardiovascular disease is the main cause of premature death and disability. Globally, cardiovascular disease accounts for 31% of deaths, most of which are coronary heart disease and cerebrovascular accidents.

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that more than 75% of early cardiovascular diseases are preventable. Improving risk factors (including dyslipidemia, smoking, high blood pressure, diabetes, and abdominal obesity) can help reduce the increasing number of individuals and healthcare providers. Increased burden of disease.

A systematic literature review and meta-analysis (including 12 randomized controlled trials, with a total of 496 participants) showed that cranberries significantly reduced systolic blood pressure and body mass index . Note 1

In addition, stratified analysis showed that the decline in systolic blood pressure was more pronounced in the study participants whose mean age was greater than 50 years, while in the subgroup of subjects whose mean age was less than 50 years, the high-density lipoprotein (high -density lipoprotein) concentration increased significantly.

*Conclusion: Cranberry may be positively helpful for improving cardiovascular disease-related risk factors, but it is limited by small sample size, interference factors, heterogeneity and other issues, and more high-quality studies are needed for further verification

  1. Good for rheumatoid arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis (Rheumatoid arthritis) is a chronic systemic autoimmune disease. The incidence of women is higher than that of men. It is mainly seen in the elderly. The clinical manifestations are joint pain, swelling, and even limited range of motion.

If the condition is poorly controlled or worsens, extra-articular manifestations may occur, such as keratitis, pulmonary granuloma, pericarditis/pleurisy, small vasculitis, and other non-specific extra-articular symptoms.

A randomized controlled trial (90 days, 41 women with rheumatoid arthritis), divided into two groups, the control group maintained a normal diet, and the other group consumed 500 ml of low-calorie cranberry juice per day. Note 1

It was found that the disease activity score (DAS28) and cyclic citrullinated peptide antibody (Anti-CCP antibody) values ​​decreased in the cranberry group, but the values ​​of inflammatory biomarkers did not change significantly.

*Conclusion: For rheumatoid arthritis, the intake of cranberry juice may be positively helpful to the condition, but it is limited by the small number of samples, and more studies are needed to support it.

  1. Good for type 2 diabetes

Diabetes is a chronic hyperglycemia and abnormal carbohydrate, lipid and protein metabolism caused by insulin secretion or full or partial insufficiency. There are two main forms: insulin-dependent diabetes (type 1 diabetes, T1DM) and non-insulin-dependent diabetes Type 2 diabetes (type 2 diabetes, T2DM).

Type 2 diabetes is a multifactorial disease caused by environmental and genetic risk factors, including sedentary, diet, smoking, drinking, environmental endocrine disruptors, etc.

A literature review (systematic review, including 7 randomized controlled trials, a total of 270 patients with type 2 diabetes) pointed out that drinking cranberry juice (240 mL per day, for 12 consecutive weeks) or blueberry extract can bring about improved blood sugar control in diabetes. Favorable influence . Note 4

*Conclusion: Drinking cranberry juice may have a positive effect on blood sugar control in patients with type 2 diabetes, but due to the heterogeneity of the included studies, more large-scale studies are still needed to support it

  1. Increase the eradication rate of Helicobacter pylori

Helicobacter pylori (Campylobacterales order) is a spiral-shaped gram-negative bacillus that mainly colonizes the oral cavity and stomach of humans. According to surveys, more than half of the global population has been infected by this bacteria, and 5% to 10 % Developed chronic gastritis, peptic ulcer, mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue lymphoma, gastric cancer.

In a prospective, open randomized clinical trial study (14 days, 200 patients with peptic ulcer and positive Helicobacter pylori), group A used proton pump inhibitor three-in-one therapy, and group B received the original three-in-one therapy. Add cranberry capsules in addition to one treatment . Note 5

It was found that the eradication rate of Helicobacter pylori was 74% in group A and 89% in group B, which shows that cranberry capsules can improve the therapeutic effect

*Conclusion: The combined use of cranberry capsules in addition to Helicobacter pylori three-in-one therapy can help enhance the effect of bacterial eradication

  1. Improve radiation cystitis (complications caused by Radiation Cystitis/cancer treatment)

Radiation cystitis is the main side effect caused by radiotherapy to treat pelvic (colon, rectum, ovary, uterus and prostate) tumors, with a prevalence rate of nearly 60%

Acute symptoms usually appear within 2 to 3 weeks after treatment, and may include: urgency, frequency, dysuria, hematuria, urinary tract infection, etc.

Although the symptoms can be relieved by treatment, there is currently no effective way to prevent radiation cystitis.

A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of 2 weeks in 41 patients undergoing external beam radiation therapy for prostate cancer found that postoperative cranberry extract, in addition to reducing radiation cystitis, compared with placebo The incidence and severity of pain and burning during urination were also lower (especially in subjects with low hydration regimens and those with baseline urinary tract symptoms). Note 6

*Conclusion: Oral administration of cranberry extract can help reduce radiation cystitis (caused by cancer treatment), but more large trials are still needed for further confirmation

  1. Good for cold prevention

The common cold is a self-limiting disease caused by more than 200 viruses (the rhinovirus is the most common). It affects adults 2 to 4 times and children 4 to 8 times a year. It has a certain impact on the global economy, including absenteeism. Loss of productivity and loss of treatment costs.

Because it is a disease caused by multiple viruses, the ultimate medical treatment of the common cold is still elusive, so the treatment is mainly aimed at relieving symptoms.

A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study (10 weeks in 54 healthy adults) showed that drinking cranberry juice increased the proliferative response of gamma-delta T cells compared with placebo, although influenza, The incidence of colds did not decrease, but related symptoms were significantly reduced . Note 7

*Conclusion: Drinking cranberry juice has the effect of improving part of the immune function and can reduce the related cold symptoms, but it is limited by the small number of samples, and further verification is required


 Are there any side effects of cranberry?

Cranberry is a widely eaten berry. It is often used in food supplements and beverages. It has high safety. However, excessive consumption (whether it is raw juice or lozenges) may irritate the stomach and cause gastrointestinal discomfort and diarrhea.


Safety precautions (6 points of use taboo):

  1. Cranberry is rich in oxalic acid. If consumed in large amounts, it may increase the risk of kidney stones. Therefore, people who have suffered from kidney stones or are prone to disease should not consume large amounts (but for most people, moderate consumption will not increase significantly. Risk of kidney stones). Note 8
  1. Do not consume with anticoagulant drugs (such as Warfarin) (because cranberry ingredients may interfere with the action of the drug, increasing the risk of bruising and bleeding)
  1. People who have been allergic to the drug Aspirin should not use it (because cranberry contains salicylic acid, which is similar in structure to aspirin)
  1. If you eat cranberry juice, please pay attention to the sugar content (for diabetes patients, it may affect blood sugar)
  1. Do not use by pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers (because the relevant safety is unknown)
  1. Do not use in combination with drugs that require the action of Cytochrome P450 enzymes (Cytochrome P450), which may affect the efficacy of the drug. Related drugs are listed below:amitriptyline (amitriptyline) diazepam (valium) zileuton (zileuton) celecoxib (celecoxib) diclofenac (voltarin) fluvastatin (fluvastatin) glipizide (glipizide) ibuprofen (ibuprofen) irbesartan (irbesartan) ) Losartan, phenytoin, piroxicam, tamoxifen, tolbutamide, tolbutamide, torsemide

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