Use of cranberry-containing products appears to be associated with prevention of urinary tract infections in some individuals, according to a study that reviewed the available medical literature and was published by Archives of Internal Medicine.
Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are common bacterial infections and adult women are particularly susceptible. Cranberry-containing products have long been used as a "folk remedy" to prevent the condition, according to the study background.
Chih-Hung Wang, M.D., of National Taiwan University Hospital and National Taiwan University College of Medicine, and colleagues reviewed the available medical literature to reevaluate cranberry-containing products for the prevention of UTI.
"Cranberry-containing products tend to be more effective in women with recurrent UTIs, female populations, children, cranberry juice drinkers, and people using cranberry-containing products more than twice daily," the authors note.
The authors identified 13 trials, including 1,616 individuals, for qualitative analysis and 10 of these trials, including 1,494 individuals, were included in quantitative analysis. The random-effects pooled risk ratio for cranberry users vs. nonusers was 0.62, according to the study results.
"In conclusion, the results of the present meta-analysis support that consumption of cranberry-containing products may protect against UTIs in certain populations. However, because of the substantial heterogeneity across trials, this conclusion should be interpreted with great caution," the authors conclude.
Arch Intern Med. 2012;172:988-996.