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Cranberry Pills Helped Against Urinary Tract Infections and Blood Pressure

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Q. I recently heard from a friend that she was having frequent bladder infections and didn't want to take any more antibiotics. She decided to try cranberry pills and found they work great. Her blood pressure is lower, too. What do you know about cranberry pills?

A. Cranberry juice has a reputation for preventing urinary tract infections that goes back decades. Recent research has been somewhat inconclusive (Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, Oct. 17, 2012). A recent small study in Wisconsin found that women eating sweetened dried cranberries had fewer infections  (Nutrition Journal, online Oct. 18, 2013). Researchers have suggested that using cranberry products to prevent recurrent urinary tract infections might help reduce antibiotic overuse and resistance (Advances in Nutrition, Nov. 2013).

The evidence that cranberry products can normalize blood pressure is even more elusive, but one placebo-controlled study found that double-strength cranberry juice consumed for a month reduced arterial stiffness (American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, May, 2011). That is a benefit, of course, and is probably attributed to the polyphenols in the cranberry juice. We are glad your friend found it helpful but we are not sure it would lower blood pressure for others. 

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I love whole berry cranberry sauce, buy 3 cans at a time. Eat all year long as a condiment to supplement meals. Have not had a urinary tract infection since adding whole berry cranberry sauce to my daily diet.

In the spirit of sharing...

This Thanksgiving I made cranberry sauce with a bag of dried cranberries, a bag of frozen pineapple and a tablespoon of frozen apple juice concentrate, in a sauce pan, covered with water. Brought it to a boil and waited until all the cranberries popped. Then I smashed the whole thing and tried to wait for it to reduce, but lost my patience. (no sugar added, super sweet... might reduce the amount of pineapple and apple juice in the future)

Put it all in the fridge. Loved it with turkey and now I put a tablespoon full on my oatmeal in the morning. It cools the oatmeal, adds fruity flavor and I'm getting my cranberries with no sugar added.

I hope they are as nutritious as they say!

I used to get UTIs frequently and went on antibiotics each time, but when I started getting them a month or so after getting off the antibiotics, it was too much. My family doc referred me to a urologist and he put me on prophylactic antibiotics. When I expressed my dismay to a nurse friend, she suggested cranberry pills.

I stopped the antibiotics and took her suggestion. Voila! The only UTI I have had since then was when I couldn't get my brand of cranberry caps and used a different brand. Once back on the original brand I have been clear of UTIs. Anyone trying cranberry caps may need to cycle through various brands until they find one that works for them.

For years I had burning upon urination - rarely was it due to a UTI but there were times I thought that's what I was having and the tests were always negative. Stopping coffee consumption (which made me sad) would help but never completely. A couple of years ago I began taking a cranberry tablet daily - no more burning urine! And I can drink my coffee! Three cheers for such an inexpensive and healthy remedy!

I recently had a UTI &my Dr. prescribed doxycycline an antibiotic. I finished the course of med. with no relief of the urgency or burning. I didn't want more RX so took concentrated cranberry capsules & got almost immediate relief.

I would like to hear more on cranberry pills.

What an amazing thought that the cranberry caps could help with high blood pressure. I started taking the cranberry capsules for bladder control and in what I had thought (until now reading above) was an unrelated issue, my blood pressure had gone down without changing the dosage on my high blood pressure meds!

Thanks for the info; mystery solved! As for the lady trying to make cranberry sauce without sugar, here is a fool proof recipe: I take 2 bags (16 oz each) fresh cranberries (sold in most stores around Thanksgiving/Christmas) and put them in a large stew pot covered by 2 cups of boiling water, add 3/4 cup Truvia (natural stevia-NOT one for baking that has sugar added)and 1/4 cup orange flavored no sugar Metamucil.

Stir on top of stove over medium high heat until cranberries "pop" and mixture starts to thicken. DO NOT substitute an artificial sugar substitute for the stevia as most artificial sugar subs will make it BITTER! The Truvia stevia in the little green topped jar works best.

The orange flavored Metamucil gives it zip and helps thicken, not to mention added fiber! Serves a large crowd or will last in the frig as you serve yourself over and over again for a week or so. Or it can be cut in half for a smaller batch but I've never tried that so not sure about the thickening power.

As a young adult I got UTI's frequently. One was so bad I had to go to the ER; I was in so much pain I couldn't even stand up. Then I started taking cranberry supplements (I also love cranberry foodstuffs), and I've not had a UTI in decades. Yea, cranberries!

I just started taking them a week ago and my bottom bp number (dialostic, I think) was normally at 80 and the last few days it has been in the 70s.

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