Bioactive compounds in cranberries and their role in prevention of urinary tract infections.
Cranberry (Vaccinium macrocarpon Ait.) ingestion has long been associated with prevention of urinary tract infections. The beneficial mechanism was historically thought to be due to the fruit acids causing a bacteriostatic effect in the urine. However, recently, a group of proanthocyanidins (PACs) with A-type linkages were isolated from cranberry which exhibit bacterial antiadhesion activity against both antibiotic susceptible and resistant strains of uropathogenic P-fimbriated Escherichia coli bacteria. The link between cranberry ingestion and maintenance of urinary tract health as well as the structural diversity, pharmacokinetics, quantification, and bacterial antiadhesion bioactivity of the A-linked cranberry PACs are reviewed.