Current clinical status on the preventive effects of cranberry consumption against urinary tract infections. [Review]
Urinary tract infections (UTIs) represent a common and quite costly medical problem, primarily affecting the female population which may be due to a shorter urethra. The bacterium Escherichia coli are mainly responsible for most uncomplicated UTIs. Cranberry antibacterial effects have widely been studied in vitro, and laboratory and clinical studies have also been performed to elucidate the mechanisms of cranberry actions and the clinical benefits of cranberry consumption against UTIs. The present review aimed to summarize the proposed mechanisms of cranberry actions against UTIs and the clinical trials that evaluated the efficacy of supplementing cranberry products in different subpopulations. Taking into consideration the existing data, cranberry consumption may prevent bacterial adherence to uroepithelial cells which reduces the development of UTI. Cranberry consumption could also decreasing UTI related symptoms by suppressing inflammatory cascades as an immunologic response to bacteria invasion. The existing clinical trials suggest that the beneficial effects of cranberry against UTIs seem to be prophylactic by preventing the development of infections; however, they exert low effectiveness in populations at increased risk for contracting UTIs. Additional well-designed, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trials that use standardized cranberry products are strongly justified in order to determine the efficiency of cranberry on the prevention of UTIs in susceptible populations. Copyright 2013 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.