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Cranberry: The beneficial properties and benefits of this summer must-have

by Maria Kirmanidou, Dietitian & Sport Nutritionist

20 May 2024 • 0 min read

Summer is around the corner, the season we all patiently wait for. And since we have begun the discussion of our summer must-haves, after the sunscreen with natural filter, it's time for the cranberry supplement to go in your bag along with your daily snack, since its benefits seem to be many and...evidence-based!

While during winter and the cold months of the year, we try to protect ourselves from colds, flu and frequent viral infections (especially after Covid, where cases have multiplied), during summer months fungal infections and urinary tract infections are increased, especially among the female population. Have you felt mild irritation or intense itching within the sensitive area after or during holidays? Have you had an urinary tract infection and have continued to get one ever since? Do you also sit in your bathing suit on communal sunbeds? Then, keep reading because there is something that can help protect you from pathogenic bacteria that can attack the health of the sensitive area, when we all - more or less, even if we haven't had a UTI or fungal infection, will be exposed to communal loungers or..towels.

Cranberry fruit originates in Canada and North America and belongs to the same family as blueberry. All berry families are fruits, rich in vitamin C and numerous antioxidants, such as catechins, terpenoids, anthocyanidins, quercetin and polyphenols. However, among the abundant antioxidants contained in cranberries, one group of antioxidants, type A proanthocyanidins, have the surprising property of preventing pathogens, especially the most common - culprit - strain - Escherichia Coli, from adhering to the epithelial cells of the bladder. The normal anatomy of the susceptible area is therefore a factor that increases the risk of urinary tract infection, especially during summer months, with women being affected up to 3-4 times more than men.

Therefore, it seems that cranberry is an excellent natural choice for women, especially menopausal women and those who are prone to urinary tract infections, fungal infections, regardless of age. Now in the summer, it is imperative for all of us to protect ourselves! And what better solution than one that comes directly from nature?

Below, there are some scientific data from studies that have been conducted regarding the use of cranberry supplementation in the prevention and treatment of urinary tract infections (UTIs):

  • In a randomised controlled trial by Guven and colleagues, patients given cranberry recovered faster than those given antibiotics.
  • A 2012 meta-analysis that studied 1616 volunteers notes that the use of cranberry products, either in liquid (juice) or tablet/capsule form, appears to be protective against UTIs, especially in susceptible populations.
  • A recent 2022 meta-analysis confirms the findings of previous studies, noting that cranberry supplementation can reduce the risk of UTIs by 21%.
In addition to its protective role in vaginal and urinary health, cranberry - as mentioned above - contains plenty of antioxidants. What does this mean? That it acts protectively against oxidative stress, which is the accumulation of free radicals in the body, which have been implicated in reducing immune response and signs of premature aging. Rich in vitamin C, vitamin E and hundreds of different antioxidants, cranberry contributes to smoother and glowing skin, preventing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Let's not forget that we need to take care of “beauty from within".

Another summer essential added to your bag to take care of you every day. Holland & Barrett, with 150 years of experience, provides cranberry supplements to enhance urinary health, as well as cranberry in liquid form. Moreover, you'll find Tribiotic Women's Balance, a unique triple-action probiotic supplement, enhanced with cranberry extract to simultaneously care for and support gastrointestinal and urinary health.

So, what are you waiting for?

Scientific References

González de Llano, D., Moreno-Arribas, M. V., & Bartolomé, B. (2020). Cranberry polyphenols and prevention against urinary tract infections: relevant considerations. Molecules, 25(15), 3523.

Güven, O., Sayılan, S., Tataroğlu, Ö., Hökenek, N. M., & Keleş, D. V. (2023). Antibiotic versus cranberry in the treatment of uncomplicated urinary infection: a randomized controlled trial. Revista da Associação Médica Brasileira, 70, e20230799.

Valente, J., Pendry, B. A., & Galante, E. (2022). Cranberry (Vaccinium macrocarpon) as a prophylaxis for urinary tract infections in women: A systematic review with meta-analysis. Journal of Herbal Medicine, 36, 100602.

Wang, C. H., Fang, C. C., Chen, N. C., Liu, S. S. H., Yu, P. H., Wu, T. Y., ... & Chen, S. C. (2012). Cranberry-containing products for prevention of urinary tract infections in susceptible populations: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Archives of internal medicine, 172(13), 988-996.

Williams, G., Stothart, C. I., Hahn, D., Stephens, J. H., Craig, J. C., & Hodson, E. M. (2023). Cranberries for preventing urinary tract infections. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, (11).