Cranberry Juice and its Actions with UTI’s

Sara Ramos (5 PM Micro) found the idea of being able to cure UTIs very interesting, and found two studies via Science Daily (here and here).

Throughout the years and through many generations, people have been convinced about the power and strength that cranberry juice has in relations with urinary tract infections (UTIs). It wasn’t until earlier this week that I was determined to find out if this saying is true, and what exactly occurs to help prevent infections. Well I found an article published by Science Daily that found a research done that indicates that cranberry juice does help ward off urinary tract infections.

As many of you already know, a urinary tract infection is a bacterial infection that affects the urinary tract system. These urinary tract infections are mainly caused by the leading known bacteria Escherichia coli. As we have learned in lecture Escherichia coli normally lives in the human intestine that helps aid in participation of digestive processes; however, when a normal microbiota turns into a pathogenic strain the Escherichia coli begins to cause many illnesses and infections to the body. With an infection occurring in the body from the pathogenic strain of bacteria, how exactly can cranberry juice help ward off these bacteria from causing urinary tract infections? Well, according to Science Daily they mention a recent study that researches conducted to see the exact action that cranberry juice has in effect with UTI’s. The Worcester Polytechnic Institute was determined to perform a study in defining the exact action that cranberry juice has in effect with the bacteria Escherichia coli. There were two studies that were performed and the first study began by exposing two different varieties of Escherichia coli bacteria. The two varieties was one that had fimbriae, and the other bacteria did not. Each of these bacteria was placed into different concentrations of cranberry juices to be observed. As we have learned in lecture we know that when fimbriae is presented in many virulent bacteria especially the ones presented from urinary tract infections. As the two bacteria have been in the different concentrations for a certain amount of time, the researcher found that the cranberry juice has affected the bacteria that contained the fimbriae. The researcher noticed that with the fimbriae bacteria, that the juice had caused alteration in two of the properties that are indicators that help attachment to other cells. The first property that was affected from little concentration of cranberry juice was the Gibbs free energy attachment, which is that amount of energy that is exerted in order for attachment of the bacterium to other cells; however without the presence of cranberry juice the bacterium will most-likely attach to the cells and promote further infection. The researchers also found that the second property that was affected from the little concentration of cranberry juice was Surface free energy. This suggests that when cranberry juice is presented it provided an energy barrier that repels bacteria from the cells to promote the bacteria from affected the cells and causing the infection. This study performed by many researchers presented the idea that cranberry juice does have an effect on urinary tract infection and its action on adhesion and attachment.

There was another article that I found on the Science Daily, which presented a continuation of the study on cranberry juice and its effect on preventing urinary tract infections. This time the study was done by having each of the volunteers consumed cranberry juice cocktail at the beginning of the study, and after the consumptions of the cranberry juice the volunteers were required to urinate so that the researchers can test the affect of Escherichia coli with that given urine in determination to find the affect that cranberry juice has with the bacteria. The researchers concluded to find that Escherichia coli has the ability to stick together and form a biofilm. The production of forming a biofilm helps provide the bacteria an area of environment so that the bacteria can thrive. They also founded that the cranberry juice prevents the action of sticking to other bacteria that is presented, and if Escherichia coli doesn’t stick, than it has no action and has a better chance of being flushed out of the urinary track and not causing an infection. The study done indicated that the consumption of cranberry juice is beneficial to preventing bacterial adhesion at-least within 8 hours after the cranberry juice entered the oral cavity. So it is true, cranberry juice does help prevent urinary tract infections, however it’s the matter of fact that if your willing to consume the beverage in order to prevent the Escherichia coli in becoming a pathogenic strain.


About ycpmicro

My name is David Singleton, and I am an Associate Professor of Microbiology at York College of Pennsylvania. My main course is BIO230, a course taken by allied-health students at YCP. Views on this site are my own.

Posted on December 11, 2011, in Guest Post. Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on Cranberry Juice and its Actions with UTI’s.

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