Landmark Study Suggests Cranberries Can Decrease Use of Antibiotics

Single largest clinical trial of its kind reveals important role for
cranberry in reducing symptomatic UTIs and global antibiotic resistance

LAKEVILLE-MIDDLEBORO, Mass.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Today leading experts on infectious disease and urinary tract infections
(UTIs) will gather in London to discuss the alarming state of antibiotic
resistance and present findings from a landmark study that conclusively
shows that cranberries can be a nutritional approach to reducing
symptomatic UTIs, and as a result, may be a useful strategy to decrease
worldwide use of antibiotics.

According to the study, recently published by the American Journal of
Clinical Nutrition
, drinking an 8-ounce (240 ml) glass of cranberry
juice a day reduces symptomatic UTIs by nearly 40 percent in women with
recurrent UTIs – reducing the burden of UTIs and reducing the antibiotic
use associated with treating recurrent UTIs.

“Currently the primary approach to reducing symptomatic events of UTI is
the use of chronic antibiotics for suppression, an approach associated
with side effects and development of antibiotic resistance. This study
shows that consuming one 8-ounce (240 ml) glass of cranberry juice a day
reduces the number of times women suffer from repeat episodes of
symptomatic UTI and avoids chronic suppressive antibiotics,” said Dr.
Kalpana Gupta, infectious disease specialist and Professor of Medicine
at Boston University’s School of Medicine.

An author on the study and panelist at today’s session, Dr. Gupta
believes that cranberries can help to reduce the worldwide use of
antibiotics and significantly improve the quality of life for women who
suffer from recurrent UTI symptoms.

Single Largest Clinical Trial on Cranberries of its Kind

The 24-week study of 373 women, conducted by researchers at Boston
University, Biofortis Innovation Services (a division of Merieux
Nutrisciences) and 18 clinical sites throughout the US and France, is
the largest clinical trial of its kind examining the effects of
cranberry juice consumption on UTIs. This trial adds to more than 50
years of cranberry research and supports the cranberry’s ability to
support urinary tract health and reduce symptomatic UTIs among chronic
UTI sufferers.

Researchers set out to find whether recurrent (or repeat) UTI sufferers
could be protected from repeat infections by drinking cranberry juice.
Participants were all healthy women, with an average age of 40, who had
experienced at least two UTIs within the past year. During the study,
participants were randomly chosen to drink a daily dose of eight ounces
(240 ml) of either cranberry juice or a “placebo” beverage without

The rate of UTIs decreased significantly among the cranberry drinkers,
with just 39 diagnoses during the six-month study compared with 67 in
the placebo group.

Compared to some other studies, this trial had greater statistical power
to detect differences than others due to its larger sample, use of
incidence density to account for the tendency of clinical UTIs to
cluster in time within an individual, a high average level of compliance
(98%), and a comparatively large percentage of subjects in each group
completing the treatment period (86%).

What’s in a Symptom?

Women with symptomatic UTIs experience all the discomforts of a UTI,
such as a strong, persistent urge to urinate or a burning sensation when
urinating, but may or may not test positive for a bacterial infection
upon a consult with a physician. In many instances, women are treated
with antibiotics for symptom relief whether bacteria is found or not.
According to Gupta, the key to avoiding the situation altogether may
very well lay with the cranberry.

“The key to cranberry’s benefit is consuming a glass daily to help avoid
the infection altogether,” said Gupta. “Most people wait to drink
cranberry juice until they have a UTI, but once the symptoms start
they’ll likely need a course of antibiotics.”

The Correlation between UTIs and Antibiotic Resistance

UTIs are among the most common bacterial infections in women worldwide.
Up to 60 percent of all women suffer a UTI in their lifetime,1
and up to 25 percent experience a recurrence within six months.2
Some 150 million UTIs occur annually worldwide, according to the
American Urological Association, resulting in $6 billion in annual
health care costs.3

Antibiotics are usually the first line of treatment for urinary tract
infections, and women who have frequent UTIs may be prescribed low-dose
antibiotics. Unfortunately, chronic overuse of these drugs has increased
antibiotic resistance at an alarming rate globally. So much in fact,
that the World Health Organization (WHO) cites a 50 percent resistance
rate to one of the most widely used antibiotics to treat UTIs.4

How Cranberries Work

Luckily, cranberries contain a unique combination of compounds including
Type-A PACs (or proanthocyanidins) that prevent bacteria from sticking
and causing infection. In addition to PACs, new studies have revealed a
new class of compounds, xyloglucan oligosaccharides, which have similar
anti-bacterial properties against E. coli as PACs5.
This means there are multiple, unique elements within cranberries
working hard for your health.

These unique compounds can be found in a variety of products, including
cranberry juice cocktail, 100% cranberry juice, light cranberry juice,
dried cranberries and cranberry extract; however most of the research
surrounding cranberries and UTIs has been conducted using juice.

Cranberries, a Natural Approach to Better Health

The suggestion that a nutritional approach like cranberry juice could
reduce antibiotic use is welcome news given the alarming challenge it
presents to public health, one that the WHO refers to as one of the
greatest challenges to public health today6, and that the UK
Chancellor of the Exchequer said could become a threat ‘greater than

According to Gupta, those who suffer from UTIs can feel confident that
this nutritional approach is a potential solution – further validating
more than 50 years of well-documented cranberry research.

Find more information on the study and the health benefits of
cranberries at

About Cranberry Health Benefits

For more than 85 years, Ocean Spray has been actively researching the
cranberry’s unique healthy benefits to deliver products that not only
taste good, but are good for you. Cranberries are an exceptional fruit
that provide one-of-a-kind health benefits. Besides helping consumers
meet the recommended daily intake of fruit, consuming cranberries may be
a nutritional approach in helping to reduce certain infections in the
urinary tract and stomach. This is increasingly important as the
bacteria that cause these infections are becoming highly resistant to
the strongest antibiotics used to treat them, fueling what the World
Health Organization believes is one of the greatest challenges to public
health today – antibiotic resistance. For more information about
cranberries and your health, visit

About Ocean Spray

Ocean Spray is a vibrant agricultural cooperative owned by more than 700
cranberry and grapefruit growers in the United States, Canada and Chile
who have helped preserve the family farming way of life for generations.
Formed in 1930, Ocean Spray is now the world’s leading producer of
cranberry juices, juice drinks and dried cranberries and is the
best-selling brand in the North American bottled juice category. The
cooperative’s cranberries are currently featured in more than a thousand
great-tasting, good-for-you products in over 100 countries worldwide.
With more than 2,000 employees and nearly 20 cranberry receiving and
processing facilities, Ocean Spray is committed to managing our business
in a way that respects our communities, employees and the environment.
For more information visit:

1 Foxman B, Barlow R, D’Arcy H, Gillespie B, Sobel JD.
Urinary tract infection: self-reported incidence and associated costs.
Ann Epidemiol. 2000 Nov;10(8):509-15.

2 Foxman B, Brown P.Epidemiology of urinary tract infections:
transmission and risk factors, incidence, and costs. Infect Dis Clin
North Am. 2003 Jun;17(2):227-41.

3 American Urological Association. “Adult UTI:
Epidemiology/Socioeconomics/Education.” Available at:

4 Antimicrobial resistance: global report on surveillance
2014; WHO;

5 Hotchkiss AT, Nunez A, Strahan GD, Chau H, White A, Marais
J, Hom K, Vakkalanka MS, Di R, Yam KL, Khoo C. Cranberry Xyloglucan
Structure and Inhibition of Escherichia coli Adhesion to Epithelial
Cells. J Agric Food Chem. 2015 Jun 17;63(23):5622-33.

6 Antimicrobial resistance: global report on surveillance
2014; WHO;



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Kelly Vesty, 617-520-7061