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Systematic review and meta-analysis
Updated systematic review suggests that cranberry juice is not effective at preventing urinary tract infection
  1. Amy B Howell
  1. Rutgers University, Marucci Center for Blueberry Cranberry Research, Chatsworth, New Jersey, USA
  1. Correspondence to: Dr Amy B Howell
    Rutgers University, Marucci Center for Blueberry Cranberry Research, 125 A Lake Oswego Road, Chatsworth, NJ 08019, USA; ahowell{at}

Statistics from

Commentary on: Jepson RG, Williams G, Craig JC. Cranberries for preventing urinary tract infections. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2012;10:CD001321.

Implications for practice and research

  • Not all cranberry products contain enough active proanthocyanidins (PACs) for clinical efficacy. Consumers should look for products containing 36 mg of PACs.

  • Cranberry is nearly as effective as low-dose antibiotics for urinary tract infection (UTI) prevention in women and children and does not cause antibiotic resistance.

  • If cranberry products are being recommended to patients, conclusions of this one review do not provide sufficient reasons to change current practices.


UTIs are a significant public health challenge with more than 15 million cases in the USA each year, with their treatment accounting for 15% of all community-prescribed antibiotics at a cost of $500 million annually. For decades, cranberry juice and powders have been routinely recommended by healthcare practitioners for the prevention of UTIs. Meta-analyses of the clinical studies on cranberry are occasionally published …

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  • Competing interests The author is employed by Rutgers University, Marucci Center for Blueberry Cranberry Research. This Center is focused on researching all aspects of the blueberry and cranberry, including entomology, plant pathology, plant breeding and health benefits.

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