UTI Research From Cranberry Juice Companies Stretches the Truth

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(Photo: Twitter / @OceanSprayInc)

Anyone who gets urinary tract infections (UTIs) on a regular basis has had someone recommend trying cranberry juice as a natural preventative, but it turns out the research that supposedly supports this remedy may not be telling the whole truth. 

Over the years multiple studies have tried to find a connection between the consumption of cranberry juice and the easement of UTIs. There is a theory that claims certain compounds contained in the tart fruit juice are able to keep bacteria from sticking to cells in the bladder lining. This has yet to be proved. 

But a new study seems to prove that cranberry juice has the power to cure UTIs, concluding that "cranberries can be a nutritional approach to reducing symptomatic [urinary tract infections]."

Before you go out and stock up on bottles of juice, however, it's important to note the study may not be all it seems.  

The study, which was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, was funded by Ocean Spray and co-authored by their staff scientists. 

The methods the researchers used to reach their conclusion calls into question the efficacy of the research, according to Vox. The study looked at women who reported symptoms of a UTI rather than women who had a UTI confirmed by testing urine. Therefore, it is possible the symptoms improved because they were not actually a sign of a real UTI. 

"They made [cranberry juice] appear much more effective by using a clinical definition — symptoms — which is rubbery at best," Jonathan Craig, a clinical epidemiology professor at the University of Sydney, explained to Vox. "By definition, a UTI means you have an infection in the urinary tract. How can you have a UTI without the 'I'?"

The research also showed that even if the juice helped to an extent, it only helped by preventing one "symptomatic UTI" after 3.2 years of drinking juice everyday.