Cranberries are packed with antioxidants and other nutrients that have a ton of health benefits. They are often sold as dietary supplements in the form of extracts, pills, capsules, or gummies.
Cranberries are high in:
- Vitamin C
Because of the presence of these potent antioxidants and vitamin C, preclinical studies (lab studies) have shown that cranberry supplements may have the following properties:
8 benefits of cranberry supplements
1. Helps promote bladder health
Cranberry is commonly used to prevent bladder infections. According to some studies, cranberry juice or extract may inhibit the ability of bacteria to adhere to the bladder wall, resulting in a lower incidence of urinary tract infections.
Cranberry acts as a urinary “deodorant” by increasing urine acidity that reduces the activity of bacteria that break down chemicals in the urine and produce a pungent odor.
2. Protects against stomach ulcers
Preliminary evidence suggests that cranberry may help prevent ulcer-causing bacteria (Helicobacter pylori) from adhering to the stomach wall. It has thus been proposed for the prevention or treatment of stomach ulcers.
3. Fights cavities
Cranberry compounds prevent bacteria from overgrowing in your mouth, which can help protect against cavities and gum disease.
4. May prevent cancer
Limited animal studies have shown that cranberry extracts and proanthocyanidins have antiproliferative effects in vivo against cancer of the esophagus, stomach, colon, bladder, prostate, glioblastoma, and lymphoma. However, human trials are yet to be conducted.
5. Antibacterial effects
According to some preliminary studies, bacteria were more sensitive to cranberry-antibiotic combinations than to antibiotics alone, and proanthocyanidins derived from cranberries suppressed antibiotic resistance.
Studies showed that when cranberry extracts were given alongside antibiotics, the bacteria did not develop antibiotic resistance. The ability to enhance antibiotic action could improve treatment outcomes and prevent the emergence of antibiotic-resistant infections.
6. Rich in antioxidants
Cranberry boosts the body's antioxidant capacity. Antioxidants neutralize chemicals known as free radicals that can damage cells and tissues in the body and contribute to aging.
7. Aids absorption of vitamin B12
Clinical studies have shown that drinking cranberry juice with vitamin B12-containing foods may improve absorption of the vitamin. This may be especially beneficial for vegetarians and those who take antacids.
8. May reduce bad cholesterol
Cranberry supplements help lower total and LDL (bad) cholesterol in people with type II diabetes who are taking hypoglycemic medication.
Are there any side effects of cranberry supplements?
The typical dose of dry cranberry extract and cranberry juice is as follows:
- Cranberry extract: 300-400 milligrams twice daily
- Cranberry juice: 8-16 ounces daily
While these amounts are safe for the majority of people, excessive consumption may result in the following side effects:
Cranberry extract may interfere with medications such as:
- Proton pump inhibitors
- Medications for stomach ulcers or acid reflux
- Blood thinners
The FDA does not strictly regulate cranberry supplements and has not approved them for medicinal use. That means there is no guarantee of a product's purity, strength, or safety. As a result, effects may differ.
Before taking cranberry supplements, consult your doctor if you have a medical condition, are pregnant, or are nursing. If you experience any side effects, contact your doctor right away.
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