The small study – published in the Journal of Urology – reveals that cranberry juice made with high concentrations of PACs reduced the incidence of repeat urinary tract infections (UTI) by two-thirds, when compared against a control juice.
“Cranberry juice with a high concentration of PAC reduces the risk of recurrent UTIs in children with no urological abnormalities,” confirmed the research team, led by Kourosh Afshar from the University of British Columbia.
Afshar and his team said their findings offer support to cranberry to reduce UTI, however they added that further studies are needed “to determine the cost-effectiveness of this approach.”
PACs are the compounds thought to give cranberries their bacteria-fighting potential. Women have long turned to cranberry juice and supplements to help prevent recurrent UTIs – though studies have been mixed on whether they work.
However, there has been very little research in children, even though UTIs are relatively common in the age group.
In the new study, researchers recruited 40 children who'd had at least two UTIs in the past year.
They randomly assigned the kids to drink one of two juices made for the study (provided by Ocean Spray): a cranberry juice rich in PACs or a juice free of all ‘cranberry products’.
Over the next year, the children who drank cranberry juice had UTIs at a rate of 0.4 per child, compared with 1.15 in the comparison group.
"The findings of this study should not be construed as an endorsement of any commercially available cranberry products," write the researchers, led by Dr. Kourosh Afshar.
The work was funded by the Lions Gate Healthcare Research Foundation.