Cranberry Juice is commonly known to help with decreasing the frequency and/or severity of Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) and other urinary troubles including kidney stones. One of the chief causes of UTIs is the presence of the bacterium E. coli which adheres to the cell walls of the bladder and urinary tract, thus causing an infection. Cranberry Juice keeps bacteria from sticking to the walls, thus decreasing the likelihood that an infection will result. It also increases the pH of the urine; bacteria that cause UTIs have trouble growing in an acidic environment.
E. coli is often in the news as being the contaminant of recalled food, or being in lakes or other bodies of water where it is suggested people avoid swimming. E. coli is a natural “component” in the feces/stool of mammals-humans too. E. coli helps food break down to release its nutrients for use. It also makes Vitamin K which is essential for blood clotting abilities. Without E. coli in the intestines, a person would bleed to death because Vitamin K is needed to make blood clotting factors.
E. coli bacteria become a problem when there is too much of it, or if it is found in places outside of the intestines and colon. Therefore, food eaten that is contaminated with E. coli causes illness. Often the E. coli that enters the urinary tract comes from the feces of the person who develops the UTI.
Aside from being effective against E. coli, this remarkable Juice has also been found to inhibit the growth of mold and yeast as well, which can also cause bladder infections.
Cranberry Juice has also shown to be a powerful antioxidant as well as anti-inflammatory agent. Due to its high mineral and vitamin content, it has been used repeatedly to assist with asthma and other respiratory ailments, cancer, various inflammatory conditions, and even to protect the skin against the damages from UV (ultraviolet) radiation and the sun (Cohen, 2011).
But recently (Cohen, 2011), it was discovered that Cranberry Juice will reduce the amount of nutrient depletion caused by the acid-reducing drugs H2 Blockers and Proton Pump Inhibitors:
H2 Blockers and Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPIs) are often prescribed for the treatment of Gastro-Esophageal Reflux Disease (GERD), heartburn, sour stomach and virtually any other symptom that affects the stomach including nausea. It has also been prescribed for heart palpitations when no heart pathology has been found.
In 2010, the drug esomeprazole (Nexium®) was the number 2 prescribed drug in the United States (and number one for income for all drugs prescribed in the same year)-25,872 prescriptions were written for this one GERD drug alone. The cholesterol-lowering drug Lipitor® was #1 with 37,523 prescriptions (Drugs, 2011).
Nutrient Depletion by Medical Drugs
All medical drugs deplete vital nutrients from the body, although no one drug depletes them all. Depletion occurs either because the medical drug binds to the nutrient then they both get flushed together, or through a secondary action-the drug interferes with the absorption of the nutrient, so the body’s stores are not revitalized, thus causing a deficiency as the nutrients are used without being replaced in the diet or through supplementation.
Since H2 Blockers and PPIs work in the stomach to reduce the production of acid, most nutrients in the diet are not processed as they should be, thus they do not get absorbed by the body for use.
H2 Blockers and PPIs interfere with the absorption of most of the water-soluble vitamins (the B-Vitamins, Vitamin C, etc.) as well as minerals that require a high degree of stomach acid to convert them into a usable form (such as potassium, magnesium and calcium).
How Can Cranberry Juice Help Prevent Nutrient Depletion by These Drugs?
Cranberry is an acidic substance. Drinking Cranberry Juice with meals helps the nutrients to be absorbed that would otherwise be blocked by the drugs. Cranberries are also a rich source of many nutrients, especially those that are blocked by the H2 Blockers and PPIs, as well as Quercetin which helps decrease inflammation; a side effect common of acid-blocking drugs is inflammation of the lining of the stomach.
Cranberry is in the Ericaceae botanical family. If you have an allergy or sensitivity to any other member of this family, you might also have a reaction to Cranberry. Other medicinal members are bearberries, blueberries, bilberries, mayflower, uva ursi and wintergreen.
Do not eat or drink Cranberries if you are sensitive to any member of this family.
Cohen, Suzy (2011). Drug Muggers: Which Medications are Robbing Your Body of Essential Nutrients-and Natural Ways to Restore Them. Emmaus, PA: Rodale.
Drugs.com (2011). “Pharmaceutical Sales 2010” at http://www.drugs.com/top200_units.html.
Dr. Ronda Behnke Theys ND, CHom
Homeopathic Centers of America
Disclaimer: The information provided by Dr. Ronda Behnke Theys is for educational purposes only. It is important that you not make health decisions or stop any medication without first consulting your personal physician or health care provider.