Global experts at the International Conference on Polyphenols and Health discussed how cranberries may be a nutritional approach to reduce antibiotic use and support whole-body health.
An international team of scientists presented new evidence showing how cranberries are poised to be a compelling tool to help reduce antibiotic resistance and oxidative stress.
Reporting at the International Conference on Polyphenols and Health (ICPH) last Friday, the scientists revealed the growing evidence on how cranberries can help curb recurrent urinary tract infections (UTIs), the second most common type of infection in the body. A lower number of infections would mean less use of antibiotics and less risk of developing antibiotic resistance. In addition, they touched on how the unique blend of polyphenol antioxidants - provided by cranberries - may assist in preserving heart and cognitive health, and protect against oxidative stress to help promote overall well-being.
"We have long believed in the urinary tract health benefits that cranberries provide," said Kalpana Gupta, MD, MPH, chief of Infectious Diseases at Boston Healthcare System and professor of medicine at Boston University School of Medicine, "but this new research reveals just how wide-ranging those benefits can be."
Cranberry: Helping to Curb Antibiotic Resistance and Promote Overall Health
Approximately 40 percent of women and 12 percent of men will experience at least one symptomatic urinary tract infection during their lifetime, which underscores why one of the world's most pressing public health problems is antibiotic resistance, according to the World Health Organization. In Europe alone, an estimated 400,000 people a year are infected with a resistant strain of bacteria. And in the United States, at least 2 million people are infected with bacteria that are antibiotic resistant. Sometimes these seemingly simple infections can lead to complications, which may have been preventable.
Dr. Gupta highlighted that rising resistance across multiple classes of drugs has made oral options for UTIs often limited and sometimes nonexistent. The results from clinical trials suggest that cranberry may reduce the incidence of symptomatic UTI.
Christina Khoo, PhD, director of Research Sciences at Ocean Spray, built upon this issue, sharing how unique cranberry elements make it a powerful and, importantly, nutritional approach that can provide benefits across the entire body. Imagine managing reoccurring ailments, such as UTI, with cranberry as opposed to an antibiotic - it just might be possible.
Leveraging the Power of Cranberry to Stem Oxidative stress and Support Heart and Cognitive Health
Among its list of healthy attributes is the cranberry's ability to support cardiovascular and cognitive health. Peter Howe, PhD, professor at the University of Newcastle in Australia, presented research explaining how polyphenols, like those found in cranberries that help keep bacteria from attaching to cells, have been linked to better blood flow, which could help improve overall cardiovascular health as well as cognitive function.
Luis Goya, PhD, research investigator with the Department of Metabolism and Nutrition at the Institute of Food Science, Technology and Nutrition (ICTAN-CSIC) in Madrid, added to Dr. Howe's presentation and discussed those important cranberry components and how they may protect against oxidative stress, which might help improve the body's ability to fight the harmful effects of stress.
"Based on emerging science, cranberries can be a vital nutritional asset to address global health issues, particularly as more people look to holistic approaches for healing," said Dr. Howe. "I'm pleased to be part of this international team of experts to present the latest scientific findings and to assess opportunities for continued discovery."
The Future is Fruitful
Cranberries play an important role in helping people meet their recommended fruit intake, and the science presented during the ICPH conference further underscores that cranberries are powerful and may provide whole-body health benefits. This new research also builds on other recent findings that revealed drinking cranberry juice cocktail may help manage risks associated with heart disease, diabetes and stroke.The future is fruitful for cranberry and, more importantly, for those who can benefit from its nutritional elements.