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Cranberry For Prostate Health

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If you thought cranberry was good just for fighting urinary tract infections and eating as cranberry sauce, then it’s time to introduce you to how this small, tart berry can benefit prostate health. In fact, cranberry has demonstrated usefulness in managing symptoms of prostatitis and in the fight against prostate cancer.

What’s Special About Cranberry?

Cranberries (Vaccinium macrocarpon) are excellent sources of vitamin C and other antioxidants, especially a group known as proanthocyanidins (PACs). A unique type of PAC called B-type PACs are found in cranberries, and only these PACs can help prevent bacteria from adhering to the walls of the urinary tract.

As you may know, about half of men can expect to experience a prostate condition called prostatitis during their lifetime. By far, the most common type of prostatitis is chronic nonbacterial prostatitis, which is characterized by lower urinary tract symptoms such as urinary urgency, the need to get up often during the night to urinate, dribbling and painful urination.

Cranberries And The Prostate

The ability of cranberries to help relieve lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS) was seen in a study of 42 men who had chronic nonbacterial prostatitis, which is often referred to as chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome (CP/CPPS). All the men were assigned to take either 1,500 mg of dried powdered cranberries or no cranberry supplement daily for six months.

By the end of the study, men who had taken the cranberry supplement showed a significant improvement in lower urinary tract symptoms when compared with men in the control group. The study’s authors concluded that their findings were “the first firm evidence that cranberries may ameliorate LUTS, independent of benign prostatic hyperplasia.” [1]

Cranberries also showed evidence of relieving prostatitis symptoms in another study. That study involved 48 rats with chronic bacterial prostatitis that were given either cranberry, ciprofloxacin (an antibiotic), E. coli extract or no intervention. After four weeks, the rats given cranberry showed significantly reduced growth of bacteria and inflammation of the prostate when compared with the control group. The best results were seen in the ciprofloxacin group. [2]

Cancer Effect

Another prostate condition that has responded to cranberries is prostate cancer. At the University of Prince Edward Island, scientists evaluated the impact of various extracts of cranberry on human prostate cancer cell growth. They discovered that cranberry extracts “can affect the behavior of human prostate cancer cells” and that their findings “further support the potential health benefits associated with cranberries.” [3]

Finally, here’s a benefit of cranberry that affects prostate cancer, urinary tract infections and LUTS. A recent study in Cancer Management and Research reported that a cranberry extract was effective in reducing the risk of urinary tract infections and LUTS in men who were undergoing radiation therapy for prostate cancer. Specifically, of the 184 men given cranberry extract, only 16 (8.7 percent) experienced a urinary tract infection associated with radiation therapy, compared with 45 of 186 men (24.2 percent) in the control group. The researchers also reported a lower rate of LUTS among men in the cranberry group. [4]

While you can still enjoy the benefits of cranberry for help in the prevention of urinary tract infections, there are other ways men can benefit from this tart fruit. Consider the cranberry for supporting prostate health and look for it in supplements for prostate health. The suggested dose of cranberry supplement is 500 mg daily, but always check with your healthcare provider before starting any supplement program.

For more information on prostate health, see prostate.net.

Sources

[1] The effectiveness of dried cranberries (Vaccinium macrocarpon) in men with lower urinary tract symptoms.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=vidlar+AND+cranberry

[2] Do Escherichia coli extract and cranberry exert preventive effects on chronic bacterial prostatitis?
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21042827

[3] American cranberry (Vaccinium macrocarpon) extract affects human prostate cancer cell growth via cell cycle arrest by modulating expression of cell cycle regulators.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22388548

[4] Enteric-coated, highly standardized cranberry extract reduces risk of UTIs and urinary symptoms during radiotherapy for prostate carcinoma.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3437800/

Filed Under: Alternative MedicineEasy Health Digest™

About the Author: Dr. Geo Espinosa is the Director of the Integrative Urology Center at New York University Langone Medical Center and the Chief Science Officer at Prostate Research Labs. Before joining NYU, Dr. Espinosa was a clinician, researcher and director of clinical trials at the Center for Holistic Urology at Columbia University Medical Center. He is a licensed naturopathic doctor, licensed acupuncturist, a Certified Nutrition Specialist and a Registered Herbalist. Dr. Espinosa is an author of the naturopathic entry in 1000 Cures for 200 Ailments (Harper Collins, March, 2007) and “Prostate Cancer — Nutrients that may slow its progression,” Food and Nutrients in Disease Management (Maryland: Cadmus Publishing, 2009). Dr. Espinosa also serves on the editorial board of the Natural Medicine Journal. Dr Geo is a frequent speaker at universities, medical schools and conferences on Integrative Health, nutrition and natural treatments for prostate disease. Read more on Dr. Geo.

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  • Bonnie Seibert

    Please send me the article on calcium. B. Seibert