According to Cathy Wong, acclaimed author of the book ‘The Inside-Out Diet: 4 Weeks to Natural Weight Loss, Total Body Health, and Radiance’ and a certified nutritionist from the American College of Nutrition, cranberries are best known for their exceptional medicinal properties. They can be consumed in their whole fresh form, or as cranberry supplements.  Cranberry supplements are often recommended for the treatment of urinary tract infections, and on a less frequent level for the alleviation of diarrhea, gum diseases, stomach problems and atherosclerosis. But what does research have to say about the health benefits of cranberry supplements? Can cranberry supplements be taken as an effective substitute for antibiotics and other medications?

The Medicinal Power of Cranberry Supplements

According to Mayo Clinic, even though cranberry supplements have been found to have healing properties for certain health conditions, they must be considered as a first line of treatment. They can however, be used to supplement and improve the overall effectiveness of the treatment plan recommended by your health practitioner. Most of the health benefits of cranberry supplements are still being examined and researched upon, so keep abreast with the discoveries being made in the dynamic world of medical research.

What Does Research Have To Say?

According to Mayo Clinic, numerous research studies seem to confirm that cranberry supplements can alleviate Urinary Tract Infections (UTI). They can effectively reduce the symptoms of UTI in healthy individuals, pregnant women, individuals in nursing homes and individuals with spinal cord injuries. A research study published in Spinal Cord (2009), proved that cranberry supplements effectively reduced the incidence of Urinary Tract Infections in patients. The exact dosage of cranberry supplements to treat various health conditions have not been exactly specified by experts in the medical field yet, but Mayo Clinic suggests consulting your health practitioner for guidelines.

According to Mayo Clinic preliminary studies have shown positive results with regards to cranberry supplements and vitamin B12 absorption, antibacterial properties, antioxidant properties, cancer prevention properties, prevention of kidney stone formation, antiviral and antifungal properties, reduction of urine odor, and an overall improvement in memory. However, more research studies are required to substantiate and thoroughly validate these health benefits of cranberry supplements.

Cranberry Juice vs. Cranberry Supplements

Cranberry juice is also a great source of nutrients and potent antioxidants. However, cranberry juice may be high in sugar, and greater quantities of cranberry juice are required to bring about the same health benefits as a smaller dosage of cranberry supplements in powder or capsule form. Thus, cranberry supplements provide the same healthy active ingredients as cranberry juice, but without the sugar and calories.

Possible Health Concerns of Cranberry Supplements

Certain medications can react with cranberry supplements and cause unpleasant reactions and symptoms. If you are taking medications to slow down the clotting of blood, such as Warfarin, consult your health practitioner about the correct dosage to take with the cranberry supplements. Other medications that are changed or broken down by the liver (such as diazepam, ibuprofen, losartan, diclofenac, and celecoxib) can also react with cranberry supplements. Cranberry supplements can increase the effects and side effects of these medications so consult your health practitioner before you start taking cranberry supplements regularly.