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The Effects of Cranberry Juice on Prostate Infections

By Don Amerman

Infections of the prostate, the male gland that helps to produce semen, can cause alarming symptoms, including difficult and/or painful urination and pain in the groin. Such infections, known collectively as prostatitis, can be traced to various sources, some of which are bacterial. Regular consumption of cranberry juice can help to relieve the symptoms of prostatitis and may also prevent some prostate infections from developing. However, check with your doctor before embarking on any self-treatment regimen.

Flushes Bacteria from Bladder

Harmful bacteria that take hold in any portion of the urinary tract may eventually trigger an infection of the prostate, which interacts with the urinary system. K. Steven Whiting, Ph.D., an orthomolecular nutritionist and author of "You Can Be . . . Well at Any Age: Your Definitive Guide to Vibrant Health and Longevity," strongly recommends regular consumption of unsweetened cranberry juice by both men and women. The juice washes bacteria from the urinary tract, which helps to prevent infections of the bladder, kidney and prostate. Whiting says that patients with recurring infections of the urinary tract should incorporate generous helpings of cranberry juice into their daily diets. Your doctor can help you decide if this makes sense for you. If you have a history of kidney stones, drinking cranberry juice on a regular basis not be advisable.

Acidifies Urine to Prevent Urethritis

A bacterial infection of the urethra, the tube that carries urine from the bladder through the penis to outside the body, can lead to an infection of the prostate. To prevent urethritis and this possible route to prostatitis, cranberry juice again can be very helpful, according to an article by Lauren Iannotti in the January 2000 issue of "Esquire." Cranberry juice, she writes, acidifies the urine, significantly slowing the growth of harmful bacteria within the urethra, which makes it difficult, if not impossible, for the germs to build up enough to trigger an infection.

Anti-Cancer Properties

Although many laymen and a handful of medical professionals have speculated that chronic prostatitis might lead to prostate cancer, there is no scientific evidence that this is the case. However, an added benefit of cranberry juice for prostate health may be its strong antioxidant properties, which multiple studies show can translate into anti-carcinogenic properties. In a review of cranberry's therapeutic properties, published in the March 1, 2005, issue of Clinical Excellence for the Nurse Practitioner, Suzanne K. Irvin points out that cranberries are rich in phenol antioxidants, including reservatrol. The latter has been associated with a variety of health benefits, not just anti-carcinogenic in character but also including cardioprotection, antioxidant activity, inhibition of platelet aggregation and anti-inflammatory activity.

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