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- MayoClinic.com: Creatine
- National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse: The Kidneys and How They Work
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According to the National Kidney Foundation, the kidneys are responsible for removing waste products that would otherwise build up within the body, controlling the production of red blood cells and regulating both the body's fluid pressure and the release of certain hormones 1. Cranberry juice consumption is thought to help promote normal kidney function and to prevent the development of a number of kidney-related health disorders. Creatinine, a waste product produced in the blood from the metabolism of creatine during muscle use, is filtered out by the kidneys and eliminated from the body in urine. Supplementation with creatinine's precursor, creatine, is thought to not be beneficial for kidney function.
Kidney Infection Prevention
Both the Aurora Health Care and World's Healthiest Food sites report that cranberry juice consumption has been linked with a decreased risk of developing kidney infections 3. Cranberries are thought to contain a particular type of tannin that is capable of preventing common infection-causing bacteria, such as E coli, from binding to and reproducing on the inner tissue walls of the bladder, resulting in a bladder infection. Untreated bladder infections are one of the most common causes of serious kidney infections, and drinking cranberry juice can prevent either from developing.
Kidney Stone Prevention
Effects of Scarring on the Kidneys
Both consuming cranberries and drinking cranberry juice regularly have been linked to a lower chance of developing kidney stones. According to the World's Healthiest Foods site, cranberries contain an acidic compound called quinic acid, along with a high amount of citric acid; both are believed to prevent excess amounts of phosphate and calcium ions in the urine from binding together to form kidney stones 3. The 3 Fat Chicks on a Diet site also reports that many of the vitamins and minerals contained in cranberries and cranberry juice -- magnesium, Vitamin B6, potassium and Vitamin E -- are thought to also prevent kidney stone formation 2.
Kidney Disease Development
According to the Mayo Cinic, supplementing with additional creatine--the precursor compound for the metabolic waste product creatinine -- is thought to be detrimental to the kidneys, particularly when taken in excessive amounts or if you suffer from kidney disease. The Mayo Clinic cautions that studies indicate taking additional creatine is not as damaging to the kidneys as once thought, but that cases of interstitial nephritis have been reported. Interstitial nephritis occurs when the tissue between the kidneys' inner tubules becomes inflamed, decreasing the kidneys' ability to filter toxins and waste products out of the blood.
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- National Kidney Foundation: How Your Kidneys Work
- 3 Fat Chicks on a Diet: How Cranberries can Prevent Kidney Stone Formation
- The World's Healthiest Foods: Cranberries
- Cranberries, raw. FoodData Central. U.S. Department of Agriculture. Published April 1, 2019.
- Cranberry sauce, canned, sweetened. FoodData Central. U.S. Department of Agriculture. Published April 1, 2019.
- Cranberries, dried, sweetened. FoodData Central. U.S. Department of Agriculture. Published April 1, 2019.
- Mukherjee M, Bandyopadhyay P, Kundu D. Exploring the role of cranberry polyphenols in periodontits: A brief review. J Indian Soc Periodontol. 2014;18(2):136‐139. doi:10.4103/0972-124X.131301
- Nicolosi D, Tempera G, Genovese C, Furneri PM. Anti-adhesion activity of A2-type proanthocyanidins (a cranberry major component) on uropathogenic E. coli and P. mirabilis strains. Antibiotics (Basel). 2014;3(2):143-54. doi:10.3390/antibiotics3020143
- Seyyedmajidi M, Ahmadi A, Hajiebrahimi S, et al. Addition of cranberry to proton pump inhibitor-based triple therapy for eradication. J Res Pharm Pract. 2016;5(4):248-251. doi:10.4103/2279-042X.192462
- Novotny JA, Baer DJ, Khoo C, Gebauer SK, Charron CS. Cranberry juice consumption lowers markers of cardiometabolic risk, including blood pressure and circulating C-reactive protein, triglyceride, and glucose concentrations in adults. J Nutr. 2015;145(6):1185-93. doi:10.3945/jn.114.203190
- Wilson T, Luebke JL, Morcomb EF, et al. Glycemic responses to sweetened dried and raw cranberries in humans with type 2 diabetes. J Food Sci. 2010;75(8):H218-23. doi:10.1111/j.1750-3841.2010.01800.x
- Blumberg JB, Camesano TA, Cassidy A, et al. Cranberries and their bioactive constituents in human health. Adv Nutr. 2013;4(6):618‐632. Published 2013 Nov 6. doi:10.3945/an.113.004473
- Drugs and Lactation Database. National Library of Medicine Updated December 3, 2018.
- Cranberry. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH).Updated November 2016.
- Gul Z, Monga M. Medical and dietary therapy for kidney stone prevention. Korean J Urol. 2014;55(12):775-9. doi:10.4111/kju.2014.55.12.775
Michelle Kerns writes for a variety of print and online publications and specializes in literature and science topics. She has served as a book columnist since 2008 and is a member of the National Book Critics Circle. Kerns studied English literature and neurology at UC Davis.