Cranberry is one of the berries family that is popular due to its viability in a place where sun and good soil is abundant. Cranberry contains luscious, red juice which is refreshing and sweet, but do not be mesmerized only on its juiciness and sweetness for it has good benefits to the body and has the ability to heal the ailments in the body. However, not all can easily obtain cranberry like picking its fruit hanging from tree branches. Therefore, its juice is extracted and bottled so that you can still avail of its goodness and its benefits.

You do not need to go farther to the savanna of Africa nor North America where this fruit-bearing trees flourish, instantly you can have a swig straight from its bottle and still gets the same amount of benefits from it. As ever, everyone has a yen to achieve the ultimate goal of having free-disease body warding off all the impurities in the surrounding that come from the air we breathe which is laden with toxins, from the food we consume may not be suitable basing on the excessive presence of condiments and preservatives it has, from the water that quenches our thirst which is not as purified and germ-free as what we consider, in short we are not scot-free from diseases no matter how we are extra careful and health-conscious we are.

Drinking fruit extract is one way to cleanse the toxins that have gone astray inside our system that unlocks the Pandora’s Box of ailments. Once a body will succumb to a chronic disease, figuratively you are defeated. Henceforth, early prevention is better than a thousand cure. So, here are some highlights about cranberry.

What is Cranberry Extract?

  • Cranberries are a dark red fruit that are commonly found in America, Canada and Chile. This species of cranberry is known as Vaccinium macrocarpon and can also be found in the UK and other European countries, but are a different species known as Vaccinium oxycocco (1).
  • Cranberry is a native evergreen shrub that grows throughout North America (2).
  • Historically, cranberry fruits or leaves were used for bladder, stomach, and liver disorders, as well as diabetes, wounds, and other conditions (3).
  • Today, cranberry is used as a dietary supplement primarily for urinary tract infections (UTIs) (4).
  • The berries are used in beverages and food and are also made into dietary supplements in the form of extracts, powder, capsules, and tablets (5).
  • Cranberries and cranberry products have soared in popularity in recent years because they are a rich source of anthocyanins, which are known to possess antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties (6).

Moreover, cranberries are also a rich source of fiber and the essential nutrients vitamin C and manganese. Cranberry extract supplements may be the right supplement for you. It is one of those supplements in the market that you might want to give a try. And here is why you should.

Cranberry Extract Health Benefits

1. Prevent abnormal cell growth

Phytochemicals present in cranberries have potential anti-cancer activity. Cranberries are rich in polyphenols which are fantastic antioxidants. A rich supply of antioxidant compounds to neutralize the threat of free radical molecules (7). In fact, various in vitro and in vivo studies suggest that the anthocyanin, procyanidin, and flavonol components of cranberries may exert anti-cancer effects (8). Cranberry extracts and powders reduce inflammation and can help to prevent or reduce growth of various types of cancers, including cancers of the breast, cervix, ovary, colon, esophagus, prostate, brain, liver, lung, mouth, rectum, and stomach, as well as leukemia, lymphoma, and melanoma (9). 

2. Helps with Immunity

The nutrients and bioactive compounds contained in cranberries help improve immune function and help reduce infections. According to a 2013 study, consuming cranberry helped improve the function of epithelial cells, which serve as the first line of defense against infections and compounds in cranberry juice were found to have a positive impact on immunity and may help reduce flu symptoms (10). Additionally, cranberries are a rich source of vitamin C, which is important for optimal health because vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is a water-soluble vitamin meaning our bodies do not have the capacity to store it and has been scientifically proven to maintain the normal functioning of the immune system, especially during and following exercise sessions among others (11). 

3. Promote Heart Health

Growing evidence suggest favorable effects of cranberry intake on blood pressure,  cholesterol profile, endothelial function, glucoregulation, inflammation, and oxidative stress that contribute to the reduction of cardiometabolic risk factors (12). Cranberries contain flavonoids that can reduce the oxidation of LDL cholesterol in men. High levels of oxidized LDL can lead to development of cardiovascular diseases. Supplementing your diet with cranberry extract may help lower the risk of such diseases since these polyphenols reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular disease by reducing blood pressure, fighting inflammation, and preventing platelet build-up (13). In fact, a study conducted among abdominally obese men found that cranberry consumption is linked to higher levels of HDL cholesterol in the body, hence, eating flavonoid-rich foods like cranberries is a good way to protect cardiovascular health (14). 

4. Prevents UTI

Proanthocyanidin, a compound found in cranberries, helps prevent UTIs by preventing the bacteria E. coli from sticking into the lining of the bladder and urethra hampering it from growing, taking over, and eventually infecting the lower urinary tract (15). A 2012 study with 1616 subjects found that cranberry products have a protective effect against UTIs and help reduce the risk of UTIs among women with a history of it (16). Since researchers believe that cranberries help to prevent bacteria latching onto the lining of the urinary tract, which stops them from multiplying, cranberry juice appears to be effective for preventing UTI’s (17). A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition further supports that cranberry prevents UTIs in women with a history of UTIs and took a cranberry drink or a placebo drink daily for six months (18). At the end of the six month period, those who took the cranberry drink had fewer UTIs (19). 

5. Promotes Gum Health

Cranberry helps prevent Streptococcus mutans, which is an oral bacteria that contributes to tooth decay and cavities from sticking to teeth, according to a 2015 study (20). In another 2015 study published in the same year, a mouthwash containing 0.6 percent cranberry was found to be as effective as a standard mouthwash used to control the bacteria in your mouth (21). Moreover, according to research, components found in cranberries help fight cavities as they inhibit acid production and its compounds may also help prevent gum disease (22). An expert says that cranberry disrupts glucan from forming (23). Glucan is the building block of plaque, whose presence usually leads to tooth decay.

Cranberry extract supplements offer a wide array of health benefits. There are other benefits that are not included in the list, which might surprise you.

Conclusion

This supplement appears to be safe, but taken in excessive amounts as juice could cause an upset stomach. Cranberry juice and extracts contain a large amount of a compound known as oxalate and as kidney stones are primarily made up from calcium and oxalate, cranberry products are not recommended for individuals with a history of kidney problems (24).

It also increase the blood-thinning effects of warfarin or other types of blood-thinning medication or supplements (25). Hence, it’s important to avoid cranberry products if you’re using this type of medication. People with diabetes, kidney stones, and clotting disorders should consult their healthcare providers before using cranberry supplements so they will be guided accordingly (26).