Cranberries are a high antioxidant fruit with overwhelming support and scientific evidence in fighting urinary tract infections. Cranberries help flush out the urinary system and prevent bacteria from adhering to the cell wall, thus preventing bacteria from multiplying. Can these same principles be applied to yeast infections? The short answer is that there is little research on whether or not cranberries help in treating yeast overgrowth, and many health practitioners can only speculate on the use of cranberries for yeast overgrowth. However, recent studies, albeit limited, have shown that cranberries have potential attributes that may help fight candida yeast.
Despite the lack of conclusive evidence on whether or not cranberries have antifungal properties, there has been research suggesting that cranberries can inhibit yeast formation and adherence to cell walls. In 2014, Pathogens and Disease published a study on how cranberries affected oral yeast. The results concluded that while cranberries did not demonstrate antifungal properties, they did have a strong antimetabolic effects on yeast by preventing adhesion. A similar 2012 study published in BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine found that while cranberries did not have an effect on the growth of oral yeast, the proanthocyanidins in cranberries did reduce yeast from adhering to areas in the mouth and prevent biofilm formation.
Cranberry products may help fight vaginal yeast infections based on the above research that cranberries prevent bacteria and yeast from bonding to cell walls and reducing reproduction rates. Any other forms of yeast, such as intestinal or external, need further research with cranberry before reaching a conclusion.
Cranberry fruit, juice, and supplements can provide a healthy intestinal and digestive system. Cranberries have a low pH balance, meaning that their acidic nature promotes healthy digestive secretions, an important component for flushing out excessive yeast. A cup of cranberries contains 4.6 grams of fiber, which is another important nutrient for yeast elimination. Cranberry may also have a positive effect on fighting yeast when taken in conjunction with other natural remedies, such as probiotics, garlic or onion (see article “Is Onion Good“).
We have written a lot on topic of garlic and in combination with cranberry you are looking for a solid treatment protocol.
Even without an infection, cranberries can help prevent yeast overgrowth because of their nutritional content and ability to prevent yeast from adhering to cell walls and reproducing. To find out if cranberry is a good option for you, take our free quiz.
There is no established dosage for cranberry. Some suggestions include drinking 1-3 cups of pure cranberry juice a day, or 500-1000mg of cranberry pills, while other sources found that as little as 1 or 2 ounces of cranberry juice were effective in preventing yeast from adhering to the lining of mouth or vaginal walls.
While cranberry dosages may not be well established, there are strict guidelines when purchasing cranberry products. Cranberry juice must be unsweetened, as added sugar feeds the yeast in your body. Avoid buying cranberry cocktails, even if they are 100% juice, as they consist of different juices together and often have higher sugar content without much cranberry in the blend. Extracts and freeze-dried cranberry pills are available for people who do not have access to pure cranberry juice or cannot stomach the tart and sour flavor of cranberries. Pill extracts are just as effective, if not more desirable, as there is no sugar in the extracted or freeze-dried form.
Insufficient data exists for the effectively of other forms of cranberry, such as tea.
Cranberry is considered likely safe. The fruit and juice can be taken by pregnant or breast-feeding mothers, however, cranberry supplements have not been tested for use during pregnancy or breast-feeding. Minor side effects such as diarrhea or stomach upset may occur if taking high amounts of cranberry. Anyone allergic to aspirin should avoid drinking high amounts of cranberry juice, as cranberries contain high levels of salicylic acid, which is similar to aspirin. There is some concern about cranberries causing kidney stones if taken for long periods of time, as cranberry extracts and juice contain the chemical oxalate. Kidney stones mostly contain oxalate and calcium, and so anyone taking high amounts of calcium or who have a history of kidney stones should avoid high dosages and long-term use of cranberry. Persons taking Warfarin or any medications changed by the liver should avoid consuming any cranberry.
Cranberry is best known for preventing and treating urinary tract infections. Research on the effectiveness of cranberry for other health benefits is either lacking, inconclusive, or dubious. Other common uses for cranberry include improving memory, and reducing blood sugar levels. Cranberry has also been promoted for weight loss and healthy skin.