Purpose: We evaluated the effect of cranberry juice on urinary stone risk factors.
Materials and methods: A total of 12 normal subjects and 12 calcium oxalate stone formers underwent 2, 7-day phases of study in random order while on a controlled metabolic diet. Subjects ingested 1 l of cranberry juice (CBJ) daily in 1 phase and 1 l of deionized water in the other phase. On the last 2 days of each phase 2, 24-hour urine collections and blood samples were obtained for stone risk factors and serum chemistries.
Results: No significant differences were found between normal subjects and stone formers in response to CBJ and, therefore, the groups were combined. CBJ significantly increased urinary calcium (from 154 to 177 mg per day, p =0.0008) and urinary oxalate (from 26.4 to 29.2 mg per day, p =0.04), thereby increasing urinary saturation of calcium oxalate by 18%. Urinary citrate was unchanged and urinary magnesium increased slightly. Urinary pH decreased (from 5.97 to 5.67, p =0.0005), and urinary ammonium, titratable acidity and net acid excretion increased during CBJ ingestion. Urinary uric acid decreased (from 544 to 442 mg per day, p <0.0001) as did serum uric acid. Thus, the urinary saturation of brushite and monosodium urate was reduced by CBJ but the amount of undissociated uric acid increased.
Conclusions: CBJ exerts a mixed effect on urinary stone forming propensity. It reduces urinary pH likely by providing an acid load and decreases urinary uric acid perhaps by retarding urate synthesis. Overall CBJ increases the risk of calcium oxalate and uric acid stone formation but decreases the risk of brushite stones.