Prevention of urinary tract infections with vaccinium products

Phytother Res. 2014 Mar;28(3):465-70. doi: 10.1002/ptr.5047. Epub 2013 Aug 6.


Cranberries exert a dose-dependent inhibition of the adherence of E. coli fimbriae to uroepithelial cells. This was demonstrated in vitro but also ex vivo in vitro with urine from cranberry consumers. The active principle has not been identified in detail but type-A proanthocyanidins (PAC) play an important role in the mechanism of action. Since the three species, American cranberry (Vaccinium macrocarpon), European cranberry (Vaccinium oxycoccus) and/or lingonberry (Vaccinium vitis-idaea), have different patterns of type-A PACs, results from one species cannot be transferred to the others. It seems likely that most of the studies with monopreparations from V. macrocarpon were underdosed. Whereas photometric PAC quantification may overestimate the true content on co-active compounds, reversed phase high-performance liquid chromatograpy may underestimate them. Recent studies with PAC doses in the upper range (DMAC method) or declared type-A PAC content in the daily dose reveal a dose-dependent trend of clinical effectiveness, however, with a possible ceiling effect. In order to clarify this, future three-arm studies should investigate Vaccinium preparations with higher type-A PAC doses than previously used. We analysed two popular European vitis-idaea products, a mother juice and a proprietary extract. Both preparations may be appropriate to confirm the Vaccinium urinary tract infection-preventive effect beyond doubt.

Keywords: Vaccinium; cranberry; lingonberry; prevention; urinary tract infection.

MeSH terms

  • Escherichia coli / drug effects
  • Fruit / chemistry
  • Humans
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Proanthocyanidins / pharmacology*
  • Urinary Tract Infections / drug therapy
  • Urinary Tract Infections / prevention & control*
  • Vaccinium / chemistry*
  • Vaccinium macrocarpon / chemistry
  • Vaccinium vitis-idaea / chemistry


  • Plant Extracts
  • Proanthocyanidins