You might call cranberry juice an antibiotic-helper – at least where helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) bacterium in female patients is concerned.
H. pylori is the culprit that causes most gastric and duodenal ulcers. But not everyone infected with H. pylori develops an ulcer, which is fortunate because gastroenterologists estimate that as many as six or seven out of every ten people may be infected with H. pylori.
Putting the berries to the test
According to researchers at Tel Aviv University, previous research suggests gastro-intestinal bacteria – perhaps even the stubborn H. pylori – can be inhibited by cranberry juice.
Standard care for H. pylori calls for aggressive antibiotic treatment, so the Tel Aviv team recruited nearly 180 patients with H. pylori infection and gave them three antibiotics: omeprazole, amoxicillin, and clarithromycin.
Subjects were then split into three groups. One group drank cranberry juice two times each day for two weeks, one group drank a daily placebo beverage, and one group received the antibiotic regimen without a daily beverage.
For an additional two weeks, subjects stopped taking the antibiotics and continued the juice regimens.
Battle of the sexes
Overall, cranberry juice provided no additional defence against H. pylori. But when results were examined more closely, researchers found these significantly different levels of protection among female subjects:
* Cranberry group: 95.2 percent eradication of H. pylori
* Placebo group: 86.8 percent eradication
* No-beverage group: 80 percent eradication
Researchers have no idea why the cranberry intervention was effective for women, with no apparent benefit for the men.