According to a new study from the Czech Republic, cranberries may provide men’s prostates with protection from disease. The British Journal of Nutrition published the results from a study conducted by scientists from Palacky University in Olomouc. The team reported that six months of supplementation with 1,500 mg per day of dried powdered cranberries significantly improved measures of prostate health.
Several other significant improvements were reported in the Czech study, including improvements in the International Prostate Symptom Score, quality of life measures, urination parameters, and lower levels of prostate specific antigen (PSA). The PSA is a marker used to screen for prostate cancer and for tracking the disease after its diagnosis.
Dr. Jitka Vostalova, head of the research team, explains, “Our trial is the first to evaluate cranberry in the treatment of lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS) specifically in men with benign hyperplasia (BPH), elevated PSA levels and non-bacterial prostatitis.” Dr. Vostalova continues, “Unlike currently used medication for prostatitis and LUTS, cranberry has no adverse effects. Our findings may assist men suffering from LUTS, and also their clinicians, to decide on a treatment that is both inexpensive and natural, like cranberry.”
Researchers have already established a link between urinary tract health and cranberries, and they understand that the benefits are associated with cranberries’ proanthocyanidin (PAC) content. In 2004, France approved a health claim for the North American cranberry (Vaccinium macrocarpon), which contains at least 36 mg of PAC, to “help reduce the adhesion of certain E. coli bacteria to the urinary tract walls.” Scientists in France also agreed that this process is what fights urinary tract infections.
The study conducted in the Czech Republic extends cranberries’ effectiveness to prostate health, improves our understanding of cranberries, and indicates a unique role for the red fruit.
Benign prostatic hyperplasia and chronic prostatitis are conditions that prove problematic for the lower urinary tract system. Both are non-cancerous, and BPH is a swelling in the prostate gland of older men. In fact, BPH is quite common and affects millions of men in the United States over the age of 50, with an estimated aggregate cost of $1.1 billion annually.
“The results of the present trial are the first firm evidence that cranberries may ameliorate LUTS, independent of benign prostatic hyperplasia or C-reactive protein level,” note researchers of the study. No longer is cranberry solely for women’s health, and men with prostate issues may now begin to see a market expansion of supplements that include cranberry in their ingredients.