(Urinary Tract Infections)
Research shows that cranberries inhibit urinary tract infections (UTIs). The mechanism
is not, as once thought, via the acidification of the urine. In fact studies indicate that
compounds in cranberries are actually able to prevent certain bacteria from adhering to
the lining of the bladder and urethra, and in doing so prevent infection. Sugar has a
detrimental effect on the immune system, so unsweetened cranberry juice, or cranberry
supplements are preferred in UTIs.
Vitamin C and Bioflavonoids
The ability of vitamin C to increase white blood cells function, interferon production
and antibody activity make it one of the most important nutrients in helping the
immune system to fight infection. Various bioflavonoids are known to both protect
and enhance the absorption of vitamin C, as well as possessing anti-inflammatory
effects (which may be of additional value in cystitis).
Although it is commonly thought that raising the acidity of urine will help cystitis (by
reducing the level of pathogenic organisms), there is increasing scientific justification
for alkalinising the urine instead. This is especially relevant when symptoms are not
associated with pathogenic infection. Several studies employing mineral citrates to
alkalinise the urine showed considerable effectiveness in reducing or relieving the
symptoms of cystitis.
Goldenseal (hydrastis canadensis)
Goldenseal is one of the most effective herbal anti-microbial agents, and has a long
history of use in various infections. The active compounds in goldenseal (e.g. berberine)
have been shown to kill many different species of harmful bacteria, including types
associated with causing UTIs (e.g. E. coli). Goldenseal also enhances immune function,
which is of utmost importance in both the treatment of, and recovery from, urinary
Gotu Kola (centella asiatica)
Research has found that the herb gotu kola speeds the repair of the bladder lining and
promotes the healing of urinary tract ulcerations. This would be especially useful in
persistent or recurrent cystitis (including chronic interstitial cystitis).
Nutrient/Herb Typical intake range
Cranberry Extract 400 – 1000mg three times per day
Vitamin C + Bioflavonoids1 1000 – 3000mg vitamin C with 200 – 1000mg
bioflavonoids per day
Mineral Citrates (e.g. calcium or magnesium
100 – 600mg elemental mineral content per day
Goldenseal extract (10% alkaloids)3,4 150 – 600mg per day
Gotu kola extract3,5 500 – 4000mg per day
Full strength fruit juice
Potential food allergens
Onions and garlic
Unsweetened cranberry juice
Fruit (especially berries)
Drink plenty of water
Support immune system function
1. High intake of ascorbic acid associated with loose stools. High doses may interfere with
Warfarin. High doses should be avoided by those with kidney disease, kidney stones or those
with sickle cell anaemia.
2. High doses of magnesium may cause loose stools
3. Do not use during pregnancy or lactation.
4. Use in cardiovascular conditions under medical supervision only. May increase the effects of
alcohol. Do not use concurrently with anti-arrhythmia, anti-coagulant, beta-blockers or antihypertensive
medications. May inhibit absorption of B-complex vitamins – consider
supplementation of B-complex with concurrent use.
5. Concurrent use with cholesterol medication, oral hypoglycaemics and insulin under medical