Doctor's Note

The reference to poultry as the source of bladder-infecting E. coli is from Avoiding Chicken to Avoid Bladder Infections.

What else can cranberries do? Check out Which Fruit Fights Cancer Better? and Cranberries vs. Cancer.

How can you consume cranberries palatably? Check out my recipe for Pink Juice with Green Foam.

I find it so fascinating that the white berries don’t have same effect. For more on these elusive phytonutrients, see Phytochemicals: The Nutrition Facts Missing from the Label. And, for those doubting the power of plants, see Power Plants.

I discuss the controversy around doctors giving placebos in The Lie that Heals: Should Doctors Give Placebos?

If cranberries are so good at keeping bacteria from sticking to the wall of the bladder, what about keeping bacteria from sticking to other places, like our teeth? That’s the subject of Childhood Tea Drinking May Increase Fluorosis Risk.

For further context, check out my associated blog posts: Does Cranberry Juice Work Against Bladder Infections? and Tea & Flouride Risk.

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  • Risa

    Thank you, Dr. Greger. What about eating cranberries? Any anti-adherent effect here?

  • beccadoggie10

    Thank you, Dr. Greger. Drinking unsweetened cranberry juice always worked for me when on the rare occasion I had a bladder infection. They never seemed to return.

  • I had an interesting experience with cranberry UT prevention. I don’t particularly like the taste so I started taking the cranberry food supplement capsules. One fine day I discovered red spots all over the lower half of my body. Not a rash but red spots had developed as if capillaries leaked just beneath the skin. I called the doctor and he said, “What’s new?”

    I told him about the capsules I had been taking. He advised me to stop taking them, and that each capsule contains the chemistry of a pound of cranberries. He told me that apparently I had set up a cranberry allergy and that I would have to avoid cranberries in the future. The spots went away when I stopped taking them. However they quickly come back if I eat or drink anything with cranberry in it. I have become mostly vegan so I never get the UTI’s anyway.

  • Ibili

    I had terrible bladder infections a few times per year for 10 years. I often had to go to emergency because of the pain and take antibiotics, of course. The doctors always seemed shocked that I had blood in my urine, and I always tested positive for bacteria even when I didn’t have an infection. I drank cranberry juice off and on for years, the real stuff. About six years ago I got into a phase of drinking very diluted apple cider vinegar every day. This was for a few months. I haven’t had a bladder infection since (6 years and counting), and my urine tests are clear of bacteria. Are there any studies that explain this?

    • Shary

      Curious how diluted was your apple cider vinegar drink? My mom who is 86yrs old has been dealing with UTI’s from 5/2012 to present. She has been on numerous antibiotics, some more thn once. They do fine until about 7-8 days after last dose then another UTI pops up. Feel so bad for her that I can’t help her in some way on a natural path. Tried the cranberry juice & pills but they aren’t doing any good. I am at a loss & no faith in the medical field at this point. U can contact me at

    • Linda

      My dog got a UTI as a puppy and the antibiotics did not help. I tried diluted apple cider vinegar in her food and water and like magic she improved virtually straight away. I used for a few weeks and gradually tapered the vinegar off and the infection has never returned. Would use it again that’s for sure!

  • Wegan

    I used to get bladder infections pretty regularly and cranberry juice seemed to help but then it stopped working. I then discovered D-mannose ( there is some in cranberries, secret ingredient?) I would take a couple of caps at the first sign and for a day or 2 after – worked for me. I still carry it with me, though I haven’t needed it in quite a while. I wasn’t eating or cooking chicken at the time, mostly vegan diet but too much sugar and peri menopause perhaps. There is no way I could sit around and wait for it to go away on its own, that sucker hurts!

  • OutsideMom

    This is so interesting. I have a duplicated ureter and required kidney surgery for a horrible infection when I was 19. I wonder if it didn’t show up before then because I never really ate a lot of chicken? I was vegetarian (but not vegan) at age 19.

    Anyway, this is the same advice my urologist gave me when I was sick, and I pass the same info on to my friends with UTIs looking for treatment. The thing I found that works the best is to drink a lot of water. Since you feel the constant urge to pee, actually having urine in your body makes it a little more comfortable to do so. I haven’t had a UTI treated with antibiotics in years.

  • pickaname

    nasturtium and horseradish also seem to be effective against UTIs.

  • Kirk

    Dr Greger, please comment on D-mannose. Are there any studies which show its effectiveness treating UTIs? I have been told it is always effective if the bug is E.coli.

  • Jax

    Am interested to know more research on uti studies, are there any suggestions on helping with regular bouts that isn’t antibiotics?

  • jocy

    The important factor of a human being can experience is “healthful body”. But, how can we have a healthy living? By eating a nutritious food such as vegetables and fruits. And we also need to drink juices from vegetables & fruits. In extracting liquid needs a machine. What is the best juicer?. Visit:

  • Howard Johnson

    What about oral sex and bladder infections?

  • Molly

    Dr. Greger, have you found any studies regarding D-Mannose and UTIs?
    And/or could you comment on cranberry supplement vs. cranberry juice?
    As a healthcare provider, I would like to know how to advise my patients
    regarding preventative medicine. Also, at a low-income community
    health clinic, supplements are cheaper than pure unsweetened cranberry
    juice. Thank you

    • Marty

      Hello Molly,
      I can attest to the effectiveness of D-Mannose. I suffered with recurrent UTIs for 17 years and tried everything under the sun including gallons of cranberry juice, gallons of water, cranberry pills, you name it, I tried it. After discovering D-Mannose, I never again needed antibiotics for a UTI and it’s now been ten years since I had one. The best thing about D-Mannose is you can take it as a prophylactic whenever you are in a situation when you might be prone to an infection. You don’t ever have to have another UTI ever again.

    • Joseph Gonzales R.D.

      HI Molly. Have you clicked on the links in the “doctor’s note? Dr. Greger addresses cranberry juice and UTIs. As far as D-mannose I only see one clinical trial, here.

  • THX1138

    Bullshit, in my early twenties, after an unsuccessful round of antibiotics to “treat” my UTI, the clinic doctors told me to go across the street to the grocery store and buy two half-gallons of cranberry juice, and drink as much as I could over the next few days. I dunno, a few days later, I was disease and symptom free. Doctors nowadays, giving such advice, would probably be thrown in jail.


    Hello, i was looking through the website to see if you had any videos on how to rid candida from your body or videos on candida in general? i’ve suffered from urinary infections and candida for 7 years now, have seen specialists in the uk and they’ve not been able to help, have just said its part of being a woman. I was on a high dosage of Roaccutane for 3 years as a teenager and i believe (through my own research) that this has been the course of my problems. I no longer have a mucus lining through my bladder and have been doing the candida diet to try and rebuild this, but if i deviate even slightly the symptoms come back (but the doctors on locate low candida or small infection in my bladder) even when being very strict on it, the candida still can come back. I would be very interested to hear your take on the candida diet (as they all vary in what you can and can’t eat) and if you think theres anything else i could do? I know so many woman are suffering from the same problems but there is a shame in talking about it.