Cranberries, even though native to the Northern American region, are a favored food throughout the entire world. These little red berries are not only delicious, but also packed with beneficial nutrients, antioxidants and other compounds that are known to provide a considerable boost in the human bodies overall well-being.
Cranberries are also often associated with urinary tract problems, since they seem to work effectively in clearing up symptoms that develop with this particular part of the body. In addition to being nutritious, cranberries are also very low in calories; thus making this fruit a perfect snack choice for when cravings kick in during the day.
In the modern world, we are constantly busy and jumping from one task to the next. This leaves little time to prepare elegant dinners and desserts for the entire family, and often does not even leave enough room for having a decent breakfast or lunch.
When time is an important factor in your life, then supplements are most likely one of your best friends. Supplements are easy to take, usually does not have any taste and they can be carried around with you no matter where you go. These pills also provide you with important nutrients your body needs to survive and for your performance to stay on track with your busy schedule.
Recently, cranberry pills have become rather popular. Since cranberries are packed with numerous beneficial compounds and contain little calories, supplement manufacturers have taken it upon themselves to provide an affordable and easy way to obtain these benefits, even when you are too busy to snack on a bowl of cranberries.
There are also many locations throughout the world where cranberries are not available or extremely expensive – in such a case, cranberry pills can be an excellent substitute. In this post, we’ll take a closer look at cranberry pills – including what health benefits they may provide, whether side-effects are something to be cautious about, how much of these pills you should take, and more.
What are the Health Benefits of Cranberry Pills?
Since cranberry pills contain extracts from real cranberries, the benefits that these supplements are able to offer a user are similar to what benefits can be obtained from eating actual cranberries.
What makes cranberry pills often special is the fact that the tend to include relatively large doses of cranberry extract; thus there is no need to consume an entire cup of cranberries anymore. While cranberries are delicious, some people are not too keen on their flavor and the fact that the majority of cranberry juices on the market are sweetened can also be an unpleasant factor for individuals who would like to benefit from this fruit.
Let’s take a look at some of the most beneficial effects and health advantages that cranberries and, of course, cranberry pills, have for an individual who regularly consumes them, as reported by Medical News Today.
Treats Urinary Tract Infections – The benefits that cranberries have for the urinary tract is widely known. Whenever a woman contracts a urinary tract infection, one of the first things that she would do in most cases is to buy some cranberry juice or go out to the whole-foods store and buy some fresh cranberries.
One interesting fact to consider here is that research has proven that cranberries are able to effectively prevent urinary tract infections from occurring, but the details of these studies are a little complex.
While cranberries can prevent the adhesion of some bacteria strains to the urinary tract, it is important to note that only high concentrations of cranberry are able to produce this effect. Thus, cranberry pills may be the most effective solution when the fruit is used for the prevention and the treatment of a urinary tract infection.
Protects Against Heart Disease – While most popularly associated with the treatment of urinary tract infections, it is important to know that cranberries have additional health benefits as well.
Several scientific studies have provided evidence that regular consumption of cranberries – at high concentrations – are able to protect the cardiovascular system of the human body, and potentially also protect against the development of cardiovascular disease. The primary function of cranberries in the cardiovascular system is to avoid platelet buildup, as well as to lower blood pressure levels.
Improved Dental Health – Cranberries are also able to assist with dental health. A particular compound found in these berries, known as proanthocyanidins, have been proven to prevent the adhesion of bacteria to teeth. This benefit may also assist with the prevention of certain gum diseases.
It is important to note that further research is still needed on this topic, especially when cranberry pills are used, as the benefit may come from biting into these berries.
Protection Against Cancer – According to some scientific studies, it has also been found that cranberries have beneficial effects on cancerous tumors and cells. They have found that certain compounds in these berries slow the progression of tumors. The most beneficial effects were observed in patients with ovarian, colon, liver, prostate and breast cancer.
Are there any Side-Effects or Risks that I Should know about?
While there are several health benefits that can be obtained from eating cranberries, drinking cranberry juice and, in this case, taking a cranberry supplement, it should be noted that side-effects may occur.
In most individuals who do experience adverse reactions to these tablets, the side-effects seem to be mild and not serious. There are, however, cases where the side-effects can be somewhat more severe.
According to LiveStrong.com, the most common side-effects produced by cranberry tablets include:
An upset stomach is the most common side-effect that people experience when they take cranberry tablets that contain high concentrations of this fruit. In some users, the upset stomach may be accompanied by diarrhea. This is usually not a serious side-effect, but may take a while to subside as the body needs to get used to the high cranberry concentrations that are being introduced to it.
To relief the gastrointestinal side-effects of cranberry pills, it is highly recommended to take these supplements with some food. When the supplements are taken with food, the contents will mix with the food and the cranberry extract will not be as harsh on the digestive system.
A particularly concerning potential side-effect of cranberry pills is the fact that they increase a user’s risk of developing kidney stones. Due to the oxalates found in cranberries, calcium oxalate stones may develop in the kidneys and then needs to pass toward the bladder and, finally, out of the body through the urethra. This can lead to severe levels of pain.
The high calcium and acid levels found in cranberry extracts can also cause the effects that antacids need to produce in the human body to become less effective or even cancel out these effects. For this reason, it is not recommended to take high concentration cranberry extract supplements if you are taking any type of antacid medication at the moment.
Apart from the fact that cranberry supplements may cause certain side-effects, mostly due to the fact that they often contain very high doses of cranberry extracts, another important factor to take into consideration when planning to use these supplements is the fact that they may interact with certain types of medication.
It is vital to discuss the use of cranberry tablets with a doctor if you are currently taking Warfarin, a medication that is used to slow down the clotting of blood.
When using Warfarin and cranberry pills together, you are at a high risk of bleeding easily – internal bleeding may also occur, which could lead to life-threatening complications if not attended to immediately. In addition to increasing your risk of bleeding, the combination will also likely increase your risk of bruising easily.
We should also mention that cranberry pills are not considered the perfect supplement for individuals who are taking medication that is broken down by their liver. There are numerous types of medication that depend on the liver in order to be broken down. When cranberry pills are used together with such pills, the breakdown rate of the chemicals contained within the pharmaceutical drugs will be significantly reduced.
Dosage Instructions for Cranberry Pills
Following the dosage instructions provided on the label of the cranberry pills you buy is crucial. The majority of these supplements contain a very high concentration of cranberry extract, and since side-effects are possible with the use of cranberry pills, following the dosage instructions exactly as provided in very important.
When using these pills together with pharmaceutical drugs or other supplements, the urge to follow the dosage recommendations provided by the manufacturer of the supplement becomes even more important.
There are not general guidelines for taking cranberry pills. This is due to the fact that each manufacturer utilizes their own formula when making such supplements. The majority of these supplements do seem to recommend taking approximately one to three tablets on a daily basis. When taking more than one tablet daily, it is a good idea to spread them out throughout the day in smaller doses, as this will help to avoid any serious side-effects.
Apart from adhering to the dosage instructions provided by the manufacturer of the supplements you have purchased, it is also a good idea to talk to a healthcare provider before you take cranberry pills.
Your healthcare provider will be able to advise you on whether or not these supplements would be an appropriate option for you, and whether any of your existing medical conditions may be aggravated with the use of cranberry supplements.
If you are taking any existing pharmaceutical drugs to treat a condition, then be sure to also discuss the combination of cranberry pills and these pharmaceutical drugs with your healthcare provider. They would be able to advise you on an appropriate dosage that will best suit your particular needs.
Where can I buy Cranberry Pills?
Cranberry pills are not a very new development; thus they are usually not hard to find. In fact, most people will find that they can get their hands on a bottle of cranberry supplements easier than it would be for them to find some fresh cranberries – this is especially true if you do not live in the United States.
These supplements are usually available from local health shops and supplement stores. Many convenience stores and supermarkets also tend to stock cranberry pills, since these pills may be required at later times in the day (after local health shops have closed).
Pharmacies are also an option if you are looking to buy cranberry pills, and the pharmacist on duty would be able to provide you with some helpful tips on which particular brand or product may work best for you.
In addition to being available in local stores, cranberry supplements are also readily available on the internet. Numerous online retailers sell these supplements, and they are often more affordable when purchased online as compared to some of the brands that are available at local retailers.
Final Verdict: Should you Rely on Cranberry Pills?
Cranberries are often classified as a superfruit due to the rich antioxidant and nutrient content, combined with natural chemicals that are useful in the treatment of several health conditions. The most popular use of cranberries is to assist with fighting against urinary tract symptoms, but many other health benefits can be obtained through the consumption of this fruit.
Being native to North America, cranberries are not readily available throughout the world, and is often sold for high prices in locations where the berries are considered to be relatively rare. With the development of cranberry pills, you now have access to the compounds found in this fruit, without having to gain access to the actual fruit.
While there are some side-effects that may occur, the benefits of cranberry pills are great and can certainly be useful to a lot of individuals. By closely following the dosage instructions and talking to your healthcare provider before you start taking these pills, you should be able to consume them without any serious risks involved.
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