Although cranberries present a wide array of benefits, it is important to consider and weigh the associated risks. The concentration of cranberry extract often found in supplements also means a greater risk of side effects than juice products. Supplements of especially high concentration taken over a long period are known to cause kidney stones. Cranberry is high in oxalate which, alongside high calcium, may assist in the formation of stones. For this reason, it is best to avoid concentrated or large quantities of cranberry if you have had a history of kidney stones.
Supplements are also said to interfere with alkaline drugs, which can include antidepressants or prescription painkillers. For those who depend on regular medication along these lines, it is strongly advised that you consult with your doctor before attempting use.
Cranberry juice on the other hand, although weaker in dosage, typically contains large quantities of sugar or sweeteners. Like most other products containing large amounts of sugar, it can be harmful to consumers with diabetes or heart disease. Despite its sweetness, it is more acidic than most juices and has been known to cause acid reflux. One of the riskier side effects of juice is that it can increase the effects of anticoagulants, or blood thinners, such as Warfarin. This side effect has been known to cause excessive bleeding which can lead to severe bruising, passing blood in your urine, and chest pain. Although it is even more difficult to confirm side effects without official benefits, it is safe to say that any potential claims should be seriously contemplated.
One of the most recent and breaking stories involving cranberry products could eventually change the way they are sold as well as what information goes along with them. Ocean Spray, the well-known juice aficionados, is currently petitioning the FDA for approval to “allow a qualified health claim that cranberries can reduce the risk of recurrent urinary tract infections (UTIs) in healthy women”. In claims that were eventually passed, the FDA required companies to provide two randomized clinical trials that supported their claim. At this time, Ocean Spray has presented three. According to the Alliance for Natural Health, consumers should have the potential benefits and side effects of any product readily available for their consideration if a qualified health claim is present.
Despite any listed or unlisted risks, if you have an underlying medical condition, it is always better to consult your doctor than take a chance. They will be able to assess whether or not a supplement would benefit you, as well as recommend the correct dosage on an individual basis. With this knowledge, you nay be having second thoughts about enjoying those delicious cranberries. Don’t let it deter you from enjoying a couple fresh cranberries. Enjoying some fresh cranberries in moderation carries more much more health benefits.