WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Cranberry juice, which studies have shown may help disrupt bacterial infections of the urinary tract, may also work against gastrointestinal viruses, U.S. researchers reported on Monday.
Tests on animal viruses in lab dishes suggest the juice may help prevent viruses from infecting cells, the team at St. Francis College and Mt. Sinai School of Medicine in New York found.
“Within the last five years, an increasingly large number of studies have suggested cranberry juice to be an effective commercial product for the reduction of urinary tract infections in women,” Patrice Cohen of St. Francis, who worked on the study, said in a statement.
No studies have shown for sure that cranberry juice prevents any kind of infection, bacterial or viral. But some groups of researchers are testing the possibilities.
In a study funded partly by the Cranberry Institute and the Wisconsin Cranberry Board, the New York researchers treated intestinal monkey rotavirus SA-11 and a batch of goat viruses called reoviruses with a commercially available cranberry juice drink.
Electron microscope images showed no viral particles in the cells treated with cranberry juice, they told a meeting in Atlanta of the American Society for Microbiology.
“Our studies suggest a cranberry juice-induced antiviral effect upon selected intestinal animal viral disease-producing agents,” Cohen said.
“Additional studies in the form of human trials need to be performed to determine any beneficial effects of cranberry juice consumption as a means to help reduce the incidence of viral intestinal disease.”
Viral gastrointestinal infections can cause cramps and diarrhea, often deadly, especially in developing countries.