Cranberry, which is a bog plant that is native to North America, is a shrub whose fruit is high in vitamin C and antioxidants. Magnesium and citrate are known as natural inhibitors to the formation of kidney stones, and these are found in the urine. Taking cranberry juice actually alters the levels of these inhibitors in the urine. In order for a natural beverage to be effective in the prevention of kidney stones, it should raise the level of inhibitors of kidney stones, and simultaneously reduce the level of substances making up the stones.
Cranberry juice increases the amount of magnesium, citrate, oxalate and calcium in the urine. As such, this means that while it increases two of the inhibitors to kidney stones, it also increases the amount of two of the components found in calcium oxalate kidney stones.
This creates a problem for those who have kidney stones; cranberry products have actually been found to increase the risk of kidney stones that form due to the combination of calcium and oxalate. In addition, cranberry juice could also reduce the acidity of urine, which in turn increases the risk of uric acid kidney stones.
On the other hand, it is important to note that cranberry juice actually prevents urinary tract infection, and is therefore helpful in preventing the formation of struvite stones. This type of stone is made of magnesium, phosphate and ammonium, and only occurs in the presence of a urinary tract infection. This therefore means that although cranberry juice may increase the amount of components of struvite stones, it actually prevents their formation by preventing urinary tract infections. This is possible because it prevents bacteria from sticking to the wall of the bladder.
Cranberry juice contains a substance known as polyphenolic material, which is effective in combating bacteria and viruses. The anti-oxidant substances that it contains could also protect against aging processes. It also contains high levels of acidity, which makes it effective in blocking bacterial from attaching themselves to the walls of the renal membranes. Since cranberry juice is rich in Vitamin C, it also strengthens your immune system. However, it would be vital to know the type of stone that your body produces so that you can determine whether cranberry juice is appropriate for your condition. Consulting your doctor or health care professional should be the first step that you take.