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Ask Tufts Experts March 2012 Issue

Q: I was interested in your report (September 2011) that the polyphenols in cranberry juice may reduce artery stiffness in heart patients. Would cranberry supplements, marketed for urinary health, have a similar benefit? These supplements do not contain information on polyphenol content.

Answer :  Jeffrey B. Blumberg, PhD, director of Tufts’ HNRCA Antioxidants Research Laboratory, answers: “The evidence for the benefits of cranberry juice—including those supporting urinary health and cardiovascular health—are derived from their constituent phenolic acids and polyphenols, most of which appear in cranberry extracts used in dietary supplements. The Supplement Facts box provided on product labels typically provides the amount of ‘cranberry solids’ but is not required to identify the amount or profile of these bioactive ingredients. So you might check with the company or its website to determine if the extract is comparable to a serving of cranberry juice.”

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