Cranberry pills offer a powerful dose of antioxidants that are popular for boosting kidney and urinary tract health, fighting against bacteria, and even improving sexual health.
You can also use cranberry juice as a source of these same biologically active components, but it’s sugary and you need to drink a lot of it to get any real benefits. Supplements offering cranberry extract in pill form can pack a much more powerful punch in a smaller package.
If you’re looking for the best cranberry pills on the market, read on—our research team sought out and ranked the best options available right now.
Last updated: March 30, 2023
Cranberry pills considered: 22
Hours of research: 35
Experts reviewed: 8
Scientific papers referenced: 32
1. PureCo Cranberry Concentrate
If all you want is a cranberry extract with no added ingredients, PureCo Cranberry Concentrate is a winner. The dosage is high, at 500 mg of cranberry extract per serving, and there are zero extraneous ingredients, save for the bare minimum needed to keep the vegetarian capsules together.
2. Sunergetic Kidney Cleanse
This is a prime example of a targeted cranberry extract pill. The main ingredient is still cranberries, but it has a wide array of other ingredients that are targeted towards the same task; namely, a kidney cleanse. It’s a strong candidate for a kidney cleanse, but shouldn’t be used as a general purpose cranberry supplement.
3. vH Essentials Probiotics and Cranberry
Need to bolster your body’s population of good bacteria, while fighting back against the bad ones? Look no further than vH Essentials.
In addition to cranberry powder, you get one billion CFUs of probiotic bacteria, plus prebiotic nutrients to support their growth.
4. Naturebell Cranberry Concentrate
Each serving of Naturebell Cranberry Concentrate provides 600 mg of the raw cranberry extract equivalent to a 60:1 concentration of raw fresh cranberries. It’s a good choice for general-purpose supplementation.
It may not have the purity of the highly refined forms, and it would be nice to see an estimate of the proanthocyanidin content, but it’s still a pretty solid pick.
5. Puritan’s Pride Natural Cranberry
Puritan’s Pride makes a great cranberry pill that provides 500 mg of a 50:1 cranberry concentrate with no additives or superfluous ingredients. The only drawback? The capsule is gelatin-based, so strict vegans will have to look elsewhere.
6. AZO Cranberry
With 500 mg of cranberry extract per serving, plus 120 mg of vitamin C, AZO Cranberry is a good cranberry supplement for general health and well-being. With the extra antioxidant power of vitamin C, the supplement will fight oxidative damage and inflammation even better.
The downside with an all-purpose supplement like this is that it doesn’t have the purity you may need for specific uses, like bladder or kidney cleansing.
7. Zazzee Naturals Cranberry
Zazzee Naturals Organic Cranberry is pretty middle of the road in terms of most of its qualities, but the fact that it is derived from organic cranberries is a nice touch if purity is important to you.
At 500 mg per capsule, its dosage is okay, but if you look closely, you’ll see that it’s at 25:1 concentration, versus top-rated supplements which deliver 500 mg of 50:1 concentrate.
8. Pure Healthland Cranberry Concentrate
Whenever a new supplement makes a splash, lots of smaller companies try to cash in by creating their own version of the supplement.
That seems to be the case with Pure Healthland; there’s nothing particularly unique or different about their product, and it’s at half-strength compared to the better cranberry pills out there.
9. Nature’s Bounty Cranberry Fruit
Nature’s Bounty appears to provide a very high dosage of cranberries, but the actual amount of extract is fairly low.
Each serving contains 168 mg of a standardized extract, and while this is equal to 8.4 grams of cranberries, other products offer far higher concentrations.
10. Nature Made Super Strength Cranberry Plus
Unfortunately, this supplement is a case of a big company cutting some cash by offering a supplement with a low concentration.
Quality cranberry extracts use a 50:1 concentrate, while Nature Made only uses a 15:1 concentrate. That means you are getting a far lower dosage of the active ingredients in the cranberries.
Best cranberry pills overall: PureCo Cranberry Concentrate
PureCo’s Cranberry Concentrate is both powerful and pure. With 500 mg of a 50:1 cranberry extract, it tops the field when it comes to its antibacterial potency, garnering our top recommendation overall.
Best cranberry pills for UTIs and urinary health: PureCo Cranberry Concentrate
Harnessing the power of cranberries to fight infections requires a powerful dose of pure cranberry extract. Fortunately, that’s exactly what PureCo Cranberry Concentrate delivers. For that reason, it’s our top pick for better urinary tract health.
Best cranberry pills for kidney health: Sunergetic Kidney Cleanse
For kidney stones and other kidney health issues, cranberry pills are a popular supplement. We recommend Sunergetic Kidney Cleanse for this purpose, as it includes several herbal extracts (including cranberry) that are thought to boost kidney function.
Best cranberry pills for bacterial vaginosis: NatureBell Cranberry Concentrate
For women with BV, a cranberry pill supplement like NatureBell Cranberry Concentrate may help fight back against the bacteria that can cause vaginal pain, itching, and discharge. Its 600 mg dosage means it packs a powerful anti-bacterial punch.
Best cranberry pills for sexual health: vH Essentials Probiotics and Cranberry
For better health in your reproductive tract and better protection against infection, go for vH Essentials Probiotics and Cranberry. Its combination of cranberry powder and probiotic bacteria helps support a healthy bacterial population, making it much harder for bad bacteria to take root.
Best cranberry pills for stomach health: Puritan’s Pride Natural Cranberry
The antibacterial effects of cranberry pills can also be used to fight ulcers and other bacteria-associated stomach issues. Puritan’s Pride Natural Cranberry fruit concentrate, with its hyper-pure formulation and solid dosage, is a great choice on this front.
Who should buy cranberry pills?
Unlike some other types of supplements which have pretty broad use-cases, cranberry pills are a very targeted supplement. They work best for the following two groups of people:
People who want to reduce their risk of a UTI. Cranberry pills are best-known for their ability to reduce the risk of urinary tract infections, so people who are at risk for UTIs should definitely consider a cranberry supplement.
Risk factors for UTIs include pregnancy, being postmenopausal in women, disruptions to your body’s normal probiotic population, and people with various neurological conditions. All of these create an environment that may allow bacteria to flourish in your urinary tract, but cranberry pills appear to inhibit the growth of bacteria.
People who want to reduce the concentration of bad bacteria in their body. On top of the potential for cranberry pills to reduce the incidence of urinary tract infections, it has also been found to help prevent cavities and improve some gastrointestinal tract problems.
Both of these benefits, incidentally, may be linked to the antibacterial properties of cranberry pills. Since cranberry makes it harder for harmful bacteria to adhere to cells in your body, the effect is fairly general—cranberry makes it harder for bacteria to adhere to your teeth, your intestinal lining, and your urinary tract, all at the same time.
While preventing UTIs are the biggest application of cranberry pills, you shouldn’t overlook the GI tract and oral health benefits as well. These are all on top of the baseline antioxidant properties that you get from cranberry, too.
How we ranked
When formulating our cranberry pill rankings, we wanted our top picks to deliver the same kinds of benefits seen in scientific research on cranberry pills. To achieve this, we reviewed and ranked our cranberry pill supplements according to the following criteria:
Effective dosage. Our most important criteria was delivering an effective dose of cranberry extract.
Depending on the extraction procedure, the same amounts of raw cranberry material can yield different amounts of cranberry extract, so it makes sense to focus on the extract, not the raw material.
We dropped from consideration any supplement that did not explicitly disclose the amount of cranberry extract present in a capsule, so a number of products that had their cranberry content hidden in a proprietary blend were eliminated right at the start.
Precise measurement of proanthocyanidin content. When possible, we looked for products that listed their proanthocyanidin content.
Proanthocyanidins are thought to be the active compound that contributes to cranberry pills’ beneficial effects on your urinary tract, but only a handful of products actually list these.
Because cranberry pills are a pretty targeted supplement with several “narrow” applications (versus an antioxidant with a broad range of potential applications, such as resveratrol), we also eliminated products that provided other biologically active compounds with applications that were not specific to the urinary tract.
All ingredients focused on urinary tract health. We kept some multi-ingredient supplements, such as Sunergetic Kidney Cleanse, as the ingredients were focused on a specific task in this case. Even so, these multi-ingredient supplements landed lower in the rankings.
Clean supplement design. For the remaining products, the most influential factor in determining the final score was clean supplement design. Hyper-pure products, like Ellura and PureCo Cranberry Concentrate, scored very well, while decent supplements that had a bit too many binders and fillers, like Nature Made Cranberry, landed lower in the rankings.
The final rankings provide something for everyone—holistic multi-ingredient supplements that are based around the benefits of cranberry, as well as hyper-pure and focused cranberry pills whose only active ingredient is high-dose cranberry extract.
Q: Do cranberry pills help with weight loss?
A: Research published so far does not indicate that cranberry is a powerful weight loss supplement, though it may have secondary or indirect benefits if you are on a weight loss program.
A recent study in mice, published in the journal Molecular Metabolism, was able to show that a cranberry extract was able to reverse insulin resistance and liver scarring in unhealthy mice, even in the absence of achieving weight loss (these effects would be expected from a simple weight loss program) (1).
More in line with the antibacterial properties of cranberry pills, improvements in your probiotic bacterial levels, which may be brought about by cranberry pills, are thought to help with weight loss as well, though this connection has yet to be demonstrated scientifically in the context of cranberry pills.
Q: Do cranberry pills help with UTI?
A: There are some studies that have found a beneficial effect for cranberry pills on reducing UTIs, particularly among women who have had multiple UTIs in the past.
However, according to a meta-analysis published by the Cochrane Collaboration, an organization that focuses on evidence-based medicine, the latest assessment of the evidence indicates that cranberry supplementation is not significantly better than placebo for most people.
This may be because the majority of studies used cranberry juice as opposed to cranberry pills—cranberry juice is prone to causing an upset stomach, and the dosage of cranberry compounds is low compared to supplemental preparations (2).
Q: How many cranberry pills should you take for a UTI?
A: Dosage ranges for cranberry pills is hard to establish, because most previous research used cranberry juice, not the more concentrated cranberry extract that’s used in cranberry pills.
Moreover, a given amount of cranberry extract may contain more or less proanthocyanidins depending on the specific extraction procedure used. Still, a rough guideline is between 300 and 400 mg of cranberry extract taken twice per day.
Scientific meta-analysis studies have specifically indicated that there is a need for more precise research into the optimal dose of cranberry extract, so take these guidelines only as preliminary set-points.
Q: Can cranberry pills fight bacteria in your GI tract?
A: The same anti-adherence mechanism that helps with UTIs also helps in the gastrointestinal tract.
Interestingly, the antibacterial effects of cranberry pills aren’t specific to just one type of bacteria; they appear to work broadly against harmful bacteria inside your body.
Q: How long does it take for cranberry pills to work?
A: Despite the large amount of research on cranberry pill supplements, the dynamics of how they work inside your body is surprisingly poorly researched.
One review study draws parallels from research on proanthocyanidins in grapes, which are similar (though not totally identical) to the proanthocyanidins found in cranberries.
Animal research shows that these proanthocyanidins are fully absorbed in about 45 minutes, meaning that peak levels of cranberry’s active ingredient occurs pretty quickly in your body.
Other work on cranberry juice shows that anti-adherence activity against bacteria starts to take effect within one to three hours after drinking cranberry juice, providing further evidence that cranberry takes effect very rapidly.
Cranberry is a whole food supplement that may interact with some medications but is generally very safe.
The biggest benefit to cranberries is that they seem to work all over the body in dislodging dangerous bacteria that can cause infections in your gut, urinary tract, lungs, and even cause acne.
Cranberry can easily be added to your diet, but spray-dried powder pills or cranberry juice are the two most convenient options for you to consume significant amounts of cranberry each and every day.
By far the most-researched application is in urinary tract infections. People who know they are at risk for a urinary tract infection, like postmenopausal women, people with certain neurological disorders, and people with a history of UTIs, may want to consider talking to their doctor about taking cranberry pills.
If you take prescription medication, particularly blood thinners, you should be aware that cranberry pills should not be used in conjunction with these medications.
Other research is exploring more exciting possibilities, such as the idea that cranberry pills may help cut down on the population of harmful bacteria in your gastrointestinal tract, though the research on this front is fairly new.
For BodyNutrition‘s #1 cranberry pill recommendation, click here.