The first long-term study examining the effects of cranberry juice on cholesterol found that 2 glasses a day raise levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol and lower levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. The results of the study were presented at the March 2003 American Chemical Society meeting.
Lead researcher Joe Vinson, PhD, measured the levels of 19 people with high cholesterol who were not taking cholesterol-lowering drugs. Over the 3-month study, 10 of them drank artificially sweetened cranberry juice and 9 drank cranberry juice with regular sugar. Each drank an 8-oz glass daily in month 1, then 2 glasses daily in month 2, and 3 glasses daily in month 3. Their cholesterol levels were tested monthly. Although overall cholesterol levels did not change, the level of HDL cholesterol increased by as much as 121% after 2 or 3 glasses a day.