So I’ve seen this one circulating across forums, support groups and blogs. It’s something that when I first read it I said, what in the world? There’s no way that works!
The theory goes that if you drink a certain amount of pure grape juice after being exposed to someone with a stomach bug and prior to showing symptoms, it will destroy the virus at it’s source – your stomach – and keep you safe.
Of course, just because I don’t think it would work doesn’t mean that I should just write it off. Grape juice is a great treat, and I am particularly partial to the red grape juice sparkling cider for holidays and special occasions. However, there’s no way that this tasty little treat could work… right?
Well, that’s why I’m here, to answer the question of the hour: but does it work?
As I’ve already stated, I’m skeptical. Until recently, I had never heard of this as a way to keep yourself safe from a dreaded virus. I always thought that if modern science couldn’t create a vaccine (which turns out they can!) then there wasn’t much I could do but hope and pray each winter that I remain safe.
I always thought if you were exposed to the virus, and did catch it, there’d be no way to know unless you woke up the next day miserable. That being said, the only way to do your part to is to wash your hands, avoid those who are sick, and if you must be around them, make sure to not drink or eat after them.
I know grape juice, and other natural fruit juices, are high in vitamin C, which could help keep you safe from sickness. However, if you’ve already been exposed and have the virus in your system, I don’t think it matters if you have a vitamin C drip put directly into your blood stream – you’ll probably end up sick.
There are countless blogs and sites in my google search that tout the headline “Avoid the Stomach Flu – Drink Grape Juice!” and so I clicked on a couple and got to reading.
Most of them are blogs dedicated to motherhood and having children, and all of them rave about the preventive properties of grape juice. There are even personal stories about moms who have tested this theory and proven it to work. They even put in links to show that they aren’t just spouting off nonsense.
One article in particular is about Alkaline vs. Acidic foods, and how viruses don’t like alkaline substances. This same article says that 100% pure grape juice is an alkaline drink, meaning that if you drink three glasses a day after being exposed it will prevent you from catching the bug.
But then, on the flip side, there are other articles that say that viruses don’t like highly acidic atmospheres, meaning that drinking grape juice could raise the acidity in your stomach and basically keep you from getting sick.
However, these articles aren’t scientific studies. And from my research, there aren’t any studies that explicitly state that grape juice is a good way to keep you safe. The closest thing I have to scientific research is the following:
LiveStrong has reported that grapes and grape juice is not enough by itself to prevent you from getting sick. Good hygiene and avoiding those who are sick will help as well.
An untitled paper did mention that while they were unsure of how well it would work, when viruses similar to the norovirus were treated with grape juice on petri dishes, it did seem to affect the reproduction of the virus. However, it was not tested with norovirus specifically, and the paper did specify that no human trials have been conducted.
That being said, the rest of the jury out there either swear by this method, claiming it has kept them healthy all throughout flu season – or they are torn, saying they’ve tried it, seen it appears to work but isn’t sure if it was the grape juice or a stroke of luck.
Frankly, to my dismay, there isn’t much research out there. And without solid proof to prove it does work, and it wasn’t a stroke of luck or the chance that good hygiene won out, I can’t conclusively say it does.
I think that part of the wonder of the grape juice theory is that if you drink it three times a day, every day, and don’t get it, it reaffirms that it works. If you have never been proven wrong with this theory, there is nothing to challenge the belief it doesn’t work.
And, I think it’s important to note that just because you are exposed to someone who has been sick, it does not mean you’ll catch it. Case and point: one year my entire family was stricken with the virus. My sister got it, which it then spread to my mom who was caring for my sister. It then hit my dad and my brother.
Miraculously, it did not get to me. To this day, I’m not sure how, but I think it’s probably because I locked myself in the room furthest from them, with a towel in the door crack. I also carried a spray can of lysol with me and would spray it, continuously (to the dismay of my extremely sick family members) and would use hand sanitizer and wash my hands almost constantly.
For about a week I did not leave that room except to use the bathroom and go to school. I would not eat at home, and I definitely wouldn’t enter the sick room unless necessary. I managed to survive the pandemic that year, despite the fact the people I carpooled with were struck with it, and it seemed like everyone and their mom was sick at my school.
Too Long; Didn’t Read?
I don’t think I can say that this works. I think that if there was more scientific evidence out there, it’d be easy for me to say yes, this works. Unfortunately, it’s possible to avoid the flu without the aid of grape juice, and there’s just no way of proving that drinking the grape juice is the reason why you’re staying healthy.
Got an anxiety tip, trick or method you want me to examine? Or, perhaps a remedy for the stomach flu that you’d like me to research? Let me know in the comments below!
Until next time, Internet!
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Lastly, I run an Emetophobia Support Group on Facebook. Emetophobia is the intense and irrational fear of throwing up, and it is one struggle I am passionately engaged in. The group is a closed, by request only group to help facilitate sharing and support by all members. It is also private, meaning that the posts you and others make will not show up publicly in your newsfeed.