Can Grape Juice Prevent or Fight a Stomach Flu or Bug

Can Grape Juice Prevent or Fight Stomach Flu?

Grape juice is a popular beverage that contains vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients. It is believed to have antiviral properties that can prevent viruses from growing in the gut.

Grape juice has numerous potential health benefits. Some claim that it can even combat stomach bugs and prevent stomach flu. Here’s what you need to know about grape juice and stomach bugs, including its effectiveness in curing stomach flu.

Stomach flu, also known as viral gastroenteritis, is a viral infection that affects the gut. Despite its name, it is not caused by the influenza virus and does not actually impact the stomach; instead, it affects the intestines.

Stomach flu is an acute infection that occurs suddenly and typically lasts for under a week. Most people recover quickly without medical treatment, but for some individuals, this illness can lead to severe symptoms and dehydration.

Symptoms of stomach flu:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Stomach cramps
  • Fever

Causes of stomach flu:

Stomach flu can spread from person to person through contact with infected stool or vomit, as well as contaminated surfaces. This risk increases if proper hand hygiene is not maintained or if contact is made with others.

The bugs responsible for stomach flu include norovirus, rotavirus, adenovirus, and astrovirus. While norovirus is the most common cause, adenovirus, rotavirus, and astrovirus primarily affect young children and infants.

In the United States, rotavirus, norovirus, and astrovirus commonly cause infections during the winter months.

Can grape juice fight stomach bugs?

Many believe that the nutrients in grape juice can combat stomach bugs and stomach flu. It is said to possess antiviral properties that prevent viruses from multiplying in the gut.

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What nutrients does grape juice contain?

A cup of unsweetened grape juice with added vitamin C (253 grams) contains the following nutrients:

  • 214 grams of water
  • 152 calories
  • 0.936 grams of protein
  • 0.329 grams of fat
  • 37.4 grams of carbohydrates
  • 0.506 grams of fiber
  • 35.9 grams of sugar
  • 63.2 milligrams of vitamin C (ascorbic acid)

Grape juice also provides minerals such as calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, zinc, copper, and manganese. It contains thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, vitamin B6, choline, and vitamin A, as well as antioxidants like beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin.

Grape juice, stomach bugs, and the cure for stomach flu:

Various theories exist regarding the potential impact of grape juice on stomach bugs.

Grape juice pH: Research suggests that grape juice’s acidity can inhibit the growth of bacteria and viruses in the body. Grape juice’s acidity comes from ascorbic acid, or vitamin C. With a pH of 3.3, its high acidity may kill germs in the stomach. However, it is important to note that the antimicrobial activity of grape juice has only been tested in controlled laboratory settings and animal studies.

Furthermore, the change in stomach acidity after consuming grape juice is mild and may not last long enough to combat viruses before they enter the gut. Consequently, grape juice acidity may not be sufficient to cure stomach flu.

Vitamin C: Another theory is that grape juice can eliminate stomach bugs due to its high antioxidant content. Vitamin C, an antioxidant, possesses the ability to kill stomach bugs and prevent infections. Vitamin C also supports the growth of symbiotic gut microbes, including beneficial gut bacteria, which can enhance the immune system to combat stomach bugs.

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However, vitamin C is primarily absorbed in the intestines. When consuming 30 to 180 milligrams of vitamin C daily, approximately 70% to 90% is absorbed by the body, with only a fraction reaching the gut microbes. Additionally, a cup of grape juice typically contains only 63.2 milligrams of vitamin C, which may not be sufficient to cure or prevent stomach flu.

Although old laboratory studies indicate that the ascorbic acid in grape juice can eliminate intestinal viruses like poliovirus, its effects on stomach flu in real-world settings have not been thoroughly investigated.

Vitamin A: Grape juice is rich in vitamin A, a natural antioxidant that promotes the growth of beneficial gut bacteria. A mouse study demonstrated that vitamin A increases levels of the intestinal bacteria Lactobacillus, which may help regulate norovirus growth and prevent stomach flu. However, more research is needed to confirm if grape juice is an effective cure for stomach flu in humans.

Currently, there is insufficient conclusive evidence to support the commonly held theories concerning grape juice and its impact on stomach bugs.

What are some ways to treat stomach flu?

In most cases, stomach flu resolves on its own. However, if you experience unusually severe symptoms, treatment typically involves drinking plenty of liquids and electrolytes to prevent dehydration and replenish fluids lost due to diarrhea or vomiting. Your doctor may recommend consuming water, fruit juices, and sports drinks. Children may be given oral rehydration solutions like Pedialyte, which contain sugar and electrolytes to restore the body’s balance.

In addition, your doctor may prescribe over-the-counter medications like loperamide (Imodium) and bismuth subsalicylate (Pepto-Bismol) to alleviate diarrhea associated with stomach flu. They may also prescribe other medications to control vomiting. Some doctors may suggest the use of probiotics, which contain beneficial gut bacteria. Probiotics can enhance the immune system, fight stomach bugs, and reduce instances of diarrhea.

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How can you prevent stomach flu?

You can lower your risk of contracting stomach flu by practicing proper hand hygiene after using the bathroom, changing diapers, and preparing or consuming food. If you come into contact with stool or vomit, sanitize surrounding surfaces and wash your hands thoroughly.

Norovirus can also spread through contaminated food, such as fruits, vegetables, or oysters. Ensure that you wash fruits and vegetables thoroughly and cook oysters and shellfish adequately before consumption.

While regular flu vaccines do not prevent stomach flu, rotavirus vaccines are available to protect infants from that particular strain of the virus.

Sources:

  • Antioxidants (Basel): "Vitamin C Supplementation in Healthy Individuals Leads to Shifts of Bacterial Populations in the Gut—A Pilot Study"
  • Applied and Environmental Microbiology: "Antiviral Effect of Commercial Juices and Beverages," "Inactivation of Enteroviruses by Ascorbic Acid and Sodium Bisulfite"
  • Danish Medical Bulletin: "Intraluminal pH of the human gastrointestinal tract"
  • Frontiers in Cellular and Infection Microbiology: "Viral Infections, the Microbiome, and Probiotics"
  • Gut Microbes: "New perspectives regarding the antiviral effect of vitamin A on norovirus using modulation of gut microbiota"
  • International Journal of Current Research and Review: "Does Black Grape Juice Inhibit Bacterial Adherence and Biofilm Production by Uropathogenic Escherichia Coli Just as Cranberry Juice?"
  • NIDDK: "Definition & Facts for Viral Gastroenteritis ("Stomach Flu")," "Symptoms & Causes of Viral Gastroenteritis ("Stomach Flu")," "Treatment of Viral Gastroenteritis ("Stomach Flu")"
  • USDA: "Grape juice, canned or bottled, unsweetened, with added ascorbic acid"
  • Viruses: "Enteroviruses: A Gut-Wrenching Game of Entry, Detection, and Evasion"

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