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Can drinking grape juice stop you from getting the flu?

Grape juice probably won’t hurt you, but it won’t keep you from getting the flu.
Does Grape Juice Prevent Stomach Flu
Photo: Getty Images

Shudder at the thought of getting a flu shot — or worse, making your kids get one? A natural alternative to the yearly vaccine is making the rounds on Facebook and Pinterest and sounds like a dream come true.

That remedy? Good, old fashioned grape juice.

“It keeps the stomach bug from attaching to your digestive system if you're exposed to the virus,” Julie Stepter Jennings wrote in a now-viral Facebook post of why her family drinks “a few sips” of grape juice every day from September until March.

 

“This will be my 5th year doing this with 100 percent success!”

The connection between grape juice and flu prevention is flimsy at best.

One blog — Must Have Mom — claims that the grape juice works by “changing the pH in your intestinal tract so that the virus can’t multiply” and the vitamin C and antioxidants in the juice “flush and kill the virus.”

“I'm no GI, but a good friend of mine is married to one and I know she does this as a preventative, too,” another blogger added in her post about the power of grape juice to prevent the virus.

The problem? There’s no science to back it up, only a 1976 study that suggested the polyphenols in the skins of the grapes could bind to viral proteins, reducing their effects. However, the research wasn’t conducted on humans and later research showed that power the grapes had against the flu was temporary, at best.

So, chalk this one up as an old wive’s tale, even if everyone swears it works.

“The only times we have gotten the stomach virus have been when we quit drinking grape juice,” Must Have Mom wrote on her blog post. “This has proved to be very effective for us for the past 5 years.”

It won’t hurt you to drink grape juice — just don’t expect it to work as well as a flu shot this winter.