It's that time of year when the norovirus, aka stomach bug (but no, not stomach "flu"), is going around. And so is the advice on how to treat it. There are a lot of myths out there and there's actually some interesting research about how the norovirus HELPS our health, so let's talk about the facts.
First off, like bacteria and fungus, oral/fecal viruses like the norovirus can be present with no outward symptoms in some people and yet cause horrendous symptoms in others. This is because our gut health determines how we are affected by these things.
A gut with healthy flora and adequate stomach acid can have norovirus, E.coli, H.pylori, etc. and not even have any symptoms or have minimal symptoms. (This is the same as Lyme Disease. Click here for my post on that.)
Interestingly, research is showing that the norovirus actually HELPS a disturbed gut.
The norovirus can help a gut damaged by antibiotics, vaccines, or other things that interfere with normal immune response.
Kenneth Cadwell, a virologist at New York University School of Medicine in New York City and his postdoc Elisabeth Kernbauer have now found that some noroviruses have a good side. Rodents with gut flora wiped out and thin villi (like that caused by antibiotics) were infected with norovirus. Surprisingly, this helped rebalance the immune cells and fatten the villi.
And there's more.
Isn't that interesting?!!
But we still want to minimize the symptoms and duration of norovirus!
So let's talk about ways to do that.
There's a tip floating around to drink a bunch of grape juice for treating the norovirus. According to the info, “there is something in grape juice that changes the pH in your stomach and prevents norovirus from multiplying.”
What about all the stories of it helping people?! There are many biological factors that we've discussed above that can cause the norovirus to cause great variance in the way this virus affects each person.
Besides, grape juice is incredibly high in sugar which can negatively affect white blood cell production and slow down immune function.
The best way to be ready and treat norovirus is to promote gut health!
Some of the best ways to support gut health include:
- Avoiding antibiotics
- Avoiding chlorine
- Reducing/eliminating refined & artificial sugars
- Consuming lacto-fermented foods/drinks (lacto-fermented sauerkraut & pickles, kombucha, beet kvass, etc.)
- Taking a probiotic daily (See Recommended Supplements here.)
Increasing intake of lacto-fermented liquids can help greatly during norovirus illness!
As always, a healthy gut goes a long way in supporting continued overall health!
A note about activated charcoal:
Some people use activated charcoal at the first signs of the stomach bug because it binds to toxins. It is important to note that it also binds to essential minerals and vitamins, especially iodine, so supplementation of those nutrients should be increased after using activated charcoal.
There is something else I've found to be very effective through research and personal use, but certain regulatory agencies do not allow me to discuss it publicly. Please feel free to contact me privately for that information.
Blessings of good health,
Sara Jo Poff
Natural Health Practitioner