Does Drinking Alcohol Actually Kill Off Your Sore Throat Germs? Science Explains

It is commonly known that alcohol is disinfectant and some researchers have suggested that it actually can be very useful for treating gut infections.

Even in the past, alcohol was used for this purpose. There are some historical records that some AD Roman generals in the third century have recommended wine to their soldiers in order to prevent dysentery.

So, can alcohol actually treat tummy bugs and throat infections?

In a study that was conducted back in 1988, many common beverages like beer, wine, skim milk and water were tested in order to find out more about their antibacterial effect.

After two days of research, the scientists have found that the organisms fared worst in red wine, while the carbonated drinks and beer also had some effect, but they were still not effective like wine is.

Many years later, one more study had to be conducted because they wanted to find out what exactly in wine was causing this antibacterial effect. The scientists have tested red wine on salmonella and later they compared it to a solution that has the same alcohol concentration and also pH level.

It appears that red wine possesses the most intense antibacterial activity, in comparison with other solutions that have the same concentration of alcohol and pH.

The concentration of alcohol is extremely important for the effect on bugs. For alcohol hand rubs, everything from 60 to 80% high alcohol concentration is considered optimal.

Recently, there was one study that was focused on the penetration of alcohol into groups of microorganisms in the mouth and its effect on killing bugs.

Every alcohol that had lower concentration than 40 percent showed as significantly weaker in affecting bacterial growth and alcohol with only 10 percent concentration had almost no effect.

Another thing that was extremely important was the exposure time of alcohol. When alcohol with 40 percent concentration (like the regular Vodka you were drinking this weekend) was used the effect on inhibiting the growth of these microorganisms was much more bigger when this was applied over 15 minutes, in comparison with 6 minutes.

So, it was concluded that alcohol that is around 40% strong has the ability to kill oral bacteria with an exposure time of one minute, at least.

Can alcohol be bad for the stomach?

There was a study in which 47 healthy people have participated. Different alcohol concentrations were sprayed on the lower part of their stomach during a process called gastroscopy (where there is a camera that is inserted in the stomach through the mouth).

It appears that the greater was the concentration of alcohol, the more damage was observed inside the stomach. There was no damage that was observed in the small bowel.

So, stomach injury that was caused by alcohol concentrations that were higher than 10 percent actually took more than twenty-four hours to heal.

But it should be noted that chronic use of alcohol may lead to a possible overgrowth of bacteria that can be found in the small bowel. Therefore, this may lead to symptoms like nausea, diarrhea and also vomiting.

The verdict?

Consumption of alcohol may lead to some immediate damage to the gut, of course – with bigger damage seen at higher concentrations.

Also, it’s not advised for alcohol to be used as a regular disinfectant for treating throat infections or tummy bugs too often.


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