Military Advantage

VA Studying Effects Of Grape Juice On Gulf War Illness

Grapes and wine

Are you a Gulf War veteran who loves grape juice? The VA is looking for you.

Many Gulf War veterans who were deployed to the Persian Gulf during Operations Desert Storm and Desert Shield are suffering from Gulf War Illness. Gulf War Illness is a term that refers to a group of unexplained or ill-defined chronic symptoms found in about one third of those veterans. 

Despite much research, the cause of Gulf War Illness remains unclear and symptoms vary. Symptoms might include fatigue, muscle and joint pain, cognitive difficulty, and headaches.

Researchers at the VA's New Jersey War Related Illness and Injury Study Center  are actively trying to develop better treatments for veterans with Gulf War Illness. One such potential treatment being investigated by the VA is concord grape juice. The juice has high concentrations of dietary polyphenols that are believed to have a variety of health benefits, including improving brain function.

The VA is investigating the role of daily concord grape juice consumption in treating symptoms of Gulf War Illness.

“Although grape juice is high in sugars, many people like the taste. It is also available on the grocery store shelf and relatively easy for most veterans to incorporate into their diet,” said Dr. Drew Helmer, who is leading this study. “Before we promote grape juice as a treatment for veterans with Gulf War Illness, however, we want to use this research to better understand its potential benefits.”

The VA says that daily consumption of daily concord grape juice consumption may help to lessen or eliminate symptoms of Gulf War Illness. Unfortunately, most wine does not contain concord grapes, so you can't drink wine as part of the study.

The VA is currently running several clinical trials in the New York, New Jersey, and Massachusetts areas to study the effects of concord grape juice as well as other methods in the treatment of Gulf War Illness. If you are interested in participating, or want more information please contact the VA's War Related Illness and Injury Center at 800-248-8005, or visit their website.

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