A: The theory here is that the coronavirus (COVID-19) cannot live in acidic environments, so drinking or gargling with lemon juice or lemon water is thought to kill it. The idea is that by consuming lemon, you’ll raise your body’s pH level, which the virus cannot survive in. (pH is a scale that’s used to rank the acidity of substances.)
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Unfortunately, this theory is wrong. Lemon juice or lemon water will not protect you against COVID-19.
There are so many different types of viruses out there and some viruses actually are more or less susceptible to acidity than others, so you could see why someone might think this could work when it comes to coronavirus.
But one study showed how well a virus, in particular, the coronavirus, can survive in outdoor environments. The study was based on pH levels. Lemon juice is just acidic fluid and the virus was shown to be viable down to a pH of three, which is right where lemon juice would be on the pH scale.
The study found that the virus can, indeed, survive in acidic environments. So no, gargling with or drinking lemon juice or water is not going to be useful in killing coronavirus. It’s also worth mentioning that you cannot change the pH level of your body just by eating or drinking something.
Now for those people who actually have a sore throat, gargling with warm salt water can sometimes give you some relief. But it’s best to stay away from drinks like lemon juice or orange juice because those things can irritate an already inflamed throat.
– Pediatric infectious disease specialist Frank Esper, MD.