Drinking apple cider vinegar is a popular herbal remedy in alternative health circles. The vinegar is commonly added to salad dressings and mouthwash to boost oral health and heart health.
The tangy treat can also be added to culinary dishes and plain old glasses of water to boost health and improve flavor. Read on to find out more about apple cider vinegar including health benefits and side effects.
What is Apple Cider Vinegar?
Apple cider vinegar (ACV) is made by fermenting apple juice. The fermentation process is initiated by the addition of yeast, which converts the sugars in apple juice into alcohol. Additional micro bacteria in the mixture convert the alcohol into a byproduct known as acetic acid. Acetic acid is responsible for the sour taste and tart flavor of apple cider vinegar.
The highest quality brands of ACV including Braggs feature unfiltered apple cider vinegar. That means the vinegar includes the mother — the bacteria and yeast product, which are responsible for most of the proven health benefits. If using vinegar for health purposes, always purchase one that contains the mother.
Uses and Health Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar has long been a staple of alternative medicine. In fact, the vinegar was used by Hippocrates to treat and clean wounds. In modern times, the vinegar has become a popular ingredient in culinary dishes, oral care products, and weight-loss regimens. Discover the uses and potential benefits of ACV below.
ACV is commonly marketed as a weight loss aid. Medical research has backed up many of the weight-loss claims associated with the sour vinegar. A Japanese study published in Bioscience, Biotechnology, and Biochemistry analyzed the impacts of apple cider vinegar on body weight and body fat.
Researchers found that people who ingested 500 milliliters of ACV each day for 12 weeks had a significant reduction in visceral fat, BMI, serum triglyceride levels, and waist circumference (1).
A second study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition investigated the impacts of apple cider vinegar on 12 individuals who wanted to lose weight. Researchers found that participants who took ACV during a meal felt satiated faster than people who didn’t supplement with ACV (2).
Blood Sugar Benefits
Vinegar consumption may help to modulate blood sugar levels and decrease the risk of type 2 diabetes. Research published in 1995 found that apple cider vinegar worked to lower blood sugar levels and improve insulin sensitivity. It’s important to note this study was small and consisted only of five participants (3).
Additional research published in Diabetes Care examined the effects of ACV on insulin levels and blood sugar levels. Researchers found that an ACV diet helped to boost insulin sensitivity and regulate blood glucose levels.
ACV may help to lower high cholesterol and high blood pressure — two risk factors associated with heart disease. An animal study from Pakistan focused on the effects of this vinegar on rats with diabetes. Researchers found that rats that consumed apple cider vinegar had a significant reduction in LDL cholesterol and improvements in total cholesterol levels (5).
If you’re looking to lower cholesterol levels, try adding apple cider vinegar to a glass of water or drizzle it on your favorite foods. Don’t forget to pair it with healthy fats such as avocado and limit your consumption of sugary foods.
Apple vinegar may also help to lower high blood pressure. A study published in Bioscience, Biotechnology, and Biochemistry found that acetic acid helped to decrease blood pressure and renin activity (6).
Apple cider vinegar helps to decrease symptoms of acid reflux, which is caused when stomach acid migrates from the stomach into the esophagus. Drinking ACV can help to reduce symptoms like heartburn, indigestion, and nausea. Apple vinegar is particularly useful for people who have GERD caused by low levels of stomach acid. Add the vinegar to a few ounces of water and consume before each meal for the best results.
Side Effects of Apple Cider Vinegar
ACV is safe for consumption when used in small amounts. Large amounts or prolonged consumption can lead to some side effects. The main side effect is a degradation of tooth enamel. That’s because the acidity of vinegar slowly erodes enamel. To minimize this side effect, take ACV after a meal or brush your teeth immediately after use.
ACV also features a sour taste that can cause a burning sensation. Most people get used to the vinegar taste, but you can also dilute it in liquids or foods to make it more palatable.
Excessive ACV consumption may also lead to low potassium levels. Limit consumption and make regular visits to a doctor to avoid these adverse effects. Avoid this vinegar if you have bone density problems that may be affected by decreased potassium.
ACV may also interact with certain medications, particularly blood sugar medications. Consult a healthcare professional before using herbal remedies if you have a medical condition or take any medications.
Get On Board With Apple Cider Vinegar
Many of the benefits of cider vinegar has been backed up by scientific research. While it’s not the cure-all many companies say it is, the vinegar and other acidic foods may help to lower risk factors associated with cardiovascular disease. It may also help to soothe a sore throat and improve weight loss results when combined with a healthy diet and exercise.
This popular home remedy is easy to incorporate into your daily regimen. Add apple vinegar to a cup of water or pour it on your salad and enjoy the tasty flavor and potential benefits.