Have you heard of apple cider vinegar? Recently it has gained popularity because celebrities are using it to lose weight. But did you know that apple cider vinegar has been used for centuries for various reasons as well? Let’s discover the many ways that apple cider vinegar can increase your health and how to use it.
What Is It?
Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) is made from apples, sugar, and yeast. The apples are crushed to extract the liquid. Then the bacteria and yeast are added to initiate the fermentation process. After that, the sugars turn into alcohol. Bacteria then converts alcohol to vinegar, which is mainly acetic acid. (1) Now that you know what apple cider vinegar is, let’s discuss the benefits of it.
Apple Cider Vinegar Benefits
As previously stated, apple cider vinegar has a long history of being used for medicinal purposes. In fact, over two thousand years ago, Hippocrates used vinegar for wound cleaning. More recently it has been used for cleaning, disinfecting, treating nail fungus, lice, warts and ear infections.(1) There are many other benefits such as that it:
- Decreases Blood Sugar
- Increases Weight Loss
- Kills Bad Bacteria and Pathogens(1)
- Decreases Heart Disease
- Is Anti-Inflammatory
- Increases pH Balance
- Contains Probiotics and Enzymes(7)
Apple Cider Vinegar helps to decrease blood sugar because it keeps insulin levels low. Studies show that it improves insulin sensitivity during a high-carb meal by 19–34% and insulin responses (3). A similar study showed that it reduces blood sugar by 34% after eating 50 grams of white bread (3).
Many studies also show that vinegar can help you lose weight. You lose weight because apple cider vinegar consumption makes you feel full and helps you eat fewer calories. This will eventually lead to actual pounds lost (3). For example, if people take vinegar along with a high-carb meal, they get increased feelings of fullness and end up eating fewer calories for the rest of the day (4).One study of 175 obese people showed that daily apple cider vinegar consumption led to weight loss (4):
- 15 mL (1 tablespoon): Lost 2.6 pounds, or 1.2 kilograms
- 30 mL (2 tablespoons): Lost 3.7 pounds, or 1.7 kilograms
Apple Cider Vinegar has also been proven to kill bad bacteria and pathogens(1). It fights bacteria that can cause food poisoning, including E. coli. One study showed that vinegar reduced numbers of certain bacteria by 90% and some viruses by 95% (5). Another study found that apple cider vinegar was effective at killing Staphylococcus aureus, which is the bacteria responsible for staph infections.(5)
Additionally, it decreases heart disease. Studies have found that apple cider vinegar reduces “bad” LDL cholesterol and triglycerides(6). It also can help decrease heart burn. Apple cider vinegar has been shown to increase overall heart health as well.
The nutrients in apple cider vinegar help to reduce inflammation fairly quickly. In addition, it increases pH balance which keeps our blood from becoming too acidic. Apple cider vinegar helps maintain a healthy alkaline pH level. Research shows that higher acid levels (lower pH level) lead to a lack of energy and higher incidences of infection (6).
Apple cider vinegar contains probiotics and enzymes which help support digestion and increase metabolism. This is important to note because when your gut in not balanced you experience many symptoms such as:
- Indigestion (8)
- Upset Stomach
- Bad Skin
- Weight Changes,
- Autoimmune Conditions
- Constant Fatigue
As you can see, there are numerous benefits to adding apple cider vinegar to your diet. Now we will discuss more details about when and how to consume it.
When to Drink
There are a few different options as to when to take apple cider vinegar during the day. The most important thing to remember is that you should pick one of these times, and stick with it continuously. Some suggested times to take apple cider vinegar are:
- Before Meals
- Before Bed
The advantage to taking apple cider vinegar when you wake up in the morning is that it helps to balance your body’s pH. In addition, it supports digestion and decreases blood sugar.
Some people may choose to take apple cider vinegar while they are fasting. This is helpful for them because it decreases their hunger pains. It also makes them feel more full.
If taken before meals, apple cider vinegar will decrease blood sugar. This is important because normally blood sugar increases after meals. (2) In addition, apple cider vinegar will help digestion, and help increase iron absorption.
There are also people who choose to take apple cider vinegar before bed. This is beneficial because when they wake up in the morning, their blood sugar is lowered.
Again, the most important thing to remember is to pick one of these times and continue to stick with that time every day. Now we will discuss how to drink apple cider vinegar and how much you should consume daily.
How to Drink It
There are a few options on how to drink liquid apple cider vinegar as well. Some patients choose to drink it as a shot or straight out of a glass. The disadvantage to this is that sometimes it will burn going down your throat. Another way to consume it is mixed with water. Others choose to make an elixir out of ice, water, and cinnamon. Additionally, you can add lemon to it to help detox your body. Or if you prefer, mix apple cider vinegar with sea salt. This will add electrolytes to your body as well.
The way that you choose to consume it is your decision. It depends on your personal preference. However, the recommended amount to take is one to two tablespoons. You should not exceed one to two tablespoons more than three times daily. Now we will discuss which of the forms of apple cider vinegar is most beneficial.
Which Form of ACV is Best to Use
A few forms of apple cider vinegar exist. Here are your options:
- Acetic Acid
- Raw ACV (unfiltered with “mother”)
Both liquid and pill forms of apple cider vinegar have been used in studies, and both are proven to be effective. The best form for you depends on personal preference. However, most people may feel that the liquid form of apple cider vinegar has a very strong taste. If you feel that way, you may have a difficult time tolerating it. In this case, capsules are the obvious better choice.
With any form of apple cider vinegar, you need to make sure it is properly sourced and formulated. This way you can take full advantage of benefits from all its ingredients. Raw ACV is organic and unfiltered apple cider vinegar. It also contains the “mother.” The “mother” is strands of proteins, enzymes and friendly bacteria that give the product a murky appearance. (1) This is the best option because it is pure and simple. Now we will discuss the possible side effects of apple cider vinegar.
Apple Cider Vinegar Side Effects
Hopefully you know all of the positive aspects of apple cider vinegar. Now I will discuss a few side effects rumored to be associated with apple cider vinegar consumption.
Some of them are:
- Tooth Decay
- Medication Interactions
- Pregnancy or Nursing
The liquid form of apple cider vinegar may weaken dental enamel. If this is a concern of yours, you should drink it through a straw or dilute it with water. Another option is to switch to the capsule form. As far as drug interactions, apple cider vinegar in this small of a dosage should not have any side effects. It should also be noted that there are no known side effects from consuming it while pregnant or nursing.
Now that you have read the complete guide to apple cider vinegar, you are ready to use it. Add it to your grocery list today!
- Yagnik, D., Serafin, V., Shah, A.J. (2018). Antimicrobial activity of apple cider vinegar against Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus and Candida albicans; downregulating cytokine and microbial protein expression. Scientific Reports. 8:1732.
- Yeh, Z. (2015). Is Apple Cider Vinegar Effective for Reducing Heartburn Symptoms Related to Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease? Arizona State University. Retrieved from: repository.asu.edu