Apple Cider Vinegar

What Is Apple Cider Vinegar?

 

Apple cider vinegar is mostly apple juice, but adding yeast turns the sugar in the juice into alcohol. This is a process called fermentation. Bacteria turn the alcohol into acetic acid. That’s what gives vinegar its sour taste and strong smell.

Apple cider vinegar has a long history as a home remedy, used to treat things like sore throat and varicose veins. There isn’t much science to support the claims. But in recent years, some researchers have been taking a closer look at apple cider vinegar and its possible benefits.

Some people say the “mother,” the cloud of yeast and bacteria you might see in a bottle of apple cider vinegar, is what makes it healthy. These things are probiotic, meaning they might give your digestive system a boost, but there isn’t enough research to back up the other claims.

Apple Cider Vinegar Uses and Dosage

Vinegar is used in cooking, baking, and salad dressings and as a preservative. There’s a lot of acid in it, so drinking vinegar straight isn’t recommended. It can cause problems, like eroding the enamel of your teeth, if you get too much.

If you’re looking to use it for health reasons, most people say to add 1 to 2 tablespoons to water or tea.

Apple Cider Vinegar Benefits

Vinegar has been used as a remedy for centuries. The ancient Greeks treated wounds with it. In recent years, people have explored apple cider vinegar as a way to lose weight, improve heart health, and even treat dandruff.

Research doesn’t back most of these claims. But some studies have found that the acetic acid may help with a variety of conditions:

Vinegar also has chemicals known as polyphenols. They help stop the cell damage that can lead to other diseases, like cancer. But studies on whether vinegar actually lowers your chances of having cancer are mixed.

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Apple Cider Vinegar Risks and Side Effects

Because of its high acidity, drinking a lot of apple cider vinegar can damage your teeth, hurt your throat, and upset your stomach. Also:

  • Though some studies have been promising, there’s still little to prove that drinking apple cider vinegar helps you lose weight.
  • It may also cause your potassium levels to drop too low. Your muscles and nerves need that nutrient to work the way they should.
  • Another study of people with type 1 diabetes found that apple cider vinegar slows the rate food and liquids move out of your stomach to your intestines. Slower digestion makes it harder to control your blood sugar level.
  • It might cause some medications to not work as well. These include diabetes and heart disease drugs as well as diuretics  (medicines that help your body get rid of water and salt) and laxatives.
  • And of course, its strong taste might not be for everyone.

In short, apple cider vinegar probably won’t hurt you. You can try it because it’s calorie-free, adds lots of flavor to food, and has health benefits. But it isn’t a miracle cure.

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Christine Mikstas, RD, LD on October 03, 2019

Sources

SOURCES:

University of Washington, The Whole U: “Beyond the Hype: Apple Cider Vinegar as an Alternative Therapy.”

Medscape General Medicine: “Vinegar: Medicinal Uses and Antiglycemic Effect.”

AOL Lifestyle: “15 ways apple cider vinegar can benefit your health and home.”

The Ohio State University Extension: “Making Cider Vinegar at Home.”

Bioscience, Biotechnology and Biochemistry: “Vinegar intake reduces body weight, body fat mass, and serum triglyceride levels in obese Japanese subjects.”

Journal of Diabetes Research: "Vinegar Consumption Increases Insulin-Stimulated Glucose Uptake by the Forearm Muscle in Humans with Type 2 Diabetes.”

Annals of Cardiology and Angiology: “Anti-obesogenic effect of apple cider vinegar in rats subjected to a high fat diet.”

Mayo Clinic: “Drinking apple cider vinegar for weight loss seems far-fetched. Does it work?”

Dutch Journal of Dentistry: “Unhealthy weight loss. Erosion by apple cider vinegar.”

BMC Gastroenterology: “Effect of apple cider vinegar on delayed gastric emptying in patients with type 1 diabetes mellitus: a pilot study.”

Cleveland Clinic: “Probiotics.”

University of Chicago Medicine: “Debunking the health benefits of apple cider vinegar.”

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