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.
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:
- Japanese scientists found that drinking vinegar might help fight obesity.
- One small study found that vinegar improved blood sugar and insulin levels in a group of people with type 2 diabetes.
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.
Apple Cider Vinegar Risks and Side Effects
- 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.