Apple Cider Vinegar Pills: Are There Health Benefits?

Apple cider vinegar is made from fermented apple juice. It has a wide range of culinary applications, from salad dressings to marinades, and is also a popular folk remedy for a variety of conditions. In 1958, a physician named D.C. Jarvis recommended a health tonic made from apple cider vinegar and honey. 

Recently, apple cider vinegar has been touted as a weight loss tonic, as a remedy for acid reflux, and even as a hair rinse. While modern science has lent some support to these and other claims about apple cider vinegar, much more research is needed to determine whether apple cider vinegar pills are a healthful part of a daily regimen. 

Nutrition Information

One tablespoon of unfiltered apple cider vinegar contains: 

  • Calories: 7
  • Protein: 0 grams
  • Fat: 0 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 2 grams
  • Fiber: 0 grams
  • Sugar: 0 grams

Apple cider vinegar is not a significant source of other nutrients.

Potential Health Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar Pills

Research has found a few potential health benefits from taking apple cider vinegar pills: 

Antimicrobial Effects

Apple cider vinegar is used in a variety of folk remedies as an antibacterial and antifungal agent, and scientific research supports these claims. One study found strong antibacterial activity in apple cider concentrations of 25 percent.

Another found significant therapeutic implications for treatment of E. coli, staph infections, and yeast infections.

Apple cider vinegar has even been shown to treat vaginal yeast infections that did not respond to other forms of medical treatment.

Diabetes Management

Apple cider vinegar pills may help improve glycemic control (effect on blood sugar) in patients with diabetes since they have been shown to have an anti-glycemic effect.

Especially when taken at mealtimes, apple cider vinegar can also reduce fasting blood glucose concentrations in healthy adults at risk for type II diabetes. 

For people with diabetes, apple cider vinegar can also help improve hemoglobin A1C values (blood sugar attached to red blood cells) when taken regularly.

Metabolism and Weight Loss

There is some evidence to show that taking apple cider vinegar pills can improve glucose metabolism, lipid profiles, and body weight overall.

Much more research is needed to demonstrate a conclusive effect of apple cider vinegar on metabolism and weight loss, but several studies have indicated that it has a beneficial effect. 

Continued

Potential Risks of Apple Cider Vinegar Pills

You should consult with your doctor before taking apple cider vinegar pills or any other supplement. Consider the following before adding apple cider vinegar pills to your regimen:

Nausea

Ingestion of vinegar, including apple cider vinegar, may stimulate nausea in people with sensitive stomachs. If you experience nausea as a result of taking apple cider vinegars, speak to your doctor about finding an alternative.

Pregnancy Concerns

The effects of apple cider vinegar pills on someone who is pregnant or breast-feeding are inconclusive. If you’re pregnant or breastfeeding a baby, it is best to look for an alternative. 

Medication Interference

Avoid apple cider vinegar pills if you’re already taking a diuretic as their actions may be compounded. Since apple cider vinegar has natural diuretic properties, it may interfere with the action of lithium and similar medications. 

Apple cider vinegar pills should also be avoided if you’re taking other medications that reduce potassium in the body, like Digoxin and Insulin

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Dan Brennan, MD on November 12, 2020

Sources

SOURCES:

Arizona State University: “Testing the Anti-Glycemic Effect of Commercial Apple Cider Vinegar Pills.”

Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine: “Vaginal Candidiasis Infection Treated Using Apple Cider Vinegar: A Case Report.”

Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice: “Preliminary evidence that regular vinegar ingestion favorably influences hemoglobin A1c values in individuals with type 2 diabetes mellitus.”

ESHA Research, Inc., Salem, Oregon: “Vinegar, Apple Cider, Unfiltered.”

Harvard Health Publishing, Harvard Medical School: “Apple cider vinegar diet: Does it really work?”

Jarvis, D.C.: Folk Medicine: A Vermont Doctor's Guide to Good Health, Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1965.

Journal of Functional Foods: “Vinegar ingestion at mealtime reduced fasting blood glucose concentrations in healthy adults at risk for type 2 diabetes.”

Natural Product Research: “Authenticating apple cider vinegar's home remedy claims: antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral properties and cytotoxicity aspect.”

Nutrition Reviews: “Effect and mechanisms of action of vinegar on glucose metabolism, lipid profile, and body weight.”

Scientific Reports: “Antimicrobial activity of apple cider vinegar against Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus and Candida albicans; downregulating cytokine and microbial protein expression.

Trade Journals: “Health Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar and Other Common Vinegars: A Review.”

USDA: “Apple Cider Vinegar.”

© 2020 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.

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