Apple Cider Vinegar

What Is Apple Cider Vinegar?

Apple cider vinegar (ACV) is the natural product of fermenting crushed apples. Vinegar has been used as a health tonic for thousands of years for many different ailments.

Benefits of Apple Cider

Apple cider vinegar can be helpful to health in some ways. Studies support that it can help:

  • Manage diabetes. Several studies have found that vinegar -- including apple cider vinegar -- may lower blood sugar levels. This could have benefits for people with diabetes.
  • Curb hunger. Some types of vinegar have also been shown to make people feel fuller. This could support the traditional use of apple cider vinegar for weight loss.
  • Boost nutrition. The “mother” is a combination of yeast and bacteria formed during fermentation that may act as probiotics. You get it in unfiltered, organic apple cider vinegar. ACV is also rich in B-vitamins and polyphenols, which are antioxidants, as well as potassium, which keeps your cells working well. 
  • Kill pathogens. ACV kills harmful bacteria such as E. coli, staphylococcus aureus, and Candida.
  • Manage hormone levels in women with PCOS. Studies show ACV could help restore ovary function in women with polycystic ovary syndrome.

People use apple cider vinegar for many other things, including to:

  • Treat or prevent vaginitis by acidifying your vaginal area
  • Detoxify the body by helping get rid of harmful blood lipids
  • Improve skin health by restoring your skin’s pH and killing bad bacteria.
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Aid digestion by adding acid to your stomach.

However, there are no clinical trials examining these conditions to refute or support the traditional use.

Animal and laboratory studies have found evidence that apple cider vinegar might help:

However, this research is only in its early stages. It’s too soon to say whether the same results will be seen in people.

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Apple Cider Vinegar Dosage and Use

Because apple cider vinegar is an unproven treatment, there are no official recommendations on how to use it. Some people take 30 grams or more a day of apple cider vinegar mixed in a cup of water or juice. Tablets with 285 milligrams of dehydrated apple cider vinegar are also available.

To get health benefits for certain conditions, try these amounts:

  • 2-4 tablespoons mixed into water just before a meal to help control blood sugar
  • 1 tablespoon mixed into water right after dinner to help regulate your period if you have PCOS.
  • 1-2 tablespoons a day in water or as a salad dressing to help with weight loss.

Apple cider vinegar is itself sold by itself to use as a regular food product.

Apple Cider Vinegar Risks

  • Side effects. Taking small amounts of apple cider is probably safe. But larger doses, or long-term use, of apple cider vinegar could have risks. Taking apple cider vinegar at full strength could erode the enamel of your teeth and burn your mouth and throat. Throat injury from an apple cider vinegar tablet has also been reported. For someone with diabetes, apple cider vinegar may worsen digestive problems.
  • Risks. Women with osteoporosis should be wary of apple cider vinegar. Used regularly, apple cider vinegar could reduce bone density. Because it can alter insulin levels, people with diabetes shouldn’t use apple cider vinegar without telling their doctors first.
  • Interactions. People taking laxatives, diuretics, and medication for heart disease and diabetes should check with a doctor before using apple cider vinegar supplements.
WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Brunilda Nazario, MD on September 26, 2020

Sources

SOURCES:

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Ostman, E. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2005; vol 59: pp 983-88.

University of Texas M.D. Anderson  Cancer Center: “Complementary/Integrative Medicine Therapies: Apple Cider Vinegar.”

White, A. and Johnston, C. Diabetes Care, November, 2007; vol 30: pp 2814-2815.

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database: "Apple Cider Vinegar."

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

USDA FoodData Central: “Vinegar, cider.”

Harvard Health Publishing: “The importance of potassium.”

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

Tohoku Journal of Experimental Medicine: “Intake of vinegar beverage is associated with restoration of ovulatory function in women with polycystic ovary syndrome.”

Frontiers in Microbiology: “Bacterial Vaginosis Biofilms: Challenges to Current Therapies and Emerging Solutions.”

Life Science Journal: “Influence of apple cider vinegar on blood lipids.”

Biomolecules and Therapeutics: “Enhanced In Vitro Skin Deposition Properties of Retinyl Palmitate through Its Stabilization by Pectin.”

Molecular Pharmaceutics: “Gastric Re-acidification with Betaine HCl in Healthy Volunteers with Rabeprazole-Induced Hypochlorhydria.”

The British Journal of Nutrition: “Dietary acetic acid reduces serum cholesterol and triacylglycerols in rats fed a cholesterol-rich diet.”

Diabetes Care: “Vinegar Decreases Postprandial Hyperglycemia in Patients With Type 1 Diabetes.”

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

 

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