Apple Cider Vinegar Benefits?

For centuries, apple cider vinegar has been used in cooking and as a popular home remedy. The ancient Greeks treated their wounds with it while Greek physician Hippocrates recommended it as a treatment for colds, sore throats, and coughs. 

Historically, it has been used for many ailments, including obesity, plague, and high blood pressure, while ancient Roman soldiers used a mixture of apple cider vinegar and water as a refreshing drink.

In the past couple of years, the popularity of apple cider vinegar has been steadily growing, so if you haven’t already, you are probably contemplating trying some of the recommendations you’ve come across. 

So here is my intake on apple cider vinegar, but, before I expand on its usage and the pros and cons, let’s establish what exactly is apple cider vinegar.

What is apple cider vinegar?

Apple cider vinegar is mostly apple juice with an added yeast, which turns the sugar in the juice into alcohol. This process is called fermentation, and it produces the so-called ‘mother’ – a combination of yeast and bacteria formed on the surface, which is packed with probiotics. However, apple cider vinegar can be distilled and clear looking (without the ‘mother’), and it may be the one that you are most familiar with.

Regardless of the type, it doesn’t have to be refrigerated, and it can last a long time. As for nutrition, it contains zero calories per tablespoon and no carbohydrates, fat, fiber, or protein. 

Now lets look at the facts:

What Is Apple Cider Vinegar Considered Beneficial for:

Weight-loss –

It is believed that drinking a small glass of apple cider vinegar before eating leads to weight loss, and there is some evidence to back it up. One Japanese study compared a group of people who drank no vinegar with people who did drink it over the course of 12 weeks. At the end of the study, the researchers found that the groups who drank vinegar lost more weight compared to the placebo group. [1] 

However, this and other studies on the subject do not provide compelling, reliable research for weight loss because study groups are small and studies are short term.

Furthermore, science shows that when acetate is consumed, the body tends to use it as an energy source before any other energy source in the body including fat and sugar.

Reducing Cholesterol – 

Two studies, one from 2012 and another from 2018, found that consuming apple cider vinegar could help reduce total cholesterol, triglycerides, and LDL cholesterol. The study also showed that it doesn’t take long to take effect. [2] [3]

However, one of the functions of the liver is to break down cholesterol. If the liver is not working properly, it will lead to cholesterol build up in the body. The liver becomes irritated from vinegar consumption and has even been described as being pickled by too much vinegar consumption.

Reducing Heart Risks –

Apple cider vinegar is high in alpha-linolenic acid, which has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease in women. [5] [6]

But on the other hand, vinegar has been reported to cause or worsen low potassium levels for people who suffer from this. That’s particularly important for people taking medications that can lower potassium (such as common diuretics taken to treat high blood pressure).

Improves Blood Sugar – 

Since the first study, which was done in 1995, several other studies have shown that apple cider vinegar can significantly reduce blood sugar levels and significantly influence the glycemic response, which is particularly important for people with Type 2 diabetes. Even the American Diabetes Association has reviewed these researches and concluded that apple cider vinegar could significantly improve insulin sensitivity after meals. [4]

On the other hand, other studies show that vinegar alters insulin levels, and that people with diabetes should be particularly cautious about a high vinegar diet.

Other Risks

Since apple cider vinegar is acidic, it is recommended to be diluted with water to avoid tooth erosion, otherwise vinegar can damage tooth enamel, harm your throat, and upset your stomach when sipped “straight” from a glass. Consuming it as a component of vinaigrette salad dressing is a slightly better way to consume it. 

On the other hand, vinegar can be great as a natural cleaning material for dentures. Undiluted vinegar does not leave any residue on the dentures, that may enter the body.

Also, because of its high acidity, vinegar may lower bone density because of the buffering effects bones have on blood acid levels by releasing calcium carbonate from the bones making the bones more brittle.

Takeaway

To conclude, there are some benefits to consuming apple cider vinegar, however, I do not recommend regular consumption of vinegar as a treatment for anything except as a topical treatment for external application to skin wounds, warts and nail fungus because of vinegar’s anti-fungal properties which are good against nail fungus and great for cleaning dentures. 

Apple cider vinegar is definitely the best vinegar out of all other vinegars, and if you really like the taste, you may add it to your salad dressings, but not on a regular basis. On most days try to replace it with freshly squeezed lemon juice instead.

References:

[1] Tomoo Kondo, Mikiya Kishi, Takashi Fushimi, Shinobu Ugajin and Takayuki Kaga. Vinegar Intake Reduces Body Weight, Body Fat Mass, and Serum Triglyceride Levels in Obese Japanese Subjects. Bioscience, Biotechnology, and Biochemistry journal 2009 April, Volume 73, Issue 8. Published online 2014 May 22. doi: 10.1271/bbb.90231

[2] Solaleh Sadat Khezri, Atoosa Saidpour, Nima Hosseinzadeh, and Zohreh Amiri. Beneficial effects of Apple Cider Vinegar on weight management, Visceral Adiposity Index and lipid profile in overweight or obese subjects receiving restricted calorie diet: A randomized clinical trial. Journal of Functional Food, 2018 April, Volume 43, Pages 95-102. doi: 10.1016/j.jff.2018.02.003

[3] Zahra Beheshti, Yiong Huak Chan, Hamid Sharif Nia, Roghieh Nazari, Mohammad Shaabani, Mohammad Taghi, Salehi Omran, and Fatemeh Hajihosseini. Influence of apple cider vinegar on blood lipids. Life Science Journal 2012 May. Pages 2431-2440. doi: 10.1271/bbb.90231

[4] F. Brighenti, G. Castellani, L. Benini, M. C. Casiraghi, E. Leopardi, R. Crovetti, and G. Testolin. Effect of neutralized and native vinegar on blood glucose and acetate responses to a mixed meal in healthy subjects. Eur J Clin Nutr. 1995 Apr;49(4):242-7. 

[5] Takashi Fushimi, Kazuhito Suruga, Yoshifumi Oshima, Momoko Fukiharu, Yoshinori Tsukamoto, and Toshinao Goda. Dietary acetic acid reduces serum cholesterol and triacylglycerols in rats fed a cholesterol-rich diet. Br J Nutr. 2006 May; 95(5): 916-24. doi: 10.1079/bjn20061740.

[6] F. B. Hu, M. J. Stampfer, J. E. Manson, E. B. Rimm, A. Wolk, G. A. Colditz, C. H. Hennekens, and W. C. Willett. Dietary intake of alpha-linolenic acid and risk of fatal ischemic heart disease among women. Am J Clin Nutr. 1999 May; 69(5): 890-7. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/69.5.890.

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