Vinegar, in general, has been known for their health characteristics for a long time, but it’s apple cider vinegar in particular that has been glorified as a cure-all in recent times that is claimed as a remedy for everything from acne to cancer.
So the question is, whether there is any truth to these claims.
Before rushing into conclusions let’s try to uncover which health benefits are backed by evidence and which are not, any side effects of using it, and the best & safest ways to use apple cider vinegar.
What’s Apple Cider Vinegar?
It’s made of apple juice, and when yeast is added, it converts the fruit sugar into alcohol during fermentation. Bacteria then transform alcohol into acetic acid. This is how basically apple cider vinegar is made giving its sour taste and pungent smell.
Rumoured Health Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar
1) Apple Cider Vinegar for Blood Sugar & Diabetes
There is some evidence from studies which has emerged to indicate that apple cider vinegar could have some benefits in controlling diabetes.
In one study from Arizona State University, the participants had 20g apple cider vinegar, 40g of water, and 1 teaspoon of saccharin with each meal .
Comparatively, those with insulin resistance who consumed vinegar had an elevated level of insulin sensitivity by 34% aiding in reducing the levels of glucose after their meals compared to the placebo group.
It was also believed that vinegar might reduce the intake of carbs into blood, or decrease the breakdown of starches into sugars which simulates the influence of drugs such as acarbose.
On another study which was done on a short-term basis, groups which took apple cider vinegar noticed a substantial improvement in blood glucose levels half an hour after consuming the vinegar. However, the difference was temporary and was reduced over time between the vinegar and control groups.
It can be assumed to provide some benefit in order to help control blood sugar levels & type 2 diabetes, but there is still not enough scientific evidence to support the strength of apple cider vinegar as a quick fix for diabetes.
2) Apple Cider Vinegar and Cholesterol
There is some evidence to suggest taking apple cider vinegar could aid in lowering both cholesterol & triglycerides.
In one study those who consumed cider vinegar witnessed an average 13% decrease in total cholesterol while seeing a considerable decrease in triglycerides which is also a form of fat.
What’s impressive about this finding is the fact that all the participants were healthy with typical cholesterol levels. Such reductions may have the capacity to lower the chances of having a heart attack.
In another 12-week study, the participants who took apple cider vinegar had a remarkable level of raised high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol considered as “good cholesterol” due to its effect in lowering heart issues 
So apple cider vinegar may assist those who wrestle with high cholesterol levels.
3) Apple Cider Vinegar as a Weight Loss Aid
Drinking apple cider vinegar on its own may not miraculously allow you to attain your weight loss goals, but it can be part of the whole effort you make to reduce weight such as healthy diet and exercise.
In a 12-week study, Japanese adults with obesity were given either 1 tbsp (15 ml) of vinegar, 2 tbsp (30 ml) of vinegar or a placebo daily.
On average those who had 1 tbsp of vinegar lost 2.6 pounds (1.2 kg) and those who had 2 tbsp of vinegar per day lost 3.7 pounds (1.7 kg) and on the contrary, the placebo group had a gain of 0.9 lbs (0.4 kgs) along with a slightly increased waist.
It is recommended not to come into conclusions purely from these findings as they can be skewed since they were done on very small populations, but having 1 to 2 tbsps before meals may have beneficial effects in lowering body weight.
4) Apple Cider Vinegar and Cancer
Still, there is not enough research to back the claim that apple cider vinegar can aid as a cancer treatment.
One old study done in 1996, discovered that melanoma cells (a type of cancer) have a tendency to develop and spread more rapidly in fairly acidic environments . However, note this experiment has taken place in vitro rather than being tested on humans.
According to the American Institute for Cancer Research, the body can adjust its pH levels accordingly, and acidity or alkalinity of food that a person consumes have little influence , though some believe apple cider vinegar to be alkaline as it may raise urine pH due to its alkaline nutrients.
A 2014 study revealed that tumor cells discontinued when exposed to acetic acid. However, the study was done in a laboratory, and it’s challenging to expose a real tumor to acetic acid under normal circumstances.
Overall, there is not enough evidence to show that an alkaline environment can prevent cancer from developing and apple cider vinegar still cannot be considered an alternative for cancer treatment.
Any Side Effects of Apple Cider Vinegar?
- It is not recommended to drink apple cider vinegar in its raw form without diluting as it can harm your throat and food pipe while causing discomfort and inflammation
- It’s highly acidic and having too much of apple cider vinegar can ruin your tooth enamel, and cause an upset stomach
- Apple cider vinegar may also have an effect on your potassium levels to reduce which can be risky as your muscles and nerves require potassium to function
- It might also interfere with your current medications
How to Consume Apple Cider Vinegar (Dosage)?
Apple cider vinegar can be used as a marinade, to wash fruits and vegetables, for baking, salad dressings, sauces, soups, and as a preservative.
There’s quite a lot of acid in it, so drinking it raw or having too much of it is not advised.
Shake the apple cider vinegar bottle and then you can mix 1 or 2 tbsps to a 240ml cup of water (hot or cold) and stir it. You may then have it 20 minutes before a meal (advice drinking it through a straw to protect your teeth) for health benefits.
Please consult a doctor if you intend on starting an ACV regimen for health purposes
You can also mix apple cider vinegar with other liquids, such as fruit juice, tea, mocktails, smoothies, apple cider to have it with a different flavor.
When buying apple cider vinegar we recommend getting an unfiltered ACV brand with sediment settled on the bottom which is known as the “mother”. This includes healthy enzymes and probiotics.
Never assume apple cider vinegar to replace medical treatments prescribed by a doctor. Always talk with a healthcare professional if you’re thinking of using apple cider vinegar to treat any condition.
At the end of the day, you should still remember there can be some health benefits that can be expected to a certain degree but there are some which are not backed by enough evidence to prove. There can also be harmful effects of overuse.
But if you enjoy using it for cooking, or intend using it for its versatility while anticipating some health benefits, apple cider vinegar probably won’t hurt you, unless you experience any side effects.
Just don’t expect it to be a miracle cure!
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