Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple Cider Vinegar: Usage, Health Benefits & Side Effects

Apple cider vinegar is a common product in many pantries. It has a lot of uses, from cooking to cleaning.

Recently there has been a lot of hype around the medicinal properties of apple cider vinegar (ACV) with claims of its potency in dealing with health issues from weight loss to cancer.

If you’ve caught wind of the ACV hype, you’re probably wondering whether all the fantastic claims are true.

In this article we are going to look at all things apple cider vinegar from how it’s made, what are its nutritional properties, is it a beverage too, what are its side effects and it’s actual healing properties.

Let us bust the myths and give you the bottom line.


 

What is Apple Cider Vinegar?

The word vinegar is French for “sour wine”. Apple cider vinegar, much like sour wine, is made in a two-step fermentation process [1].

First, yeast cultures are introduced to sliced or crushed apples (apple cider). The yeast converts apple sugar to alcohol.

Second, bacteria are introduced to the alcohol to convert it to acetic acid which is the main component of vinegar.

The process is so simple you can do it at home. Commercially-made apple cider vinegar may contain the mother – bits of residue formed when the bacteria and alcohol mixed.

If the ACV is filtered post-manufacturing, it is clear and contains no residue or the mother. Unfiltered apple cider vinegar is raw or organic.

Organic apple cider vinegar is credited with possessing more healing properties than filtered ACV.

Apple Cider Vinegar is pretty useful in the kitchen. You have probably tasted it in your favorite salad dressing, marinade, vinaigrette, or chutneys.


 

How Does Apple Cider Vinegar Work?

The medicinal properties of apple cider vinegar have been harnessed for years. In the early centuries, apple cider vinegar was used to improve strength, to clean wounds, and as an antibiotic.

The trend has clearly circled back because you can now even find apple cider vinegar supplements in the market.

Apple cider vinegar has innate properties that allow it to tackle various health issues like weight loss, blood pressure regulation, diabetes management, supposedly even cancer.


 

Apple Cider Vinegar Health Benefits

Health Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is rich in minerals and enzymes that make it great for overall body wellness. We have already taken a peek at the science behind how apple cider vinegar works.

Let us check out the major and minor health and beauty benefits linked to apple cider vinegar.

  • Helps achieve weight loss
  • Helps control blood sugar levels
  • Assists with indigestion issues as well as heartburn
  • Quick remedy for sore throat
  • Kills bacteria that cause foot odor
  • Helps with bad breath.
  • Kills bacteria that cause armpit odor
  • Helps manage acne
  • Remedy for hiccups
  • Relieves mild sunburns and helps fade scars
  • Clears dandruff
  • Helps rejuvenate damaged hair

Let’s dissect them further.

1. Apple Cider Vinegar and Weight Loss

What the science says

Studies have linked apple cider vinegar with modest weight loss. High levels of acetic acid in apple cider vinegar prevent the deposition of fats along the abdomen and improve metabolism.

ACV also promotes satiety or feeling fuller after meals as acetic acid has also been linked to delayed gastric exit [2,3].

2. Apple Cider Vinegar for Diabetes

What the science says

Studies have also linked apple cider vinegar to blood sugar regulation in patients with type II diabetes and pre-diabetes [4].

ACV regulates blood sugar by blocking the absorption of carbs into the bloodstream.

3. Apple Cider Vinegar and Blood Pressure

What the science says

Blood pressure is controlled by a hormone known as renin. Renin is secreted by the kidneys and is responsible for the contraction and relaxation of blood vessels.

When the blood vessels contract, the blood pressure rises, and vice versa. Apple cider vinegar regulates the production of renin and helps keep the blood vessels relaxed for regulated blood pressure.

4. Apple Cider Vinegar and Cholesterol

What the science says

Apple cider vinegar is a natural antioxidant and reduces the absorption of LDL (bad cholesterol) in favor of HDL which is good cholesterol [5,6].

5. Apple Cider Vinegar and Digestion

What the science says

Optimum acid levels in the gut are essential for the proper digestion of food. Apple cider vinegar is rich in acetic acid which increases acid levels in the gut to ensure that all nutrients are absorbed.

This prevents their assimilation thus preventing digestive issues like bloating and gas reflux.

Apple cider vinegar is clearly beneficial for overall wellness and health. It can also be used as a remedy for a host of aesthetic purposes to boost your well-being, image, and self-esteem.

6. Apple Cider Vinegar for Hair

What the science says

ACV may help reduce hair damage. Its acidic properties help restore balance to the hair and the scalp. The natural pH for hair and the scalp is 5.5 or mildly acidic.

Shampoos and conditioners with basic pH may raise the scalp’s pH to above 5.5 rendering hair follicles unhealthy. Using some apple cider vinegar as a post-shampoo rinse will lead to healthier, shiny hair.

Apple cider vinegar’s anti-fungal properties may also help with dandruff. Its acidic pH is also a deterrent to pro-dandruff conditions.

7. Apple Cider Vinegar for Acne and Skin Toner

What the science says

Apple cider vinegar contains malic and lactic acids which are great for exfoliating while soothing the skin.

It is a great natural home-made remedy to use as a toner alongside your moisturizer as part of your beauty regimen.

Apple cider vinegar is also a good remedy for Acne since its antibacterial properties help keep the acne under control.

Still, on skin and beauty, apple cider vinegar has anti-inflammatory properties that reduce the appearance of marks from bruises.

8. Apple Cider Vinegar for Teeth Whitening

What the science says

A paste of apple cider vinegar mixed with baking soda can be used to clean teeth for a brighter shade of white [7].

If you have issues with bad breath, gargling apple cider vinegar might just help. Apple cider vinegar’s antibacterial properties kill the bacteria that cause bad breath.

I bet we can now crown apple cider vinegar king of the pantry.


 

Is Apple Cider Vinegar Safe?

Like many home remedies, apple cider vinegar is relatively safe with mild or no side effects. However, its high acidic composition might be of concern.

For starters, too much vinegar may corrode teeth enamel. There are no authoritative studies on how much apple cider vinegar one can safely take in a day yet.

Also, like with any other home remedies, people react differently to different things. Just to be safe, consult your doctor before use, especially if you have a pre-existing condition like diabetes or high blood pressure.

Remember, while apple cider vinegar can help manage some conditions, it does not replace your medication.


 

Apple Cider Vinegar Side Effects

Apple cider is natural and quite harmless but like anything else it may have a downside.

Given apple cider vinegar’s potent acid levels, caution should be taken while ingesting it or just using it for cleaning purposes.

Like with any other supplements, people may react differently to ACV. Below are some of the most common apple cider vinegar side effects to watch out for.

  • Corroded enamel- continuous use of concentrated apple cider vinegar may cause rotting teeth due to erosion of the enamel
  • Apple cider vinegar may also result in reduced potassium levels that may cause low calcium, weak bones, and fatigue.
  • Apple cider vinegar may also alter insulin levels for persons with diabetes resulting in low blood sugar.
  • It may exacerbate acid reflux and other indigestion issues.
  • Apple cider vinegar may corrode the skin if applied directly to it continuously while concentrated.

It seems like a lot but don’t you worry, these symptoms are only in very extreme cases. Apple cider vinegar in regulated doses will do no harm.


 

Usage and Dosing Consideration

While history and science both vouch for apple cider vinegar’s healing properties, there is no scientifically vetted dosage for ACV. There are many theories on ACV use but they all seem to agree on the dosage.

It is recommended that one take a maximum of 15-30ml of apple cider vinegar in a day. Start off with a mild dose, say a spoon a day.

Ensure that you are not experiencing any symptoms before increasing the dosage. The same goes if you intend to use ACV in your beauty regimen.

In such a case ensure it is dilute and spends the least amount of time possible on the skin. If you are taking apple cider vinegar supplements check the package for instructions and follow them accordingly.

The best and most enjoyable way to take apple cider vinegar is in your food. Let’s face it, it has that zing that takes you’re your food from bland to mind-blowing.

Here is how you can incorporate apple cider vinegar into your meals:

  • As salad dressing – ACV is rich in flavor and will zest up your leafy salad
  • As Marinade – Adding some apple cider vinegar to your marinade not only adds flavor, it also tenderizes your meal
  • As a probiotic cocktail – A mix of apple cider vinegar, water, and some strawberries is a gift on a hot summer day.

Organic or unfiltered apple cider vinegar contains stringy sediments of “the mother” which is believed to contain minerals and enzymes that enable ACV’s healing properties. When shopping, look for organic apple cider vinegar and shake well before use.


 

Risks and Precautions

We have already explored the risks or side effects that may result from the use of apple cider vinegar. The side effects are extreme and rarely occur but just to be safe there are a few tips you can follow to keep them at bay altogether.

Too much of anything is poison. Stick to the recommended 15-30ml of ACV per day. Start with 15ml and if you do not deem it necessary to raise the dosage, don’t do it.

Apple cider vinegar has a pretty high composition of acid. Acids are corrosive so if you are using ACV for beauty treatments that entail direct application to the skin, be certain to dilute it or follow its application with a thorough rinse.

If you have a pre-existing condition, say high blood pressure or diabetes, consult your doctor prior to taking apple cider vinegar and remember, it is not a substitute for prescribed medication.


 

FAQs

Can I drink apple cider vinegar every day?

Yes, as long as you stick to the recommended dose of 15-30ml maximum per day.

Can I take apple cider vinegar on an empty stomach?

Yes, it is recommended to take it on an empty stomach or at least 20 minutes before meals for maximum benefits.

What is the best time to drink apple cider vinegar?

Before taking any food, preferably in the morning, so it can aid in your digestion throughout the day.

How does apple cider vinegar detox the body?

By increasing circulation to the liver, the acid elements in ACV also bind to toxins. It also helps rid them from the body.

Is drinking apple cider vinegar good for your skin?

For benefits to the skin, it is best to dilute some apple cider vinegar before directly applying it to your skin.

Can apple cider vinegar hurt your kidneys?

No, in fact, it will help them function better.

Is apple cider vinegar good for arthritis?

There is no research supporting this theory yet.


 

Summary

Apple cider vinegar is more than just another item in your pantry, it has been a health and wellness remedy for centuries. While there is no refuting its medicinal properties, there is no scientific proof to back all the medical claims floating around the internet.

That said, there are no damaging side effects associated with taking apple cider vinegar. Should you decide to go into the apple cider vinegar diet be certain to consult your doctor especially if you have a pre-existing condition.

Do not get carried away and take more than the recommended 1-2 tablespoons per day. Most importantly, be vigilant. Observe and listen to your body by watching out for any side effects.

Like anything on the internet, take the hype with a healthy dose of skepticism. Manage your expectations because different things work differently for everyone.

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References

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24811350
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16015276
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16321601
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28292654
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16611381
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2837006/
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23373303

1 comment

  • For many years apple cider vinegar,thanks to its medicinal properties, has been used to cure many ailments in the body, used to drink daily a small dose to ward off diseases, purify the body, revitalize it, and remineralize it. Apple cider vinegar helps to cleanse and regenerate the body by its natural acidity. It contains more than thirty important nutrients, lots of vitamins, A and B, essential fatty acids, mineral salts, many enzymes, pectin, and a dozen minerals such as phosphorus, tannins, calcium, potassium, magnesium, sulfur, sodium, zinc, iron, fluoride, silicon, boron, etc. Taking it at night continuously is very beneficial for your health, and helps to balance the body’s overall metabolism. The beneficial effects will not be noticed instantly from taking it, but after a few weeks of their usual consumption. We will start by taking a low dose, and we will increase the intake as needed.