You’ve probably heard of apple cider vinegar and its health benefits before.
It’s one of the most popular traditional folk remedies in the world.
However, while some of the benefits of apple cider vinegar are exaggerated, it’s actually a quite healthy ingredient.
From improved blood sugar levels to faster weight loss, here we have 10 science-backed benefits of apple cider vinegar.
About Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is the most used type of vinegar for health purposes.
It’s made from fermented apple juice and offers a variety of benefits, some of which are backed by science.
These benefits include:
- Faster weight loss
- Reduced cholesterol
- Balanced blood sugar levels
- Enhanced nutrient absorption
It’s definitely not a panacea for all health problems like some claim it to be, but it can provide you with some unique benefits.
Before going more in-depth about benefits though, let’s quickly look at how apple cider vinegar is made.
How It’s Made
Making apple cider vinegar is a fairly straightforward process.
The first step is to crush apples then squeeze the juice from them.
After this, you add bacteria and yeast to the juice which starts the fermentation process.
During fermentation, these microorganisms slowly turn the sugar from apple juice into alcohol.
In the last step of the fermentation, the acetic acid-forming bacteria turn this alcohol into vinegar as we know it.
- Key point: Apple cider vinegar is made by fermenting apple sugar into alcohol. This alcohol later turns into acetic acid, which is the active compound of apple cider vinegar.
Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar
Okay, now that we know a little bit about apple cider vinegar and how it’s made, let’s look at the key benefits it offers.
Helps You Lose Weight
This is possibly the most popular benefit of apple cider vinegar.
Research shows that apple cider vinegar can increase your feelings of fullness, which makes you eat fewer calories.
A person that takes vinegar with a high-carb meal is likely to eat around 250 fewer calories over the course of that day. (1, 2)
A study with 175 obese people showed that those who consumed apple cider vinegar every day experienced weight loss and reduced belly fat. (3)
What’s more, the amount of weight they lost was directly proportional to how much apple cider vinegar they took, up to a certain point after which there were no additional benefits of consuming more apple cider vinegar (in fact, too much of it can be harmful to your health):
- 1 tablespoon of ACV: 1.2kg (2.6lbs) lost
- 2 tablespoons of ACV: 1.7kg (3.7lbs) lost
This study lasted for only 3 months, so it’s unrealistic to expect much bigger numbers. We’d like to see longer studies to determine if long-term consumption would lead to even bigger changes on the weight scale.
With that said, you should understand that apple cider vinegar is just one ingredient in your entire diet and lifestyle.
On its own, it’s unlikely to have any significant impact on your weight loss.
Make sure to accompany apple cider vinegar with an overall clean diet and regular exercise regimen for best results.
Apple cider vinegar can fight harmful bacteria like E. coli. (4, 5, 6)
From cleaning and disinfecting, people often use vinegar to treat skin infections, nail fungus, lice, and even ear infections.
- The father of modern medicine – Hippocrates – used vinegar to disinfect wounds.
As I said, vinegar can even prevent E. coli from spreading and spoiling food. (4, 5, 6)
If you’re looking for a natural and healthy way to preserve your food, vinegar could help.
Some anecdotal reports say how apple cider vinegar helps you against skin conditions such as acne, however, there’s a lack of clinical evidence to prove this benefit.
Improves Your Digestion
According to Dr. Berg, apple cider vinegar can greatly improve your digestion and food absorption. (7)
See, there are a number of enzymes that lie dormant in your stomach, pancreas, and other organs.
Acid such as vinegar is one of the things that activate these enzymes to help you break down proteins.
As a result, you’re able to digest food faster.
How many times have you felt bloated after eating food?
Certain types of foods are hard to digest, which makes them ferment in your stomach, causing gas and bloating. That’s the last thing we want, right?
Well, apple cider vinegar helps your body break down these foods for faster absorption, resulting in complete digestion. (7)
Regulates Blood Sugar
Perhaps the biggest health benefit of apple cider vinegar is its ability to improve your blood sugar levels and insulin sensitivity.
Patients with type 2 diabetes, in particular, seem to benefit from vinegar the most.
Type 2 diabetes is directly linked with high blood sugar levels. That’s either due to the body’s inability to produce insulin or due to insulin resistance which makes your cells unable to absorb glucose. (8)
- However, high blood sugar isn’t only an issue for people with type 2 diabetes. Having high glucose spikes often links to aging and many modern diseases.
If you’re looking to maintain optimal health, then keeping your blood sugar levels under control is critical.
One way to do it is to avoid refined carbs which spike blood sugar levels.
But you can also take apple cider vinegar.
Apple cider vinegar helps your body absorb the sugar from food, along with improving insulin sensitivity. (9)
Studies show that apple cider vinegar helps (10, 11):
- Significantly lower insulin and blood sugar responses after a high-carb meal
- Improve insulin sensitivity by 19-34% after eating high carb food
- Reduce fasting blood sugar
- Reduce blood sugar spike by 34% after consuming 50g of white bread
However, if you take any blood sugar-lowering medication, talk to your doctor before increasing your vinegar intake.
Improves Heart Health
Heart disease is the leading cause of premature death in the world. (12)
There are several “risk factors” that influence whether a person develops heart disease or not, these include:
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol & triglyceride levels
Apple cider vinegar is shown to reduce cholesterol and triglyceride levels in animal studies. (13, 14, 15)
Other studies show that apple cider vinegar can also reduce high blood pressure, which is another major risk factor of heart disease and kidney issues. (16, 17)
One human study showed that women who consumed apple cider vinegar with their salads had a lower risk of cardiovascular disease. (18)
There’s more human research needed to confirm these benefits, but so far, the evidence looks promising.
May Help Fight Cancer Cells
Cancer is a terrible disease characterized by abnormal cell growth.
As it turns out, vinegar has gained a lot of popularity for its anti-cancer effects.
While animal and test tube research confirms this, there’s a lack of human evidence to say for sure how effective vinegar is against cancer.
One study from China found that vinegar helped reduced esophageal cancer, but another study from Serbia showed it increased the risk of bladder cancer. (19, 20)
So while it’s possible that vinegar has anti-cancer effects, we’ll need to wait for more research to confirm these benefits.
Improves Absorption of Minerals & Vitamins
Minerals such as magnesium, calcium, and iron are best absorbed in an acidic environment. If your stomach has a pH that pushes towards alkaline, you’ll have a tough time absorbing these minerals.
Vitamins B12, C, and K also require acid to be properly absorbed. (7)
Improves Bile Production
As I’ve repeated, apple cider vinegar helps stimulate your body’s enzymes for food absorption. However, it also improves bile production.
See, your liver needs a certain amount of acid to create bile, which it then releases to your gallbladder. Consuming apple cider vinegar can help trigger this process – helping to release the bile that’s concentrated in the liver. This ultimately leads to less bloating. (7)
Helps Your Body Break Down Proteins
Your body breaks down proteins into amino acids with the help of certain enzymes. Acids such as apple cider vinegar help to activate these enzymes. (7)
Apple Cider Vinegar Dosage
Apple cider vinegar has so many potential uses. As a result, you’d be forgiven for not knowing how much apple cider vinegar to take per day.
This section of the article helps you answer that question. Here we show you the dosage of apple cider vinegar for different purposes and health benefits.
The optimal apple cider vinegar dosage for digestion is:
- 15-30ml (1-2 tablespoons) with a glass of water before each meal
Preferably you should take it immediately before eating your meals. This will stimulate the digestive enzymes that will help you break down proteins from food.
For Weight Loss
So far, studies point that drinking 1-2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar daily may help you lose weight and belly fat. (3)
For Blood Sugar Support
To reduce blood sugar spikes from a high-carb meal, experts recommend taking 20ml (4 teaspoons) of apple cider vinegar before eating the meal.
For General Health Purposes
Another reason why you may want to take apple cider vinegar is for general wellness. This includes reducing the chance of heart disease, cancer, or another health issue.
However, there’s not enough human evidence to confirm these benefits of apple cider vinegar, and as a result, there’s no recommended dosage for “general health” purposes.
How You Can Avoid Side Effects of Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is generally considered as healthy and safe to use. But some people can experience side effects.
Here are some key points on how to avoid the side effects of apple cider vinegar:
- Don’t mix it with anything that could neutralize its acidity, as that’s where most of its benefits come from (21)
- Rinse your mouth with water every time after drinking apple cider vinegar. Or drink it through the straw. That’s because constant exposure to vinegar can damage your tooth enamel. (22)
- The dose makes the poison. Even healthy ingredients like apple cider vinegar are harmful in large amounts (237ml per day for years), potentially leading to osteoporosis and low potassium. (23)
- If you experience any gastrointestinal side effects from apple cider vinegar, talk to your doctor before consuming it again
While apple cider vinegar is not a miracle cure-all, it definitely offers some powerful health benefits. Especially those related to your digestive system.
Benefits of apple cider vinegar include:
- Improves digestion and absorption of foods
- Reduces blood sugar and insulin spikes
- Enhances gut health
- Help you maintain a healthy body weight
- Stimulates digestive enzymes
You can drink apple cider vinegar, take it in tablets, or consume it with your salad. 1-2 tablespoons diluted in a glass of water before each meal seems like the optimal dosage for improved digestion, fat loss, and nutrient absorption.
As long as you don’t overdo it, apple cider vinegar is safe to take and may even enhance your overall wellness.
Vinegar supplementation lowers glucose and insulin responses and increases satiety after a bread meal in healthy subjects. (source)
Vinegar and peanut products as complementary foods to reduce postprandial glycemia. (source)
Vinegar intake reduces body weight, body fat mass, and serum triglyceride levels in obese Japanese subjects. (source)
Antimicrobial activity of apple cider vinegar against Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus and Candida albicans; downregulating cytokine and microbial protein expression. (source)
Antimicrobial effects of vinegar against norovirus and Escherichia coli in the traditional Korean vinegared green laver (Enteromorpha intestinalis) salad during refrigerated storage. (source)
Antibacterial action of vinegar against food-borne pathogenic bacteria including Escherichia coli O157: H7. (source)
The 9 benefits of apple cider vinegar. (source)
Effect of diet on type 2 diabetes mellitus: A review. (source)
Vinegar consumption can attenuate postprandial glucose and insulin responses; a systematic review and meta-analysis of clinical trials. (source)
Vinegar Improves Insulin Sensitivity to a High-Carbohydrate Meal in Subjects With Insulin Resistance or Type 2 Diabetes. (source)
Vinegar Ingestion at Bedtime Moderates Waking Glucose Concentrations in Adults With Well-Controlled Type 2 Diabetes. (source)
The top 10 causes of death. (source)
Dietary acetic acid reduces serum cholesterol and triacylglycerols in rats fed a cholesterol-rich diet. (source)
Acute effects of vinegar intake on some biochemical risk factors of atherosclerosis in hypercholesterolemic rabbits. (source)
Apple Cider Vinegar Attenuates Oxidative Stress and Reduces the Risk of Obesity in High-Fat-Fed Male Wistar Rats. (source)
Vinegar decreases blood pressure by down-regulating AT1R expression via the AMPK/PGC-1α/PPARγ pathway in spontaneously hypertensive rats. (source)
Antihypertensive effects of acetic acid and vinegar on spontaneously hypertensive rats. (source)
Dietary intake of alpha-linolenic acid and risk of fatal ischemic heart disease among women. (source)
Risk factors for oesophageal cancer in Linzhou, China: a case-control study. (source)
Non-occupational risk factors for bladder cancer: a case-control study. (source)
Effect of neutralized and native vinegar on blood glucose and acetate responses to a mixed meal in healthy subjects. (source)
[Unhealthy weight loss. Erosion by apple cider vinegar]. (source)
Hypokalemia, hyperreninemia and osteoporosis in a patient ingesting large amounts of cider vinegar. (source)