There is a lot of information out there about the benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar, some of which is substantiated and some of which is not. So I decided to do a little research to clear up any confusion.
Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) is prepared by pulverizing apples into a slurry of juice and pulp. Yeast and sugars are added to the slurry to begin the fermentation process. Yeast converts the sugars into alcohol, which is then oxidized by the Acetobacter species of bacteria to acetic acid. The sour taste of apple cider vinegar is from the acetic acid content, which also creates the acidity.
While there have been some pretty lofty claims about all the amazing things ACV can do for your health, I’ve narrowed down the list to a few that seem to be supported by some research.
There have been several studies on the role ACV can play in helping to control diabetes. One study on individuals with Type 2 Diabetes showed a 25% improvement in glucose levels in the ACV group. Another study showed that taking two tablespoons of ACV before bed lowered glucose levels in the morning by 4 to 6 percent. The theory is that the acetic acid in ACV inhibits carbohydrate digesting enzymes, thus slowing the release of glucose into the bloodstream. While these studies are promising, they were done on fairly small groups and further research should be done to confirm these results.
Apple Cider Vinegar contains pectin, which is a soluble fiber. In theory the pectin can help lower LDL cholesterol by binding to the cholesterol and eliminating it from the body. There have been a few animal studies showing a decrease in cholesterol and blood pressure, but to my knowledge there are no human studies to substantiate this effect.
There have been several studies indicating that ACV may be helpful in weight loss. There are multiple reasons why. The pectin in ACV is a soluble fiber and may increase a feeling of fullness. Also, the fact that the acetic acid in ACV slows the release of glucose and helps to stabilize blood sugar levels, may help people avoid the drop in blood sugar that leads to sugar and carbohydrate cravings. There is also some data that indicates that the acetic acid may actually turn on a gene that is capable of breaking down fat in the body.
ACV is a popular alternative remedy for inflammation associated with conditions such as arthritis, sinusitis, allergies, acid reflux, and digestive distress. There aren’t any specific studies that I could find related to this, but it most likely is associated with ACV’s antioxidant properties which can provide protection against the damaging effects of free radicals in the body.
One area where Apple Cider Vinegar has shown promising results is skin care. Vinegar has long been known to promote blood circulation. Applying ACV topically can help to tone the skin and promote a natural glow. ACV is also a natural antiseptic, which makes it a great natural remedy for bug bites. According to the Mayo clinic, ACV may also be helpful in controlling nail fungus.
It’s important to note that if you are on any medication for a particular medical condition, check with your practitioner before adding ACV to your regimen. There are some potential interactions you’ll want to be aware of, particularly if you have low potassium or are taking potassium lowering medications.
It’s also important to make sure you buy organic, unfiltered, unprocessed Apple Cider Vinegar. The processed, filtered version looks clearer, but it is not nearly as effective. Also remember that ACV is acidic, so always dilute it before drinking.
So, Apple Cider Vinegar is a pretty interesting natural remedy for several different conditions. I’ve tried to point out a few that had some studies associated with them. That being said, there are reports of the healing properties of apple cider vinegar dating as far back as 3300 BC. In 400 BC, Hippocrates used apple cider vinegar as a healing elixir, an antibiotic, and for general health. Samurai warriors purportedly used a vinegar tonic for strength and power while U.S. Civil War soldiers used a vinegar solution to prevent gastric upset and as a treatment for pneumonia and scurvy.
Let us know if you’ve found any other helpful uses of Apple Cider Vinegar.
Michael Lenz RPh, is a partner in Fallon Wellness Pharmacy of Saratoga. He has over 10 years experience in custom compounding. Michael has received extensive training in Bio-identical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT) and Adrenal Fatigue. He is an advocate for healthy eating and proper nutritional supplementation, and speaks frequently on the subjects of hormone health, nutrition and wellness. Michael is currently enrolled in the Institute For Functional Medicine’s Certified Functional Medicine Practitioner Program. He lives in Saratoga Springs, NY with his wife and 4 children.