In today’s climate of false promises and endless hyperbole, apple cider vinegar (ACV) seems like it could be yet another overhyped home remedy. But as you’ll soon discover, that’s not necessarily the case. While not the miracle cure your friend or relative might say it is, this sour-tasting drink does indeed deliver a slew of potential health benefits.
Before you start guzzling apple cider vinegar by the gallon, however, let’s explore its reported benefits in greater detail. We’ll also dive into things like recommended dosages and potential side effects. Consider this your beginner’s guide to all things apple cider vinegar.
What is Apple Cider Vinegar?
When you crush apples and add yeast, you’ve kicked off a process known as fermentation, which converts the juice into alcohol. With the addition of bacteria, the alcohol turns into acetic acid, i.e. the same organic compound that gives vinegar a sour taste and smell. Voila! You’ve just made apple cider vinegar. Well, not you, but someone who knows what they’re doing just did.
Amongst health-conscious individuals, the most popular variety of apple cider vinegar is Bragg Organic with the ‘Mother.’ And what is the ‘mother?’ It’s a cloud of yeast and bacteria, which tends to sink toward the bottom of unfermented apple cider vinegar until you shake the bottle.
Health Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar
As you may or may not be aware, apple cider vinegar has been used as a home remedy and preservative for centuries. However, it’s only as of late that scientists and researchers have begun to study claims that apple cider vinegar can do everything from cure sore throats to reduce varicose veins.
In the meantime, here’s a list of 5 proven health benefits of apple cider vinegar:
1. Apple Cider Vinegar is High in Healthful Substances
Both regular vinegar and apple cider vinegar consist of acetic acid bacteria. According to some researchers, this probiotic delivers a boost to the digestive system, amongst other things. The science is still being worked out, but most people agree that acetic acid is at the very least a healthy substance.
Then we have organic unfiltered apple cider vinegar with the ‘mother.’ As you’ll recall, the ‘mother’ gives off a cloudy appearance and consists of both acetic acid bacteria and yeast. It also contains protein strands and enzymes. A number of researchers suggest that the ‘mother’ is the true source of apple cider vinegar’s reported health benefits (though again, there’s no hard science to back up these claims).
Apple cider vinegar also contains minor amounts of potassium, while higher-quality brands include a few amino acids and antioxidants. All of these things are known to be healthy.
2. Apple Cider Vinegar May Help Kill Harmful Bacteria
For centuries, people have been using vinegar as a cleaner and disinfectant, to treat things such as lice, warts, wounds, and ear infections. As it turns out, apple cider vinegar might be just as beneficial for your insides, helping to stop pathogens and harmful bacteria from multiplying. It’s a claim that’s still under review so don’t put away the cough medicine or antibiotics just yet (or ever).
Along similar lines, vinegar is often used as a food preservative, which can prevent the growth of harmful bacteria such as E.coli. Hence, if you’re hoping to prolong the life of certain foods, it might be time to bring in the apple cider vinegar!
3. Apple Cider Vinegar May Help Lower Blood Sugar Levels and Manage Diabetes
It might sound like a false promise, but some studies have shown that apple cider vinegar helps manage blood sugar and insulin levels. In a very small study of 5 people, vinegar decreased blood sugar levels by up to 31.4% after each subject consumed 50g of white bread. Other small studies have yielded similar results.
This is all potentially great news for those who suffer from type 2 diabetes, which is when the body’s inability to produce insulin causes spikes in blood sugar levels. Even if you don’t have diabetes, however, you can still drink apple cider vinegar as a way to (theoretically) keep your blood sugar level in a normal range.
Naturally, you should also cut back on refined sugars, which are correlated with not just high blood sugar levels, but weight gain, aging, and certain chronic diseases. Heck, maybe it’s even time to go keto!
Just a reminder: the correlation between apple cider vinegar and blood sugar is not a proven fact. Should you have type 2 diabetes or a similar ailment, do not take apple cider vinegar in lieu of your regular medication.
4. Apple Cider Vinegar May Aid with Weight Loss
Not only does apple cider vinegar deliver just a few calories per tablespoon, but it can leave you feeling surprisingly full. In turn, you’re more likely to eat less food and drop more weight. During one study, 175 people with obesity lost minor amounts of weight over the course of 3 months when supplementing with apple cider vinegar.
Meanwhile, acetic acid bacteria are presumed to aid with digestion. That’s not to mention apple cider vinegar’s supposed ability to help with blood sugar and insulin levels. All of these factors can potentially contribute to weight loss and a healthy lifestyle, in general.
5. Apple Cider Vinegar May Boost Skin Health
If you’re suffering from dry skin, eczema, or acne, apple cider vinegar might be able to help. Use it as a topical aid and you could potentially rebalance the natural pH of your skin, strengthening the skin’s protective layers.
Bolstered by its naturally acidic and antimicrobial properties, apple cider vinegar might also be able to help prevent infections. Full disclosure: none of this is backed by hard science.
While some people do indeed put diluted apple cider vinegar into their face wash and toner, it hasn’t been proven to kill bacteria or ward off blemishes. During one study, apple cider vinegar didn’t just fail to improve the skin barrier but actually caused additional irritation amongst 22 people suffering from eczema.
To say the least, your mileage may vary when exploring this potential health benefit of apple cider vinegar. Those with persistent skin conditions are advised to consult with a medical professional before whipping out the Bragg.
Apple Cider Vinegar Dosage and How to Use It
Despite its reported health benefits, apple cider vinegar doesn’t exactly taste good. In fact, some might say it tastes downright nasty. Your best bet is to use it in cooking or when making things like salad dressing.
Should you want to drink apple cider vinegar straight, dilute it in water first and start with small doses. Most people stick with Bragg Organic Apple Cider Vinegar and start with about 1-2 teaspoons, eventually working their way up to about 1-2 tablespoons.
Some people drink 1-2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar per day and others only drink it on occasion. No matter when or how you drink it, try to divide your overall intake into smaller doses, consuming each one before meals.
Risks and Side Effects of Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is high in acidity and that means it can erode tooth enamel, hurt your throat, or upset your stomach when consumed in excess. For that reason alone, you should never go beyond the recommended dosages.
Also, remember that the health benefits of apple cider vinegar are still under review. Until hard evidence comes in, don’t believe that apple cider vinegar is the miracle cure that others purport it to be. What’s important is that you take things one step at a time and see what works for you. Should you have a serious ailment or condition, always talk to a doctor first.
Here are some other risks to bear in mind:
- Apple cider vinegar can sometimes lead to a drop in potassium levels, causing potential harm to your muscles and nerves.
- One study concluded that apple cider vinegar slowed the rate of digestion amongst people suffering from type 1 diabetes, making it harder for those people to control their blood sugar levels.
- Apple cider vinegar can potentially hinder the effectiveness of other medications, including diabetes drugs, heart medications, diuretics, and laxatives.
7 Best Apple Cider Vinegars to Buy
1. Bragg Apple Cider Vinegar
The Bragg apple cider vinegar is one of the most recognisable brands on the market. This apple cider vinegar is 5 per cent acidic, organically manufacturer, unfiltered, unheated and unpasteurised, preserving all its natural goodness.
2. Vermont Village Organic Apple Cider Vinegar
The Vermont Village organic apple cider vinegar comes in a glass bottle is easy to store. It has a salty and harsh taste, so make sure you are ready.
3. Kevala Apple Cider Vinegar
The Kevala apple cider vinegar is a great budget pick. With a far less harsh taste than the Bragg, this one is a little easier on the throat, however, still has the strong characteristics of ACV. It is also raw, unfiltered and unpasteurised.
4. Dynamic Health Apple Cider Vinegar Organic with Mother
This apple cider vinegar from Dynamic Heath comes in a massive 32 fl. oz. bottles so it’s great to keep in the cupboard and use as you need. It tastes good and is far less sharp than some products available in the market.
5. Rawseed Organic Apple Cider Vinegar
The Rawseed apple cider vinegar is made organically and it is unfiltered and unpasteurized. Moreover, it is kosher certified as well as gluten-free.
6. Trader Joe’s Organic Pasteurized Unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar
This 16 oz. apple cider vinegar from Trader Joe’s comes in glass bottles, ao you know it’s good. The unpasteurized product has a sharp taste and smell, so be prepared.
7. Spectrum Naturals Organic Apple Cider Vinegar
This unfiltered and unpasteurized apple cider vinegar from Spectrum Natural is a 95 per cent organic product that maintains that beautiful, salty, raw taste. Delicious!
Can I drink apple cider vinegar everyday?
If you stick to the recommended dosages of 1-2 tablespoons or less, you can theoretically drink apple cider vinegar every day. However, be advised that there's no hard science to support a number of its reported health benefits. Furthermore, drinking too much apple cider vinegar can erode tooth enamel and lower potassium levels, amongst other things.
What is apple cider vinegar good for?
Apple cider vinegar has been used for centuries as a preservative, weight loss supplement, and digestive aid. It's also been used to fight harmful bacteria and manage blood sugar levels. However, a number of these claims are not currently supported by hard science.
What are the side effects of drinking apple cider vinegar everyday?
If you exceed the recommended daily dosage of apple cider vinegar, you might experience the following side effects: eroded tooth enamel, lower potassium levels, upset stomach, burning in the throat and esophagus, and more. It has also been reported that apple cider vinegar can hinder the effectiveness of certain medications.
When should you drink apple cider vinegar?
If you're going to drink apple cider daily, you can spread out the recommended dosage of 1-2 tablespoons throughout the course of the day. Try to take each respective dose before meals and right before you go to bed.