Apple cider vinegar is a common home remedy. Many have used it for centuries in cooking and medicine. Some claim it can relieve many health complaints but are you wondering if these claims are science-backed? Here we will go over the 6 health benefits of apple cider vinegar and back the claims with scientific study results.
Some of the apple cider vinegar’s healthful properties include antimicrobial and antioxidant effects. Moreover, evidence suggests it has health benefits, such as:
- reducing cholesterol
- lowering blood sugar levels
- improving diabetes symptoms
- aiding weight loss
However, further studies are needed before recommending it as an alternative therapy.
The Evidence-Backed 6 Health Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar
1. High in Healthful Substances:
Apple cider vinegar is produced via a two-step process.
The First Process:
Crushed apples are exposed to yeast, fermenting the sugars and turning them into alcohol.
The Second Process:
Adding bacteria further ferment the alcohol and turning it into acetic acid. Acetic acid is the main active compound in vinegar which gives vinegar its strong sour smell and flavor.
Many researchers believe this acid is responsible for apple cider vinegar’s health benefits. Cider vinegar is 5–6% acetic acid.
Furthermore, unfiltered, organic apple cider vinegar contains a substance called mother. Apple cider vinegar “mother” consists of enzymes, friendly bacteria, and strands of proteins which give the product a murky appearance.
Many believe that the mother is the reason for most of its health benefits, although no studies support this.
Although it does not contain many vitamins or minerals, Apple cider vinegar provides a small amount of potassium. High-quality brands also contain amino acids and antioxidants.
Apple cider vinegar is made by fermenting the sugar from apples which turns them into acetic acid, the main ingredient in vinegar and may be responsible for its health benefits.
2. It May Help Kill Harmful Bacteria.
Vinegar may help kill pathogens, including bacteria. The traditional use of vinegar is the cleaning and disinfecting, treating nail fungus, lice, warts, and ear infections.
The father of modern medicine, Hippocrates, used vinegar to clean wounds more than 2,000 years ago.
Additionally, vinegar is a food preservative. Studies show that it inhibits bacteria like E. coli from growing in and spoiling food. Apple cider vinegar is a great food preservative.
Anecdotal reports also suggest that diluted apple cider vinegar could help with acne when applied to the skin, but there doesn’t seem to be any substantial research to confirm this.
The primary substance in vinegar is acetic acid which prevents harmful bacteria from multiplying, killing them. It also has a history of use as a disinfectant and natural preservative.
3. It helps lower blood sugar levels
Currently, the most effective application of vinegar is treating type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is the elevation of blood sugar levels caused by the inability to produce insulin or insulin resistance.
However, if you don’t have diabetes, you can also benefit from keeping your blood sugar levels in the normal range. Researchers believe that elevated blood sugar levels are a significant cause of various chronic diseases and aging.
The healthiest and effective way to regulate blood sugar levels is avoiding refined carbs and sugar, but apple cider vinegar may also help.
Research reveals that vinegar offers the following benefits for blood sugar and insulin levels:
- One study suggests vinegar may improve insulin sensitivity by 19–34% during a high-carb meal and significantly lower blood sugar and insulin response.
- A study of 5 healthy individuals shows that vinegar decreases blood sugar by 31.4% after consuming 50 grams of white bread.
- Another study of people with diabetes reported that consuming two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar before bedtime helped reduce fasting blood sugar by 4% the following morning.
- Other studies show that vinegar can improve insulin function and lower blood sugar levels after meals.
The National Centers for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) warns that you must not replace medical treatment with unproven health products.
If you are taking blood-sugar-lowering medications, talk with your doctor before increasing your intake of any vinegar.
Apple cider vinegar has also shown great promise in helping lower blood sugar responses after meals and improving insulin sensitivity.
4. It May Aid In Weight Loss
Surprisingly, studies show that vinegar may help people lose weight. Several studies show that vinegar increases the feelings of fullness, leading to eating fewer calories and losing weight.
According to one study, if you take vinegar along with a high-carb meal, you will feel increased feelings of fullness, causing participants to eat 200–275 fewer calories throughout the day.
Additionally, a study in 175 obese individuals showed that daily apple cider vinegar consumption led to reduced belly fat and weight loss:
- taking one tablespoon (15 mL) led to a loss of 2.6 pounds (1.2 kg)
- taking two tablespoons (30 mL) led to a loss of 3.7 pounds (1.7 kg)
However, the study continued for three months, so the actual effects on body weight seem to be relatively modest.
However, if you add or subtract single foods or ingredients, it rarely has a noticeable effect on weight. Long-term weight loss is created by adopting a comprehensive diet and lifestyle habits.
Overall, studies showed that apple cider vinegar might contribute to weight loss by promoting satiety, lowering blood sugar, and reducing insulin levels.
Notably, apple cider vinegar only contains about three calories per tablespoon, which is very low. And studies suggest that vinegar can increase feelings of fullness and help you eat fewer calories, leading to weight loss.
5. It Improves Heart Health in Animals
Heart disease is one of the leading causes of death. Various biological factors could be linked to your risk for heart disease.
Research suggests that vinegar improves several of these risk factors. However, research conducted many on animals. Animal studies reveal that apple cider vinegar can lower triglyceride levels, cholesterol, and other heart disease risk factors.
Additionally, some studies in rats have shown that vinegar reduces blood pressure, which is a significant risk factor for kidney problems and heart disease.
However, there is no clear evidence that vinegar benefits humans heart health. We need to see more studies and additional research to reach firm conclusions.
Several animal studies have shown that vinegar reduces blood triglycerides, cholesterol, and blood pressure. However, there is no substantial evidence that it leads to a reduced risk of heart disease in humans.
6. It May Boost Skin Health
Apple cider vinegar is a well-known remedy for skin conditions like eczema and dry skin.
Since the skin is naturally slightly acidic, using topical apple cider vinegar could help rebalance the skin’s natural pH and improve the protective skin barrier. Nonetheless, alkaline soaps and cleansers could irritate eczema, worsening symptoms.
Apple cider vinegar could help prevent skin infections linked to eczema and other skin conditions with its antibacterial properties.
Some use diluted apple cider vinegar in a face wash or toner. The reason is that it can kill bacteria and prevent spots.
But, one study in 22 people with eczema reported that apple cider vinegar soaks did not improve the skin barrier and may have caused skin irritation.
Talk with your health care provider before trying any new remedies, especially on damaged skin. Also, avoid applying undiluted vinegar to the skin, as it may cause burns.
Since apple cider vinegar is naturally acidic, it has antimicrobial properties. Hence, it helps improve the skin barrier and prevent infections. However, further studies may be needed to confirm its safety and effectiveness.
Dosage and Usage of Apple Cider Vinegar
One of the best ways to incorporate apple cider vinegar in your diet is in cooking. You can easily add it to homemade mayonnaise and salad dressings.
Some people dilute it in water and drink it as a beverage. Daily dosages are one to two teaspoons (5–10 mL) to one to two tablespoons (15–30 mL) mixed in a large glass of water.
So, start with small doses and avoid taking large amounts.
Keep in mind, Too much vinegar can cause harmful side effects, including tooth enamel erosion and potential drug interactions.
Dietitians recommend using unfiltered, organic apple cider vinegar with “mother.”
A standard dosage for apple cider vinegar ranges from one teaspoon to two tablespoons (10–30 mL) daily, either used in cooking or mixed in a glass of water.
Final Take on Apple Cider Vinegar
Natural healthcare proponents claim that apple cider vinegar has remarkable health benefits, including boosting energy and treating disease. Unfortunately, there is limited research to support some claims about its health benefits.
However, some studies suggest it may offer benefits, including killing bacteria, lowering blood sugar levels, and promoting weight loss.
Apple cider vinegar appears to be safe if you don’t consume excessive amounts of it. It also provides many other non-health-related uses, including a natural hair conditioner, skincare product, and cleaning agent.