Is Apple Cider Vinegar the Answer to Your Health Woes?
Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) has become a very popular natural remedy for just about everything. There have been many claims that ACV can assist with weight loss, dandruff relief, acne treatments, digestion, and even diabetes! Is all of this too good to be true? Let’s explore the science together!
The main component of ACV is acetic acid, which many claim can have the following benefits:
Feeling of fullness
Destroying cancer cells
Decreasing blood sugar
Though studies have been conducted to test the benefits of ACV, no significant data has been found which backs up these claims. Most testing has been done on animals (primarily rats and mice), which have very different anatomy and physiology compared to humans.
For people with diabetes, consuming vinegar has been linked to reducing blood sugar levels. A study by the American Diabetes Association states that people with type 2 diabetes could benefit from having vinegar at night, making their blood sugar levels better in the morning (2). The acetic acid blocks starch from being absorbed, therefore not allowing blood sugar levels to significantly increase.
Another study found that, after 8 weeks of consuming ACV twice a day, people with high cholesterol had substantial decrease in total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol levels (3). However, no impact was found on healthy individuals who did not already have increased levels of cholesterol.
ACV has been found to have antimicrobial properties, making it helpful for immunocompromised patients who suffer from infections due to microbes (1). However, this is only the case when it is used alongside other methods of treatment.
ACV is definitely not a magic weight loss drink. Findings show that only minimal weight loss is achieved if consuming ACV consistently (4). The reason weight loss can occur is due to the acetic acid which can block starch from being absorbed. At the end of the day, having a balanced diet, being active, and managing stress are the key elements of a healthy lifestyle!
Taking ‘health shots’ of ACV has become increasingly popular. Due to its acidic properties, consuming ACV by itself can result in gastrointestinal upset. If you are planning to incorporate ACV as a 'health shot', make sure to dilute it with water. If not, it can cause damage to your throat as well as to your stomach. It is also important to talk to your doctor before deciding to incorporate ACV regularly into your diet because it can interact with medications you may be taking.
Further testing and studies need to be performed before any assumptions on ACV’s benefits can be confirmed. However, apple cider vinegar can be a part of a healthy, balanced lifestyle when consumed in moderation such as in salad dressing, as an egg substitute, or as part of a recipe.
Still have questions about apple cider vinegar or another health trend? Be sure to make an appointment with Alex or Stephanie!
Antimicrobial activity of apple cider vinegar against Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus and Candida albicans (Yagnik, D., Serafin, V., Shah, A., 2018)
American Diabetes Association – Vinegar Ingestion at Bedtime Moderates Waking Glucose Concentrations in Adults with Well-Controlled Type 2 Diabetes (White, A., and Johnston, C., 2007)
Influence of apple cider vinegar on blood lipids (Chan, Y., Nazari, R., Nia, H., 2012)
Can apple cider vinegar help with weight loss? (CNN, LaMotte, S., 2017)