Currently, apple cider vinegar (ACV) is praised in many places as a panacea. The health benefits of apple cider vinegar range from removing skin and hair impurities and relieving abdominal cramps and flatulence to the fight against the flu.
However, apple cider vinegar does not cure everything. If used wisely, the household remedy can have various positive health effects.
What Is Apple Cider Vinegar?
Already 7000 years ago, the Babylonians are said to have discovered this household remedy and its effects.
Moreover, Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, used the anti-inflammatory apple cider vinegar to clean wounds (Johnston et al. 20061).
So, where do the praised health benefits of apple cider vinegar come from?
The primary active ingredient produced during the two-stage fermentation process is the key to the health benefits of apple cider vinegar.
First, bacteria and yeast break down the sugar into alcohol. Secondly, acetobacter causes ethanol oxidation to acetic acid through a lengthy process.
Acetic acid distinguishes apple cider vinegar by giving it a sharp, sour taste and can leave a cloudy, “cobweb-like” substance at the bottom of the glass – the so-called mother.
Apple Cider Vinegar vs. White Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is fermented from the juice of apples.
It differs from other vinegar because fermentation produces beneficial enzymes, acetic acid, and other acids with amazing health-promoting properties.
While other types of vinegar, such as white wine or balsamic vinegar, may taste good in specific recipes, they do not have the same health-promoting effects.
Moreover, they are packed with sugar. Therefore, reading the label carefully when buying apple cider vinegar is essential.
Hands off balsamic apple cider vinegar, apple cider vinegar with honey, or other additives! Because these varieties usually contain 20% sugar or more.
In my experience, apple cider vinegar should have the following properties to yield health benefits:
- Natural turbid or unfiltered
- With the mother of vinegar
- From organic farming
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Tip: To maximize the health benefits of apple cider vinegar, shake it well before use.
How Much Apple Cider Vinegar per Day?
The best way to dilute apple cider vinegar as a drink for weight loss, allergies, colds, and acid reflux is as follows:
- A glass of water (8oz)
- 1-2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
This diluted apple cider vinegar drink is a famous health elixir in the morning since it promotes gut health, balances the body’s pH, and provides energy.
Moreover, you can take 1-2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar as a shot before a meal rich in carbohydrates to dampen the blood sugar response.
However, due to possible side effects, don’t consume more than 8oz of pure apple cider vinegar daily.
Since such a high dosage can lower the potassium level too much, it can be dangerous for the heart.
Nevertheless, the sour taste of apple cider vinegar will deter you from excessive consumption.
However, ACV is very effective in lowering blood sugar levels. If you have diabetes or other conditions affecting blood glucose regulation, handle ACV cautiously.
What Are the Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar has a centuries-old tradition as a natural remedy in various cultures.
Before antibiotics, people used apple cider vinegar to clean wounds due to its anti-inflammatory properties. Even Cleopatra is said to have known about the benefits and drank apple cider vinegar regularly.
However, apple cider vinegar is mainly known as a traditional weight-loss drink. But this is just one of the upcoming 12 health benefits of drinking apple cider vinegar.
1. Blood Sugar
Today apple cider vinegar is an addition to sushi rice, potato chips, or French fries.
Since it inhibits blood sugar and insulin reactions, adding apple cider vinegar to carbohydrates is a smart move.
A Japanese study shows that adding apple cider vinegar to white rice reduces its glycaemic index –the relative increase in blood sugar levels – by almost 40 percent (Sugiyama et al. 20032).
Moreover, another study on apple cider vinegar for weight loss showed that taking two teaspoons of vinegar with carbohydrate-rich meals reduced blood sugar and insulin levels by 34 percent.
Drinking apple cider vinegar shortly before a meal is significantly more effective than taking it hours in advance (Johnston et al. 20103).
If you are on a low-carb diet, this is one of the best tricks to reduce the effects of carbohydrates on a cheat day.
Furthermore, the benefits of drinking apple cider vinegar can help to recover from a blood sugar drop, which usually follows a blood sugar spike induced by carbs.
In particular, the electrolyte potassium in apple cider vinegar helps to stabilize blood sugar levels.
Besides blood sugar, drinking apple cider vinegar before meals reduces insulin by over 30% (Leeman et al. 20054).
Therefore, studies suggest apple cider vinegar promotes insulin sensitivity (Johnston et al. 20045).
3. Weight Loss
Diluted apple cider vinegar for weight loss has a history going back centuries.
Accordingly, various factors promote weight loss by drinking about one to two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar daily.
On the one hand, apple cider vinegar suppresses carbohydrate synthesis by inhibiting enzymes, which improves blood sugar and energy levels.
On the other hand, apple cider vinegar helps to increase satiety and down-regulate appetite throughout the day (Petsiou et al. 20147).
Furthermore, healthy bacteria and enzymes in apple cider vinegar can eliminate Candida.
Candida is a kind of yeast fungus that also causes obesity, fatigue, and sugar cravings. Its overgrowth is caused by chronic, excessive sugar consumption.
Besides the antimicrobial effect of apple cider vinegar on Candida, it can also eradicate other bacteria, such as E. coli (Yagnik et al. 20188).
4. Fat Burning
According to research, drinking apple cider vinegar can promote fat burning in the body (Li et al. 20139).
So if you have heard that drinking apple cider vinegar daily leads to losing body fat, there is a spark of truth in it.
Besides improving the blood sugar balance, the upregulation of fat oxidation can be the reason for this.
Furthermore, this process of burning fat for energy in the body is called ketosis.
By drinking cider vinegar to improve fat burning, you support the state of ketosis. Therefore, apple cider vinegar is particularly popular in ketogenic diets.
Many people swear by drinking apple cider vinegar to prevent the craving for sweets. Hence, ACV can help to maintain a low-carb diet, especially if you are starting.
One of the main reasons many people crave is an imbalance in their blood sugar levels.
Therefore, apple cider vinegar can help when you crave for sweets because of its blood sugar-stabilizing effect.
Apple cider vinegar can improve stomach acid and gallbladder function to support fat digestion. Also, many people do not produce enough stomach acid for adequate digestion.
Therefore, adding apple cider vinegar to foods or consumption before meals can help. Furthermore, drinking apple cider vinegar can help to integrate healthy fats into your diet.
Since people are primarily used to digest carbohydrates and proteins due to the Western diet, cider vinegar is a welcome aid to digesting fats.
For this reason, drinking apple cider vinegar is particularly popular with a high-fat, low-carb (LCHF) diet such as the keto diet.
This is because the keto diet has a higher fat content than most people are used to in their everyday lives.
Who doesn’t know the fatigue after lunch?
Feeling tired can develop into a food coma if you eat a carbohydrate-heavy diet.
On the other hand, the blood sugar-lowering effect of apple cider vinegar, in combination with the potassium content, can give an energy boost when you feel sluggish.
Apple cider vinegar contains more than 10 mg of potassium per tablespoon. Adding one or two tablespoons to a glass of water can unleash the benefit of drinking apple cider vinegar.
Moreover, there is probably no cheaper energy drink than this simple life hack.
8. Acid Reflux
Although it sounds counterintuitive to drink sour apple cider vinegar to relieve heartburn, many people have found it helps.
Accordingly, researchers speculate that low acidity causes heartburn based on acid reflux.
We speak of acid reflux when the lower sphincter muscle of the esophagus does not close properly, causing stomach acid to be flushed into the throat.
Hence, recent studies suggest that gastric acid is the signal transmitter for the sphincter muscle of the throat.
So if you have too little stomach acid due to stress, eating habits, or medication, the sphincter muscle might not be adequately activated (Campos 201810).
Accordingly, many people find relief by dissolving two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar in a quarter glass of water.
If they drink the diluted ACV before a meal, it relieves their heartburn.
Our diet is becoming increasingly low in nutrients. While it is rich in refined carbohydrates, it is increasingly weaker in potassium, magnesium, and fiber.
Therefore, researchers assume that the Standard American Diet (SAD) causes metabolic acidosis – a disturbance of the acid-base balance.
As a result, the Western Pattern Diet promotes chronic diseases (Schwalfenberg 201111).
However, according to an Oxford University study, drinking apple cider vinegar can counteract metabolic acidosis.
Because acetic acid triggers the release of stomach and intestinal neutralizing hormones and ions, ACV can help (Petsiou et al. 201412).
10. Immune System
Healthy fats, vegetables, and cocoa are not the only sources of cancer-preventing antioxidants.
Like red wine, the polyphenols in apple cider vinegar support the body in its fight against free radicals and oxidative stress.
Accordingly, studies on ACV have shown that it helps to reduce oxidative damage from obesity and increases other antioxidants and vitamins.
Moreover, the same study found that apple cider vinegar can also improve blood lipid levels (Nazıroğlu et al. 201413).
Also, acetic acid’s antiviral properties help strengthen the immune system by detoxifying the lymph nodes.
Thus, apple cider vinegar can also contribute to reducing the occurrence of colds (Johnston et al. 200614).
11. Cold and Allergy
If you are struggling with cold or seasonal allergies, dissolve two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar in a glass of water.
This way, acetic acid and the potassium in the apple cider vinegar can dissolve the mucus while the watered drink purifies your body.
Additionally, the antibacterial properties of apple cider vinegar can help break down the pathogens that cause your colds and allergies and prevent sinusitis.
If you drink apple cider vinegar because it has a variety of health benefits, the texture of your skin will also improve.
The healthier the digestive tract and the more balanced the body’s pH, the better your skin will be.
However, to take full advantage of the health potential of apple cider vinegar for the skin, you can also apply it to the surface.
For external use, take a dilution ratio of 2:1 – two parts water and one part apple cider vinegar.
This way, you can apply the diluted apple cider vinegar as a cleanser on the face, neck, and shoulders. Always dilute the apple cider vinegar to avoid skin burns.
You can also add a cup of apple cider vinegar to your bathwater and take a relaxing bath while the apple cider vinegar neutralizes your skin’s pH.
In this way, the antimicrobial effect of apple cider vinegar can contribute to radiant skin.
Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar on Keto
While drinking apple cider vinegar can generally bring health benefits, it is particularly popular with ketogenic diet followers.
On the one hand, this may be because apple cider vinegar contains acetic acid and pectins.
Pectin is a soluble dietary fiber that has a similar protective effect on carbohydrate consumption as apple cider vinegar itself.
On the other hand, hunger and cravings are particularly intense in the initial phase of a keto diet because the body has to get used to burning fat for energy.
Since some people experience a time when they lack ketone production and low blood sugar levels simultaneously, they develop a sugar craving.
And that’s a typical symptom of the keto flu due to initial fat-adaption.
However, apple cider vinegar and citric acid can help. Besides apple cider vinegar, a splash of lemon or lime can also help against acute cravings.
The Bottom Line
Due to their bioactive components, fermented foods such as apple cider vinegar or red wine can bring various health benefits into your everyday life.
Nevertheless, don’t overestimate natural remedies such as apple cider vinegar. Although drinking apple cider vinegar improves your health in the long term, it cannot cure diseases in seconds.
Nevertheless, I think the trick of drinking apple cider vinegar before a meal and thus reducing blood sugar and insulin reactions substantially is ingenious. Therefore, apple cider vinegar is a must, especially for keto dieters.
By the way, a glass of red wine with a meal can also have a similar effect.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
How much apple cider vinegar should I drink a day?
When drinking apple cider vinegar, 🥤 you dilute 1-2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar with a glass of water (8oz). However, you should never drink more than 16 tablespoons or 8oz of pure apple cider vinegar daily.
What are the benefits of apple cider vinegar?
Apple cider vinegar 🍎 helps against cravings, fatigue, acidity, colds, allergies, abdominal cramps, flatulence, skin and hair impurities.
When should you drink apple cider vinegar?
Diluted apple cider vinegar 🥤 is a popular drink in the morning since it promotes gut health, balances the body’s pH value, and provides energy. Also, it helps to regulate blood sugar when consumed before a meal.
What are the side effects of drinking apple cider vinegar everyday?
Consuming more than 8oz of pure apple cider vinegar 🍎 a day can lower the potassium level too much, which can be dangerous for the heart. Also, people with diabetes should handle ACV with care since it effectively lowers blood sugar.
1Johnston CS, Gaas CA. Vinegar: medicinal uses and antiglycemic effect. MedGenMed. 2006 May 30;8(2):61. Review. PubMed PMID: 16926800; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC1785201.
2Sugiyama M, Tang AC, Wakaki Y, Koyama W. Glycemic index of single and mixed meal foods among common Japanese foods with white rice as a reference food. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2003 Jun;57(6):743-52. doi: 10.1038/sj.ejcn.1601606. PubMed PMID: 12792658.
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4Leeman M, Ostman E, Björck I. Vinegar dressing and cold storage of potatoes lowers postprandial glycaemic and insulinaemic responses in healthy subjects. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2005 Nov;59(11):1266-71. doi: 10.1038/sj.ejcn.1602238. PubMed PMID: 16034360.
5Johnston CS, Kim CM, Buller AJ. Vinegar improves insulin sensitivity to a high-carbohydrate meal in subjects with insulin resistance or type 2 diabetes. Diabetes Care. 2004 Jan;27(1):281-2. doi: 10.2337/diacare.27.1.281. PubMed PMID: 14694010.
6White AM, Johnston CS. Vinegar ingestion at bedtime moderates waking glucose concentrations in adults with well-controlled type 2 diabetes. Diabetes Care. 2007 Nov;30(11):2814-5. doi: 10.2337/dc07-1062. Epub 2007 Aug 21. PubMed PMID: 17712024.
7Petsiou EI, Mitrou PI, Raptis SA, Dimitriadis GD. Effect and mechanisms of action of vinegar on glucose metabolism, lipid profile, and body weight. Nutr Rev. 2014 Oct;72(10):651-61. doi: 10.1111/nure.12125. Epub 2014 Aug 28. Review. PubMed PMID: 25168916.
8Yagnik D, Serafin V, J Shah A. Antimicrobial activity of apple cider vinegar against Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus and Candida albicans; downregulating cytokine and microbial protein expression. Sci Rep. 2018 Jan 29;8(1):1732. doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-18618-x. PubMed PMID: 29379012; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5788933.
9Li X, Chen H, Guan Y, Li X, Lei L, Liu J, Yin L, Liu G, Wang Z. Acetic acid activates the AMP-activated protein kinase signaling pathway to regulate lipid metabolism in bovine hepatocytes. PLoS One. 2013;8(7):e67880. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0067880. Print 2013. PubMed PMID: 23861826; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3701595.
10Campos M. Apple cider vinegar… for heartburn? – Harvard Health Blog. Harvard, MA: Harvard Health Publishing, 2018. Retrieved 2020 Aug 08, from https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/apple-cider-vinegar-for-heartburn-2018032813530.
11Schwalfenberg GK. The alkaline diet: is there evidence that an alkaline pH diet benefits health?. J Environ Public Health. 2012;2012:727630. doi: 10.1155/2012/727630. Epub 2011 Oct 12. Review. PubMed PMID: 22013455; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3195546.12
12Petsiou EI, Mitrou PI, Raptis SA, Dimitriadis GD. Effect and mechanisms of action of vinegar on glucose metabolism, lipid profile, and body weight. Nutr Rev. 2014 Oct;72(10):651-61. doi: 10.1111/nure.12125. Epub 2014 Aug 28. Review. PubMed PMID: 25168916.
13Nazıroğlu M, Güler M, Özgül C, Saydam G, Küçükayaz M, Sözbir E. Apple cider vinegar modulates serum lipid profile, erythrocyte, kidney, and liver membrane oxidative stress in ovariectomized mice fed high cholesterol. J Membr Biol. 2014 Aug;247(8):667-73. doi: 10.1007/s00232-014-9685-5. Epub 2014 Jun 4. PubMed PMID: 24894721.
14Johnston CS, Gaas CA. Vinegar: medicinal uses and antiglycemic effect. MedGenMed. 2006 May 30;8(2):61. Review. PubMed PMID: 16926800; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC1785201.
Mag. Stephan Lederer, MSc. is an author and blogger from Austria who writes in-depth content about health and nutrition. His book series on Interval Fasting landed #1 on the bestseller list in the German Amazon marketplace in 15 categories.
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