The most popular vinegar in the natural health community is Apple Cider Vinegar. It is claimed to lead to all sorts of benefits, some of which are supported by science. This includes weight loss, lower blood sugar levels and improved symptoms of diabetes. If you want to try it now for free, then get this Bragg’s organic brand from Thrive Market. (You only pay a small shipping charge).
The following are several of the many health benefits of apple cider vinegar that are supported by scientific research.
It is high in acetic acid - which has potent biological effects!
Vinegar in general, is made in a two-step process, related to how alcohol is made. The first step exposes crushed apples (or apple cider) to yeast, which ferment the sugars and turn them into alcohol. In the second step, bacteria are added to the alcohol solution, which further ferment the alcohol and turn it into acetic acid… the main active compound in vinegar.
Our English word “vinegar” actually comes directly from the French, the word “vinegar” means “sour wine.” Organic, unfiltered apple cider vinegar (like Bragg’s) also contains “mother,” strands of proteins, enzymes and friendly bacteria that give the product a murky, cobweb-like appearance, this is important as numerous studies show that vinegar containing a “mother” offer far more health benefits than those that filter out the “mother.”
This is what it looks like:
Kills many types of bacteria.
Vinegar can help kill pathogens, including bacteria. It has traditionally been used for cleaning and disinfecting, treating nail fungus, lice, warts and ear infections. Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, used vinegar for wound cleaning over two thousand years ago. Vinegar has been used as a food preservative, and studies show that it inhibits bacteria (like E. coli) from growing in the food and spoiling it. If you’re looking for a natural way to preserve your food… then apple cider vinegar could be highly useful.
There have also been anecdotal reports of diluted apple cider vinegar helping with acne when applied on the skin, but I didn’t find any research to confirm this so take it with a grain of salt.
Lowers blood sugar levels & fights diabetes.
Lowers blood sugar levels and fights diabetesBy far the most successful application of vinegar to date, is in patients with type 2 diabetes. It increases blood sugar use by cells and decreases its production by the liver. It also reduces fasting blood sugar levels. What’s more, studies show that vinegar significantly influences your body’s response to sugars and improves insulin sensitivity.
To incorporate apple cider vinegar into your diet, you can add it to salad dressings or mix 2 teaspoons in 8 ounces of water.
However, it’s important to check with your doctor before taking apple cider vinegar if you are already taking medications that lower blood sugar.
Type 2 diabetes is characterized by elevated blood sugars, either in the context of insulin resistance or an inability to produce insulin. However, elevated blood sugar can also be a problem in people who don’t have diabetes… it is believed to be a major cause of ageing and various chronic diseases.
So, pretty much everyone should benefit from keeping their blood sugar levels stable. The most effective (and healthiest) way to do that is to avoid refined carbs and sugar, but apple cider vinegar also offers a powerful effect.
Vinegar has been shown to have numerous benefits for insulin function and blood sugar levels:
- Improves insulin sensitivity during a high-carb meal by 19-34% and significantly lowers blood glucose and insulin responses.
- Reduces blood sugar by 34% when eating 50 grams of white bread.
- 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar before bedtime can reduce fasting blood sugars by 4%.
- Numerous other studies, in both rats and humans, show that vinegar can increase insulin sensitivity and significantly lower blood sugar responses during meals.
For these reasons, vinegar can be useful for people with diabetes, pre-diabetes, or those who want to keep their blood sugar levels low to normal for other reasons.
But again, I want to stress that if you’re currently taking blood sugar lowering medications, then check with your doctor before increasing your intake of apple cider vinegar.
Helps you lose weight.
Given that vinegar lowers blood sugar and insulin levels, it makes sense that it could help you lose weight. Several human studies suggest that vinegar can increase satiety, help you eat fewer calories and even lead to actual pounds lost on the scale.
Vinegar along with high-carb meals can increase feelings of fullness and make people eat 200-275 fewer calories for the rest of the day, according to a 2009 University of Arizona Study. They also point out that, “By reducing calorie intake, this should translate to reduced weight over time.”
A further University of Arizona study in obese individuals showed that daily vinegar consumption led to reduced belly fat, waist circumference, lower blood triglycerides and weight loss:
- 15mL (1 tablespoon): Lost 2.6 pounds, or 1.2 kilograms.
- 30mL (2 tablespoons): Lost 3.7 pounds, or 1.7 kilograms.
However… keep in mind that this study went on for 12 weeks, so the true effects on body weight seem to be rather modest, but hey, every little bit helps! That being said, just adding/subtracting single foods or ingredients rarely has a noticeable effect on weight. The truth is that it is the entire diet/lifestyle that counts… you need to combine several effective methods to see results.
Overall, it seems like apple cider vinegar is useful as a weight loss aid, mainly by promoting satiety and lowering glucose and insulin levels. But it won’t work any miracles on its own where weight loss is concerned but for those of us with Type 2 Diabetes it can really work miracles in helping us control our blood sugar levels.
Lowers cholesterol & reduces risk of heart disease.
Lowers cholesterol and reduces your risk of heart diseaseCardiovascular disease (heart disease and stroke) is currently the world’s biggest cause of death. It is known that several measurable biological factors are linked to either a decreased or increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Several of these “risk factors” have been shown to be improved by vinegar consumption. These studies showed that apple cider vinegar can lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
Apple cider vinegar also contains the antioxidant chlorogenic acid, which has been shown to protect LDL cholesterol particles from becoming oxidized, a crucial step in the heart disease process. There are also some studies showing that vinegar reduces blood pressure (a major risk factor) in rats.
Unfortunately, what works in animals doesn’t always work in humans. The only human evidence is an observational study from Harvard showing that women who ate salad dressings with vinegar had a reduced risk of heart disease. More human studies are under way and though the results are not yet in, things look promising.
May have protective effects against cancer.
May have protective effects against cancerCancer is a terrible disease, characterized by the uncontrolled growth of cells. There is a lot of hype online about the anti-cancer effects of apple cider vinegar. Some studies have shown that vinegar can kill cancer cells and shrink tumors. However, all of the studies on this were done in isolated cells in test tubes, or rats, which does not always mean that the same thing happens in a living, breathing human. That being said, some studies have shown that vinegar ingestion is linked to decreased esophageal cancer in China, but increased bladder cancer in Serbia.
Overall… it is possible that apple cider vinegar may help to prevent cancer, but it is definitely premature to make any recommendations based on the current research.
Side Effects, Dosage & How to Use it
There are a lot of wild claims about apple cider vinegar on the internet. Some say that it can increase energy levels and have all sorts of beneficial effects on health. Unfortunately… many of these claims are not supported by science. They may be true or not but there simply is not research available to make a claim either way.
Of course, absence of proof isn’t proof that something isn’t happening and anecdote often ends up becoming supported by science down the line. That being said, I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for more studies, since research on natural health products like these are both few and far between.
From the little evidence available, I think that apple cider vinegar may be useful and is definitely a good candidate for some self-experimentation if you’re interested in it. At the very least, apple cider vinegar seems to be safe. There are no side effects noted with normal consumption.
The best way to incorporate it into your diet is to use it in your cooking… for salad dressings, mayonnaise and that sort of thing. Some people, like my wife Holly, also like to dilute it in water and drink it as a beverage. Common dosages range from 1-2 teaspoons (5-10 ml) to 1-2 tablespoons (15-30 ml) per day.
Definitely don’t go above that, because excess consumption may have harmful effects. It is also possible to take it in pill/tablet form, but I don’t recommend that because a 2005 study showed that the true vinegar content of these supplements was highly questionable. There is also a report of a woman having an apple cider vinegar tablet stuck in her throat, which led to esophageal burns.
It is recommended to use organic, unfiltered apple cider vinegar with the “mother.”
Bragg’s is by far the most popular option, which you can get for free from Thrive Market here.
Apple cider vinegar also has various other non-health related uses like hair conditioning, skin care, dental care, pet use and as a cleaning agent (to name just a few). These can be highly useful for people who like to keep things as natural and chemical-free as possible.
At the end of the day, apple cider vinegar appears to be very healthy. I would advise that it is not a “miracle” or a “cure-all” as some people seem to believe, but it does clearly have some important health benefits, especially for blood sugar and weight control.
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