Apple cider vinegar is a well-known home remedy. For centuries, people have used it in cooking and medicine.
Many people claim it can help with a variety of health issues, but you may be wondering what the research says.
Apple cider vinegar has a variety of health benefits, including antimicrobial and antioxidant properties.
Furthermore, evidence suggests that it may have health benefits such as:
- aiding weight loss
- lowering cholesterol
- lowering blood sugar levels
- alleviating diabetes symptoms
However, there has been little research, and more research is needed before it can be recommended as an alternative therapy.
This article examines the evidence for six potential health benefits of apple cider vinegar.
1. High in beneficial substances
Apple cider vinegar is made in two steps (1).
First, the crushed apples are exposed to yeast, which ferments the sugars and converts them to alcohol.
The addition of bacteria then further ferments the alcohol, converting it to acetic acid, the main active compound in vinegar.
Acetic acid is responsible for vinegar's strong sour smell and flavour. This acid, according to researchers, is responsible for apple cider vinegar's health benefits. Cider vinegars contain 5–6% acetic acid (2).
Organic, unfiltered apple cider vinegar also contains mother, which is made up of protein strands, enzymes, and friendly bacteria that give the product a murky appearance.
Some people believe that the mother is responsible for the majority of the health benefits, but there are no studies to back this up.
While apple cider vinegar is low in vitamins and minerals, it does contain a small amount of potassium. High-quality brands also include amino acids and antioxidants.
Apple cider vinegar is made by fermenting apple sugar. This converts them to acetic acid, a key active ingredient in vinegar that may be responsible for its health benefits.
2. Can aid in the elimination of harmful bacteria
Vinegar can aid in the elimination of pathogens such as bacteria (3).
Vinegar has traditionally been used for cleaning and disinfecting, as well as treating nail fungus, lice, warts, and ear infections.
More than 2,000 years ago, Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, used vinegar to clean wounds.
Vinegar can also be used as a food preservative. According to research, it prevents bacteria such as E. coli from growing in and spoiling food (3, 4, 5).
If you're looking for a natural way to preserve food, apple cider vinegar may be of assistance.
Anecdotal evidence suggests that applying diluted apple cider vinegar to the skin may help with acne, but there is no strong research to back this up.
Acetic acid, the main component of vinegar, can kill or prevent harmful bacteria from multiplying. It's been used as a disinfectant and natural preservative for centuries.
3. May aid in the management of diabetes by lowering blood sugar levels.
One of the most convincing applications of vinegar to date is in the treatment of type 2 diabetes.
Diabetes type 2 is distinguished by high blood sugar levels caused by insulin resistance or the inability to produce insulin (6).
People without diabetes, on the other hand, can benefit from maintaining normal blood sugar levels because some researchers believe that high blood sugar levels are a major cause of ageing and various chronic diseases.
The most effective and healthiest way to control blood sugar levels is to avoid refined carbohydrates and sugar, but apple cider vinegar may also help.
According to research, vinegar has the following benefits for blood sugar and insulin levels:
- According to one small study, vinegar may improve insulin sensitivity by 19–34 percent during a high carb meal, as well as significantly lower blood sugar and insulin response (7).
- After eating 50 grammes of white bread, vinegar reduced blood sugar by 31.4 percent in a small study of 5 healthy people (8).
- A small study in diabetics found that consuming 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar before bedtime reduced fasting blood sugar by 4% the next morning (9).
- Several other human studies have found that vinegar can improve insulin function and lower blood sugar levels after meals (10, 11).
According to the National Centers for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH), it is critical that people do not substitute unproven health products for medical treatment (12).
If you are currently taking blood-sugar-lowering medications, consult your doctor before increasing your vinegar intake.
Apple cider vinegar has shown great promise in terms of improving insulin sensitivity and lowering blood sugar levels after meals.
4. May help with weight loss
Surprisingly, research suggests that vinegar can help people lose weight.
Several human studies have found that vinegar can boost feelings of fullness. This can result in consuming fewer calories and losing weight.
According to one study, taking vinegar with a high carb meal increased feelings of fullness, causing participants to consume 200–275 fewer calories the rest of the day (13, 14).
Furthermore, a study of 175 obese people found that drinking apple cider vinegar on a daily basis resulted in less belly fat and weight loss (15):
- 1 tablespoon (15 mL) resulted in a 2.6-pound weight loss (1.2 kg)
- consuming 2 tablespoons (30 mL) resulted in a 3.7-pound weight loss (1.7 kg)
However, keep in mind that this study lasted three months, so the true effects on body weight appear to be minor.
Adding or removing single foods or ingredients, on the other hand, rarely has a noticeable effect on weight. Adopting beneficial and supportive diet and lifestyle habits leads to long-term weight loss.
Overall, apple cider vinegar may aid in weight loss by increasing satiety, decreasing blood sugar levels, and decreasing insulin levels.
Apple cider vinegar has only three calories per tablespoon, which is extremely low.
According to research, vinegar can increase feelings of fullness and help you eat fewer calories, potentially leading to weight loss.
5. Improves animal heart health
One of the leading causes of death is heart disease (16).
A number of biological factors have been linked to your risk of heart disease.
According to research, vinegar may improve several of these risk factors. Many of the studies, however, were conducted on animals.
These animal studies suggest that apple cider vinegar can reduce cholesterol and triglyceride levels, as well as several other risk factors for heart disease (17, 18, 19).
Vinegar has also been shown in animal studies to lower blood pressure, which is a major risk factor for heart disease and kidney problems (20, 21).
There is, however, no convincing evidence that vinegar improves heart health in humans. More research is needed before researchers can draw firm conclusions.
Animal studies have shown that vinegar can lower triglycerides, cholesterol, and blood pressure. However, there is no compelling evidence that it reduces the risk of heart disease in humans.
6. May improve skin health
Apple cider vinegar is a popular treatment for skin conditions such as dry skin and eczema (22).
The skin is slightly acidic by nature. Topical apple cider vinegar may help to rebalance the skin's natural pH, thereby improving the protective skin barrier (22).
Alkaline soaps and cleansers, on the other hand, may aggravate eczema symptoms (23).
Because of its antibacterial properties, apple cider vinegar may help prevent skin infections associated with eczema and other skin conditions.
Some people use apple cider vinegar as a toner or face wash. The idea is that it will kill bacteria while also preventing spots.
However, according to one study of 22 people with eczema, apple cider vinegar soaks did not improve the skin barrier and caused skin irritation (24).
Before attempting new remedies, especially on damaged skin, consult with your doctor. Undiluted vinegar should not be applied to the skin because it can cause burns (25).
Apple cider vinegar is naturally acidic and antibacterial. This means it may aid in the improvement of the skin barrier and the prevention of infections. More research is needed, however, to determine how safe and effective this remedy is.
Dosage and application
Cooking with apple cider vinegar is the best way to incorporate it into your diet. It's an easy addition to salad dressings and homemade mayonnaise.
Some people enjoy diluting it with water and drinking it as a beverage. The typical daily dosage ranges from 1–2 teaspoons (5–10 mL) to 1–2 tablespoon (15–30 mL) mixed in a large glass of water.
Begin with small doses and avoid taking large amounts. Too much vinegar can have negative side effects such as tooth enamel erosion and possible drug interactions.
Organic, unfiltered apple cider vinegars with "mother" are recommended by some dietitians.
Bragg appears to be one of the most popular brand options, with reviews and ratings available online. However, there are several other varieties available.
More information on the proper dosage of apple cider vinegar can be found here.
A teaspoon to two tablespoons (10–30 mL) of apple cider vinegar per day, used in cooking or mixed in a glass of water, is a common dosage.
Many websites and proponents of natural healthcare claim that apple cider vinegar has exceptional health benefits, such as boosting energy and treating disease.
Unfortunately, there is little research to back up most of its health claims.
Nonetheless, some research suggests that it may have some advantages, such as killing bacteria, lowering blood sugar levels, and promoting weight loss.
As long as you don't consume excessive amounts of apple cider vinegar, it appears to be safe.
It can also be used for things other than health, such as a natural hair conditioner, skin care product, and cleaning agent.