Though Apple Cider Vinegar has gained a lot of popularity in modern times, the use of apple cider vinegar can be traced back to the ancient Greeks who would consume it by mixing it with honey as a cure for coughs and colds. In those times, it was considered as a natural cure-all. The tradition has continued due to its vast uses in home remedies due to its vast curative properties.
The use and effectiveness of Apple Cider Vinegar, however, is very extensive. Apart from its helpfulness in promoting positive health, it can also be used in-home care, gardening, skin care, etc. It can be incorporated in marinades, vinaigrettes, salad dressings, food preservatives, and chutneys. It can be included in your hair and skincare routines. It can be used as a natural deodorizer due to its antibacterial properties.
It can also be used to fight fruit fly infestations at home (I have used this myself and results have been spectacular). It can also be used to kill weeds by spraying pure ACV on them. It has also shown to be effective as a natural acne treatment. In recent times, researchers have come up with a long list of its benefits including keeping the blood sugar levels in check, catalyzing weight loss and even reducing acne & scarring. It also helps in soothing sunburns and promoting digestive health. Some people also suggest that it helps in fighting cold & allergies. We shall discuss the applications and benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar in greater details in this article.
Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar
Helps to Regulate Blood Sugar Levels
Diabetics may find ACV to be helpful in maintaining their blood sugar. A study showed that vinegar consumption helped in reducing them by 31% on an average after eating white bread. An animal study helped identify that giving diabetic rats ACV for four continuous weeks resulted in reduced blood sugar levels. Blood Sugar is a result of high insulin content in one’s body since it is the hormone responsible for carrying sugar from the blood to the tissues which use it as fuel. High insulin levels in someone can result in insulin resistance which reduces its effectiveness and leads to diseases such as blood sugar and diabetes.
A Study in Diabetes Care proved that consumption of vinegar helped increase the insulin sensitivity by 34% in people who had insulin sensitivity or Type II diabetes. In order to keep the sugar levels in check, one can dilute 1-2 tablespoons of ACV in 8 ounces of water and drink it before meals. At the same time, it is also important to have food rich in Carbohydrates, dietary fibre and proteins to truly reap the benefits of ACV and keep sugar levels in control.
Helps in Weight Loss
Recently, a lot of hype has built up around the benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar with respect to weight loss. From fitness gurus to yoga instructors, people have been promoting the consumption ACV for shedding extra weight and a lot of studies are being conducted which support that belief as well.
A study showed that consuming just 2 tablespoons of ACV daily for a period of 12 weeks actually helped towards dropping 4 pounds without any modifications in their diet or lifestyle. Daily consumption of ACV helps in increasing satiety which is proportional to reduced food intake and thereby, helping in weight loss.
A study actually proved that daily intake of ACV led to a decrease in up to 275 calories consumed in a day. However, it is important to know that consuming ACV daily can aid towards weight loss but long term weight-related benefits can only be experienced by combining it with a healthy, active lifestyle and nutritious diet.
Helps in Lowering Cholesterol
Apple Cider Vinegar has been shown to help keep cholesterol levels low. Cholesterol is a waxy fat-like substance. It is required in small quantities by the body to create healthy cells but when the body has a high cholesterol level, the cholesterol gets deposited in the arteries and make them narrow and hard. This, in turn, puts a lot of strain on the heart and makes it difficult to pump blood throughout the body.
This can lead to other heart diseases as well. A study conducted on rats in Iran showed that by supplementing rats with ACV, they could successfully reduce the amount of bad cholesterol (LDL) while increasing the amount of good cholesterol (HDL).
As suggested earlier, you can consume 1-2 tablespoons of ACV every day to help reduce your cholesterol level but at the same time, you must also lower your sugar intake and include healthy fats such as fish in your diet.
Improves Skin Health
Acne can be caused due to a number of factors including certain kinds of bacteria which cause infections under the skin and lead to inflammation. In addition to possessing anti-bacterial qualities, ACV also contains helpful components such as acetic acid, lactic acid, succinic acid and citric acid which help in protecting your skin against acne outbreaks by impeding the growth of Propionibacterium which is the strain of bacteria contributing to acne.
In fact, a study the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology revealed that the treatment of scars (acne) over a period of 3 months with lactic acid helped with the lightening of the scar while improving the texture and pigmentation of the treated area.
Helps in Reducing Blood Pressure
Blood pressure is a silent killer and one of the biggest causes that lead to the development of heart diseases. The function of the heart is to pump blood throughout the body and all the nutrients as well as oxygen with it. Depending on the type of activity, the blood pressure keeps fluctuating to suit the body’s requirements.
However, high blood pressure can put extra strain on the heart by making it work harder which leads to weakening and deterioration of the heart muscles. Apple Cider Vinegar is known to possess properties that help in lowering blood pressure.
An animal study in Japan conducted on rats showed that giving them acetic acid, which is the main constituent of vinegar helped to reduce their blood pressure levels. Including CV in your diet may help you to lower your blood pressure but the right kind of diet is also essential to help control it. Include more potassium, magnesium, and fibre in your daily food intake, minimize your salt consumptions and incorporate whole foods into your diet instead of processed food items.
Helps in Relieving Symptoms of Acid Reflux
Apple Cider Vinegar is a great find for people who suffer from acid reflux. Acid reflux is categorized by the backflow of acid from the stomach to the esophagus which causes heartburn, nausea, and belching among other symptoms. This often happens when the stomach acid level is low.
Since ACV is acidic in nature, the introduction of this additional acid into the stomach may help in countering the acid reflux symptoms. However, in addition to incorporated ACV in your daily diet regime, it is also important to have an acid reflux diet high in vegetables, healthy fats such as fish and fermented foods. Apple cider vinegar might improve acid reflux in people not taking medications and with minimal risk. But although there’s a lot of anecdotal evidence, there’s very limited research.
In fact, no research supporting this claim has been published in a medical journal. A graduate thesis did find that raw or unfiltered apple cider vinegar may prevent heartburn, though. More research is needed to determine whether apple cider vinegar is a consistent and reputable way to treat acid reflux.
As they say, too much of anything is bad. Despite being such a miraculous ingredient with so many therapeutic benefits associated with it, consuming too much of this product and be extremely harmful to the body. Here are some of the side effects of Apple Cider Vinegar:
Side effects of Apple Cider Vinegar
Since Apple Cider Vinegar is acidic in nature, drinking a lot of ACV or not washing your mouth properly can damage the enamel and lead to tooth decay over time. According to the National Institute of Dental & Craniofacial Research, excessive intake of acidic foods such as Apple Cider Vinegar can lead to weekending of the enamel, development of cavities and loosening of teeth. Even though this damage isn’t immediate, it is better to be cautious and limit the consumption of ACV as per the advised dosage.
As explained above, Apple Cider Vinegar can help in weight loss and also people who suffer from Acid Reflux. According to research(11), it allows you to feel full for longer by slowing the rate at which food goes out of the stomach and into the intestines. However, if food stays in the stomach for longer durations, it will inadvertently affect the digestion. A study has shown that some participants have reported feelings of nausea and indigestion after consuming ACV.
The delay in emptying of the stomach can also act as a catalyst for symptoms of gastroparesis which is usually associated with people suffering from type 1 diabetes. Due to this medical condition, the nerves in the stomach of the patients are inefficient and thus, the food does not leave the stomach at a normal rate. If a type 1 diabetic prone to developing gastroparesis ingests ACV regularly, this can worsen the symptoms.
As mentioned earlier, Apple Cider Vinegar is great for treating acne & pimples due to its acidic nature. However, accordingly, to the National Capital Poison Centre, there have been several reports where people having suffered burns significant enough to require medical attention due to application of vinegar including ACV directly on the skin . It is always advisable to dilute ACV with some water when applying it to your face, skin or hair to minimize the impact of its acid levels.
However, the negative effects of ACV can be minimized by consuming only between 1-2 tablespoons of ACV diluted in water every day. It is also essential to begin by ingesting 1 tablespoon of ACV mixed in water, thereby allowing the body to get accustomed to it. Also, instead of sipping it from a glass, you can sip it through a straw so that your teeth & the mouth is in minimal contact with the diluted ACV. When consumed in the right quantity, this miracle ingredient can help you to lead a healthy lifestyle.
Apple Juice vs Apple Cider vs Apple Cider Vinegar
It is interesting to note that even though apple juice, apple cider, and apple cider vinegar are all made from apples, their preparation method and benefits vastly vary. Apple juice is made by softening and pressing apples to get the juice from them.
The juice may then be treated with enzymes and centrifugal clarification may be used to eliminate the starch and pectin after which it is pasteurised for distribution in glass, metal or sterilizes containers. It can also be made to undergo a dehydration process for a more concentrated variety.
Apple Cider, on the other hand, is a more unfiltered, fermented, unsweetened alcohol-free beverage which is very popular in North America and Europe. Apple Cider Vinegar, however, is made by bringing crushed apples in contact with yeast which helps in converting them to alcohol.
After that, bacteria is introduced to this alcohol solution which helps it to turn into acetic acid by modifying its chemical composition and helps in forming health-promoting probiotics & enzymes. It also has lower sugar levels and lesser calories as compared to apple juice or cider.
Apple Cider Vinegar with Mother is an organic and unfiltered version of ACV containing ‘Mother’ strands of proteins, enzymes and good bacteria. Even though some people believe that the ‘Mother’ is responsible for a lot of the health benefits associated with Apple Cider Vinegar, there aren’t any studies currently to support this. Apple Cider Vinegar has a pH level ranging from 3.1 to 5.
The acidity level in ACV is comparatively lesser than other kinds of vinegar such as Balsamic, White Distilled Vinegar and Rice Vinegar. By consuming 1-2 tablespoons of ACV a day, we can enjoy its many health benefits and minimize its side effects. Since ACV is 94% water, the amount of calories and nutrients is negligent as well.
Even though ACV is not a cure in itself, it acts as a catalyst by improving the body’s overall health which improves the effectiveness of some treatments and aids in improving overall health. It helps in fighting against several diseases and illnesses including those listed below:
Apple Cider Vinegar Uses
Maintain Body pH balance
In order to lead a healthy life and have a healthy body, it is very important to maintain its pH balance. A well-maintained pH level helps to ensure that the body can perform its daily functions efficiently and effectively. Even though Apple Cider Vinegar is acidic in nature, it promotes a more alkaline effect on the body and helps to optimize body pH levels . This helps to regulate the health and energy levels of the body.
Kills Oral Bacterias – Teeth
ACV is antibacterial in nature. This means that it kills bacteria and stops them from growing back. Our teeth are often covered by a translucent, whitish film called plaque which is created by bacteria deposits on the teeth. Consumption of sugary foods and treats mixed with plaque can cause gum decay, bad odor, cavities, and yellow teeth. Drinking ACV and then rinsing your mouth with cold water can help you to fight against these diseases and keep your pearly whites bacteria-free.
Due to the antimicrobial properties of Apple Cider Vinegar, it is used in a lot of home remedies for illnesses caused due to bacterial and fungal infections. This makes it great alternative therapy for people suffering from conjunctivitis or pink eye. All you have to do is mix 1 teaspoon of ACV in a cup of water and wash the eyes with the help of a cotton ball. Due to its anti-bacterial properties, it is said to help in reducing the infection.
Recommended in Pregnancy
When it comes to pregnancy, Apple Cider Vinegar hasn’t been proven to be particularly beneficial or harmful. However, some people do recommend drinking 1-2 tablespoon of ACV mixed in a tall glass of water. This can be consumed twice a day to help with morning sickness. Since it is helpful for people showing symptoms of acid reflux, it might help pregnant women with nausea but no studies have been conducted yet to support this
Apple Cider Vinegar is supposed to be beneficial for people suffering from kidney stones. It is believed that the citric acid in ACV helps to dissolve or break down the stones into smaller fragments over time so that they can be passed out through urine.
Since ACV is alkaline, it also helps to prevent the formation of new stones by alkalizing the blood & urine. Though this home remedy isn’t supported by any research or study, a research in 2016 actually did show that the small amounts of potassium found in ACV can help in preventing the formation of kidney stones since high levels of potassium have been linked to lower risks of developing kidney stones.
In a study conducted on mice who were fed a high cholesterol diet, the group of mice whose diet included ACV (0.6% of the feed) showcased fewer negative effects induced by the diet. The ACV had a protective effect against erythrocyte, kidney, and liver oxidative injury. It also lowered serum lipid levels in the mice who had a high cholesterol diet indicating that it reduces the lipid peroxidation and helps in increasing the number of antioxidant enzymes. Ongoing research also indicates that since ACV has acetic acid as one of its components, it might have the ability to protect the liver cells in humans.
Apple Cider Vinegar has compounds such as acetic acid which have antioxidant properties. Free radicals damage the DNA of the cells. According to a study conducted in 2010 and published in Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, researchers found out that Apple Cider Vinegar contains compounds which transform harmful radicals such as superoxide dismutase into less harmful compounds of oxygen and hydrogen peroxide.
This can be helpful for people suffering from the chronic obstructive pulmonary disease which causes progressive inflammation of the lungs and makes it difficult to breathe. It also makes it difficult to pump enough oxygen in the blood to perform even the most basic tasks. Consuming ACV daily can help to defend the lungs against the harmful free radicals and reduce its intensity.
Consuming ACV before meals is a good practice since it helps in the breakdown of proteins into amino acids. The amino acids in turn act as catalysts for processes such as the formation of hormones. Amino acids also help in the formation of tryptophan which helps in the release of serotonin, which is a neurotransmitter. This neurotransmitter is associated with making us feel happy and relaxed. So, high levels of serotonin mean we feel happy and positive.
The natural antifungal enzymes in Apple Cider Vinegar also help in removing excessive amounts of a certain type of yeasts called Candida from the body. Candida is required by the body and can be found in the mouth, on the skin and the intestines in small quantities. However, an overgrowth of Candida due to factors such as low immunity, antibiotics, diabetes, etc. can cause brain fog, poor memory, fatigue, and irritability. Routine consumption of ACV in the correct amount can help with such symptoms.
Gout is caused due to uric acid build up in the body which eventually crystallizes around the joints. It causes inflammation, redness, tenderness and severe pain around the affected area. A recent study in Japan showed that high acidity levels in urine could affect uric acid levels in one’s body since urine high in acid diminishes the body’s ability to excrete uric acid.
Since ACV is alkaline in nature, it might help in bringing down the acid level in the body and makes it easier for uric acid to be excreted. Additionally, since ACV also supports weight loss, it may help you to lose weight and reduce inflammation, thereby helping to reduce the uric acid levels in your blood. It also contains Malic acid which helps in dissolving uric acid in the bloodstream.
As mentioned earlier, Apple Cider Vinegar, though acidic in nature, becomes alkaline once it is ingested. It reduces the acid level in the blood and urine while increasing the acid levels in the stomach. The stomach has Hydrochloric Acid in it which helps to break down food and ease the process of digestion.
Without sufficient amounts of HCl in the body, the process of digestion becomes slow and more time-intensive. This is commonly experienced by people who lead a very stressful lifestyle, don’t have a well-balanced diet, drink a lot of alcohol, etc. By increasing acid level in the stomach, ACV helps to restore the pH balance to the optimal amount and helps in regulating the digestion process.
Although studies have not confirmed the effectiveness of Apple Cider Vinegar towards treating or softening gallstones, many home remedies and traditional cures suggest that consuming raw ACV can help to break the stones into small fragments and make them easier to be excreted out of the body. However, do keep in mind that these natural remedies talk about raw ACV and not the processed ACV available in most stores or sold commercially.
Even though it isn’t backed by any scientific evidence, unprocessed ACV has enzymes which can be beneficial for several health-related problems. The unprocessed ACV with sediments called ‘Mother’ gives it the murky color and the nutritional boost. It is also anti-inflammatory and can help reduce gallbladder pain
Sexual Health in Men
No studies or research has been conducted yet to conclusively prove that ACV is beneficial for men who suffer from Erectile Dysfunction. So, this miracle cure does not directly help in curing ED. However, if we look into some of the underlying factors responsible for causing Erectile Dysfunction, we might understand why ACV is considered as a plausible remedy for ED.
Erectile Dysfunction can be caused due to various health problems such as stress, heart disease, high blood pressure, smoking, injury, anxiety, diabetes, obesity, etc. ACV may be helpful towards the treatment of the underlying causes such as heart diseases, stress, excessive weight gain, high blood pressure, and high blood sugar and make it easier to treat ED.
Gynaecological Issues and Sexual Health in Women
Women, at some point of time or the other experience infections like Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) which is caused due to a bacterial growth in the urinary tract or Yeast infections which is caused due to excessive growth of the Candida fungus (22). According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (24), at least 40-60 percent of women develop UTI at some point in their lifetime. According to a 2018 study, ACV might be effective in curbing the growth of E.Coli.
The compounds found in ACV can also help with the inflammation caused due to the infection. Since it is antibacterial and antifungal in nature, it may help in reducing the chances of developing these infections but in case you develop any such issues, it is always better to go old school and see a doctor to get the appropriate treatment.
Since Apple Cider Vinegar has been claimed to be a miracle cure for all ailments in recent times, some people would like to believe that it can cure cancer as well. In fact, Nobel Prize winner Otto Warburg suggested that Cancer was caused due to lack of nutrition and would not develop in people who had a well-balanced natural diet. He also believed that high levels of acidity and low oxygen levels in the body caused cancer since the cancer cells secreted lactic acid as they grew. Based on this theory, some people believed that alkalizing the body by the introduction of ingredients such as ACV in one’s diet could make bloodless acidic and help to kill cancer cells.
Even though some studies have suggested that cancer cells grow more rapidly in an acidic environment, most of the research regarding cancer cells have been conducted on animals and tissue samples. A study involving stomach cancer cells and from rats and hum beings in a test tube discovered that Acetic acid did in fact kill the cancer cells. However, it must be noted that the experiment was conducted in a laboratory on some cells and not on humans so the results might not be very conclusive.
Even though studies suggest that cancer cells grow more rapidly in an acidic environment, there is no evidence suggesting that they don’t grow in an alkaline environment as well. It is always advisable to go as per the doctor’s advice when it comes to life-threatening diseases like cancer instead of trying alternate remedies which have no proof of being effective. It can end up doing more harm than good.
Due to Apple Cider Vinegar’s natural ability to balance the skin’s pH level, it can be used as a toner by mixing 1 part ACV with 2 parts of filtered water. Not only will it give your skin a youthful look but it will also help reduce breakouts and acne-related problems. It also helps in diminishing dark spots and wrinkles due to its anti-aging properties when used routinely over a period of time.
Apple Cider Vinegar can be used as a preventative alternative for Osteoporosis. ACV helps the body to release calcium and other minerals from the food we eat into the body and helps in absorption. Sometimes, high acidic levels make it difficult for the body to absorb all the nutrients efficiently from our diet. However, it is extremely important to regulate your intake of ACV in line with the daily recommended amount since consuming too much ACV can damage your bone density and actually cause bone loss among other problems.
There is a report about a 28-year-old woman who had consumed 250 ml of ACV diluted in water daily over a period of 6 years. She ended up in the hospital with bone loss and low potassium levels amongst other problems. She was later diagnosed with Osteoporosis which is rarely seen in someone so young. It should be safe to consume 1-2 tablespoons of ACV diluted in water every day but it is always better to check the recommended dosage before consuming. ACV is not a miracle cure for all kinds of ailments and diseases but we have established that it can play an important supportive function when dealing with or trying to prevent certain diseases.
Incorporating Apple Cider Vinegar in your diet may boost your metabolism, improve your digestive health, help you to lose weight and lead an overall healthy life. But, let’s not forget that none of the above can be achieved by consuming ACV alone. It is equally important to lead a healthy lifestyle, have a balanced diet suited to your health requirements and be physically active to reap the benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar. Note: Please go through the dosage column before you use the product