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For centuries, vinegar has been used for various household and cooking purposes. It is also an ancient folk remedy, claimed to help with all sorts of health problems. The most popular vinegar in the natural health community is Apple Cider Vinegar.
It is claimed to lead to all sorts of beneficial effects… some of which are supported by science. This includes weight loss, lower blood sugar levels and improved symptoms of diabetes.
Here are 6 health benefits of apple cider vinegar, that are supported by scientific research.
1. Apple Cider Vinegar is High in Acetic Acid, Which Has Potent Biological Effects
Apple cider vinegar is made by fermenting the sugars from apples. This turns them into acetic acid, the active ingredient in vinegar.
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. Some people believe that the “mother” is responsible for most of the health benefits, although there are currently no studies to support this.Bragg Logo
Apple cider vinegar only contains about 3 calories per tablespoon, which is very low. There are not many vitamins or minerals in it, but it does contain a tiny amount of potassium. Quality apple cider vinegar also contains some amino acids and antioxidants.
2. Acetic Acid is a Potent Antimicrobial and Can Kill Some 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.
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.
Bottom Line: The main substance in vinegar, acetic acid, can kill bacteria and/or prevent them from multiplying and reaching harmful levels. It has a history of use as a disinfectant and natural preservative.
3. Apple Cider Vinegar May Lower Blood Sugar Levels, Which is Very Useful For Diabetics
Apple cider vinegar has shown great promise in improving insulin sensitivity and helping to lower blood sugar responses after meals.
By far the most successful application of vinegar to date, is in patients with type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is characterized by elevated blood sugars, either in the context of insulin resistance or an inability to produce insulin.
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%.
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.
4. There Are Some Studies Showing That Apple Cider Vinegar Can Help With Weight Loss
Apple Cider Vinegar JarGiven 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. By reducing calorie intake, this should translate to reduced weight over time.
Overall, it seems like apple cider vinegar may be useful as a weight loss aid, mainly by promoting satiety and lowering glucose and insulin levels.
Bottom Line: Studies suggest that vinegar can increase feelings of fullness and help people eat fewer calories, which can lead to weight loss.
5. Apple Cider Vinegar May Have Some Benefits For Heart Health
Cardiovascular 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.
Apple cider vinegar may also contain the antioxidant chlorogenic acid, which has been shown to protect LDL cholesterol particles from becoming oxidized, a crucial step in the heart disease process.
6. Vinegar May be Protective Against Cancer
Cancer is a terrible disease, characterized by 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 proves nothing about what happens in a living, breathing human. Additionally, most of the studies were done on rice vinegar, not apple cider vinegar. 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.
Bottom Line: Some studies in test tubes and rats have shown that rice vinegar can slow the growth of cancer cells and shrink tumors.
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.
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.
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 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.
Bragg’s seems to be the most popular option, although we also supply other brands such as Biona and Raw Health.
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 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. It’s not a “miracle” or a “cure-all” like some people seem to believe, but it does clearly have some important health benefits, especially for blood sugar and weight control.