Vinegar has been used for many centuries as a household item as well as for cooking. It has been used as a folk remedy, with many claims as to its health benefits.
Apple cider vinegar is believed to have especially healthful properties. Here are some known benefits of apple cider vinegar that have been supported by science:
• It is high in acetic acid. Vinegar is made in a way similar to alcohol. You take apple cider or crushed apples and add yeast to it. The yeast ferments the apple cider into alcohol. Then bacteria are added to the alcohol so that the alcohol is fermented even further—down to make acetic acid, which is the main component of apple cider vinegar.
• It contains proteins, friendly bacteria, and proteins, which provides its health benefits. It is low in calories, containing about three calories a tablespoon. It contains a bit of potassium along with large amounts of acetic acid.
• It is an antimicrobial agent. Apple cider vinegar can help decrease the bacterial count in some body areas. It has uses in the treatment of ear infections, lice, warts, and nail fungus, where it acts as a disinfectant. It was used thousands of years ago by Hippocrates, who used it to clean dirty wounds. It is used as a food preservative because it inhibits the growth of E. coli in food. It may be beneficial in killing the bacteria that causes acne.
• It lowers blood sugar levels. Apple cider vinegar is good for diabetics; especially type 2 diabetics with insulin resistance. It may be useful even in non-diabetics who suffer from high blood sugar on occasion by keeping blood sugars stable. Vinegar helps insulin work better by improving insulin sensitivity by 19-34 percent after eating a meal high in carbohydrates.
• It also reduces blood glucose levels by 34 percent after taking in a 50-gram load of white bread. Two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar, when taken prior to going to bed, can lower the fasting blood glucose level by four percent.
It has been shown in many other studies to increase the sensitivity of insulin in the system after meals. It is believed to be helpful in people who have pre-diabetes, diabetes, or elevated blood glucose levels for other reasons. Be sure to check with your physician if you are taking it along with medications to lower blood sugar.
• Weight loss. Apple cider vinegar decreases blood glucose levels, which means you, take in fewer calories as sugar. It can increase your satiety so that you don’t take in as many calories and can actually lose weight just by taking in the vinegar with meals. You can feel fuller after taking apple cider vinegar with a high carbohydrate meal so that you eat about 200 to 275 calories less than you otherwise would. This turns into actual weight loss over a period of time.
One study showed that drinking apple cider vinegar every day lessened the waist circumference, the amount of belly fat, and the triglyceride level in obese people. The bottom line is that taking in apple cider vinegar can bring about satiety so you eat less and therefore lose weight.
• Heart health. Heart disease is a leading cause of death in developed countries. It turns out that drinking apple cider vinegar can lessen the triglyceride and cholesterol levels. Apple cider vinegar also contains chlorogenic acid, which is a known antioxidant. This prevents the oxidation of LDL cholesterol, which ultimately leads to a reduction in heart disease.
It also reduces blood pressure in animal studies. Women who ate vinegar-containing salad dressings had a decreased risk of heart disease. Clearly, more human studies need to be done to see the full effect of apple cider vinegar on heart health.
• Cancer protection. There have been some studies indicating that vinegar has the capability to shrink tumors and kill cancer cells. These studies have all been done in vitro (in a test tube) or in rats but not in human studies.
The studies done were performed on rice vinegar and not on apple cider vinegar. It is believed that the drinking of vinegar between the Chinese lessened the risk of esophageal cancer but increased the risk of bladder cancer. Clearly, more studies need to be performed to see the effectiveness of apple cider vinegar on humans who are at risk for cancer.
Dosage and Side Effects
There are some claims on the internet that apple cider vinegar has other health benefits but this hasn’t been proven in research studies. While this is folklore, it may someday hold true in scientific studies. It is certainly safe to take with no side effects when taken in moderate amounts.
It is best to take your apple cider vinegar as part of something you cook but it can be diluted with water and taken as a drink.
A common dose of apple cider vinegar is about 1-2 tsp to 1-2 tbsp. each day. You shouldn’t go above that level because there may be side effects like upset stomach.