Apple cider vinegar has been hailed as a cure-all for many common ailments, including weight gain and indigestion. But what is the truth about apple cider vinegar? Is it really a magical potion or just old folk remedies in modern bottles?
What is Apple Cider Vinegar?
Apple cider vinegar comes from the process of fermenting apples which turn them into alcohol. The alcohol itself can be distilled to produce apple brandy, but with apple cider vinegar the fermentation process goes further until acetic acid bacteria convert the alcohol into acetic acid (vinegar). This results in vinegar that may vary widely in color depending on its production process and age.
How Does Apple Cider Vinegar Benefit Health?
ACV Claims: There are a number of health claims made about apple cider vinegar. These include: weight loss, lowered blood pressure and cholesterol, increased energy, curing heartburn and indigestion, warding off colds and flu, cleansing the kidneys, relieving seasonal allergies, and detoxifying the body.
Everyone has an opinion about apple cider vinegar’s health benefits but there have been very few scientific studies that have found evidence to support these benefits.
There is some promising research that shows that vinegar may offer a variety of health benefits including improved blood glucose control in people with diabetes 1, reduced blood pressure 2, decreased inflammation 3, 4, and improved digestion 5.
Apple Cider Vinegar Benefits for Blood Glucose Control
Several human studies suggest that vinegar can increase satiety and decrease subsequent food intake at mealtime 6, 7, which may lead to reduced body weight over time 8.
One study conducted in Japan gave diabetic patients either 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar or water before bed for 12 weeks found that the vinegar group had significant reductions in blood glucose levels 9.
Apple Cider Vinegar Benefits For Blood Pressure
Human studies have shown that drinking 1-2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar daily may reduce systolic (the top number) blood pressure by 3-6 mm Hg 5. It has also been shown that apple cider could lower blood pressure in people with hypertension 2.
Animal studies suggest that this effect is due to an active ingredient called ATI – acetate, propionate, and isobutyrate – which may be responsible for producing positive effects on blood pressure 10.
Apple Cider Vinegar Benefits for Inflammation
Studies in mice indicate that feeding them apple cider vinegar reduces plasma triglyceride (fat) levels 11, and improves glucose tolerance 12.
Two human studies have found that vinegar may reduce inflammatory markers in people with metabolic syndrome 13 and rheumatoid arthritis 14. However, it is still not clear whether these changes are beneficial or not.
Apple Cider Vinegar Benefits For Digestion
There is no scientific evidence to support claims of improved digestion from ACV when taken before a meal 5. Animal studies do show that when taken with a meal, vinegar can improve satiety 7, increase gastric emptying (the rate food leaves the stomach), and slightly decrease post-meal blood glucose levels 15.