Should You be Drinking Apple Cider Vinegar?
It doesn’t take much searching to find an incredibly long (and often entertaining) list of purported health benefits of apple cider vinegar (ACV). With headlines like, “13 Reasons Apple Cider Vinegar Is the Magic Potion You Need in Your Life” who wouldn’t want to run out and buy the biggest bottle available. How many of these claims have been scientifically proven though? Human studies are clearly lacking, but some evidence in studies on rats indicate the reports may not all be hype.
First though, why ACV as opposed to any other type of vinegar. Acetic acid is what gives all vinegar their characteristic tang. It’s the percentage of this acid that differs between the different types of vinegar. White wine vinegar and balsamic vinegar are on the higher end of acidity and rice wine and coconut vinegar are on the lower end. Apple cider vinegar is slightly higher in vitamins and minerals than distilled vinegar, but it would need to be consumed in large quantities to make a real nutritional difference.
Here’s a brief break-down of the evidence:
A likely benefit:
Pre-diabetes – ACV has been proven to reduce blood glucose levels by 50% in people who are not diabetic and those with pre-diabetes. For those with diabetes much lower results were noted.
Heart disease – ACV has been proven to reduce blood pressure, triglycerides and cholesterol.
Leukemia – in vitro studies showed a reduction of human leukemia cells using naturally fermented sugar cane vinegar.
Teeth whitener – this is the suggestion that makes dentists cringe! Anything acidic which contacts your teeth (this includes lemon or lime juice) will wear out tooth enamel, the protective coating on each tooth, and cause cavities.
Head lice – vinegar was found to be the least effective method among other natural solutions for killing either adults lice or larvae.
Wart removal – warts are caused by a virus, so vinegar is going to be an ineffective cure.
It is important to inform your doctor if you are regularly consuming any type of vinegar as it could interact with diuretics, laxatives and medication for diabetes and heart disease.
Mimura A, Suzuki Y, Hyodoh F, et al. Induction of apoptosis in human leukemia cells by naturally fermented sugar cane vinegar (kibizu) of Amami Ohshima Island. Biofactors [serial online]. December 2004;22(1-4):93-97. Available from: Academic Search Premier, Ipswich, MA. Accessed May 21, 2017 (See source here)
Nazıroğlu M1, Güler M, Özgül C, Saydam G, et al. Apple cider vinegar modulates serum lipid profile, erythrocyte, kidney, and liver membrane oxidative stress in ovariectomized mice fed high cholesterol. The Journal of Membrane Biology. 2014 Aug;247(8):667-73. doi: 10.1007/s00232-014-9685-5. Epub 2014 Jun 4. Available from US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health Search database. Accessed May 21, 2017. (See source here)
Östman E, Granfeldt Y, Persson L, Björck I. Vinegar supplementation lowers glucose and insulin responses and increases satiety after a bread meal in healthy subjects. European Journal Of Clinical Nutrition [serial online]. September 2005;59(9):983-988. Available from: Academic Search Premier, Ipswich, MA. Accessed May 21, 2017. (See source here)