Complementary Medicine / Alternative Medicine Nutrition / Diet

Apple cider vinegar: Health benefits and how to use it

In food flavorings and preservatives, Apple cider vinegar is prevalent. Some evidence shows that it can also have many health advantages, including regulation of blood sugar, weight loss, and improved cholesterol.

Apple cider vinegar is an acidic product produced from fermented apples that is sour-tasting. For a minimum of 30 days, crushed apples, water, and yeast remain at room temperature. The yeast transforms the sugars from the apples into alcohol during this time. The alcohol is then converted into vinegar by bacteria.

In order to help flavor and preserve food, people have used apple cider vinegar for decades. Many individuals today say that apple cider vinegar has certain therapeutic properties as well.

We analyze the facts and address the possible health benefits of apple cider vinegar in this article. Possible side effects and how to use apple cider vinegar for health benefits are also addressed.

Lowering blood sugar

Consuming apple cider vinegar may improve a person’s blood sugar control.
Consuming apple cider vinegar may improve a person’s blood sugar control.

A variety of health issues may result from high blood sugar levels. In particular, to prevent complications such as nerve, kidney, eye, and heart disorders, people who have type 2 diabetes need to keep their blood sugar levels under good control.

Some small studies indicate that it may help to boost blood sugar regulation by drinking apple cider vinegar.

A study of eight individuals found that those who ate vinegar before consuming a meal had lower after-meal levels of insulin and triglycerides than those who received a placebo.

Six percent acetic acid was found in the vinegar, which is similar to the amount in most apple cider vinegar. Both participants had decreased glucose tolerance or levels of blood sugar higher than average.

An analysis of several small clinical trials showed that there were small decreases in blood sugar levels in people who drank apple cider vinegar for 8 to 12 weeks.

A meta-analysis also found that after a meal, individuals who took vinegar with a meal had lower insulin and blood sugar levels than those who got a placebo.

Aiding weight loss

Again, a few small studies indicate that vinegar from apple cider can assist with weight loss.

One research, for instance, showed that individuals who ate apple cider vinegar lost more weight along with a low-calorie diet than those who followed the diet alone.

Participants had a lower body mass index and less belly fat after 12 weeks of drinking 30 milliliters of apple cider vinegar per day, and showed a lower appetite than those who did not use the vinegar.

The researchers found that there was also a decreased appetite among those who took apple cider vinegar every day. Another research, however, contradicts this last result. Its authors note that vinegar in individuals who took it simply induced nausea, resulting in less desire to eat.

Cholesterol and triglycerides

Cholesterol test image
Apple cider vinegar may lower cholesterol levels.

High levels of triglycerides and cholesterol may raise the risk of heart disease and stroke in an individual. A high overall level of cholesterol also increases the risk of heart issues.

Some research indicates that both total cholesterol and triglycerides may be reduced by taking apple cider vinegar.

The results of taking apple cider vinegar in individuals on a low calorie diet were examined in a 12-week study. The researchers noticed that not only did people taking apple cider vinegar lose more weight than those taking a placebo, but they also had lower triglycerides and overall cholesterol.

There were also substantially increased levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol among the individuals who took apple cider vinegar. HDL cholesterol is often referred to by doctors as “good cholesterol” because it can help minimize the risk of heart attacks.

Antifungal characteristics

Fungal infections can range from mild problems to life-threatening issues. Most commonly, in the mouth, throat, and vagina, people get fungal infections.

People with type 2 diabetes may be at a higher risk of contracting fungal infections, especially if their blood sugar levels are not well controlled.

A common cause of fungal infections in humans is Candida albicans. Candida infections may be long-lasting in certain individuals and can become immune to antifungal drugs.

Some research indicates that as an antifungal drug, apple cider vinegar may have potential.

A man with type 2 diabetes who had a chronic fungal infection in the mouth due to Candida is mentioned in one case study. For 7 days, the individual added apple cider vinegar to his mouth twice a day. A 94 percent reduction in the fungal count affecting the mouth occurred after treatment.

In another case report, a woman who did not respond to therapy had chronic vaginal Candida for 5 years. The application of apple cider vinegar cleaned up the contamination of the fungus.

A test tube study also found that the Candida species that causes denture stomatitis, a fungal infection in the mouth that can occur when a person wears dentures, can destroy apple cider vinegar, which contains 4 percent maleic acid.

Antibacterial properties

It is also true that Apple cider vinegar has antibacterial properties. One test tube research showed that Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus, the bacteria responsible for staph infections, were efficiently destroyed by apple cider vinegar.

Another analysis of test tubes showed that apple cider vinegar was as good at destroying Enterococcus faecalis as 5 percent sodium hypochlorite. This bacteria exists naturally in healthy humans in the bowel and gut, but can cause severe infections.

Hair and skin care

Apple cider vinegar may improve hair shine and smoothness.
Apple cider vinegar may improve hair shine and smoothness.

To further promote shine and smoothness, many individuals use apple cider vinegar as a hair rinse. Although these advantages have not been confirmed by research, the acidic nature of vinegar can lend itself to hair use.

One analysis indicates that alkaline products for hair can cause hair to become damaged and frizzy. With its acidic properties, the application of apple cider vinegar can improve the condition or appearance of the hair.

Some individuals use apple cider vinegar as a cure for skin toner or acne, although there are no clinical evidence supporting these uses.

Side effects of apple cider vinegar

Tooth enamel is the hard outer surface of teeth. Through excessive and harsh brushing, an individual may wear down tooth enamel. It may also cause harm by drinking too many acidic foods and beverages.

It does not develop back after tooth enamel has been worn down. Weakened or absent enamel leaves the teeth susceptible and sensitive to cavities.

Since it is acidic, the daily ingestion by mouth of undiluted apple cider vinegar can damage the enamel of the tooth. When taken regularly, the acid in apple cider vinegar can also be unpleasant or harmful to the throat.

Applying vinegar directly to the skin can cause burns and irritation, according to the United States National Capital Poison Center (NCPC). The NCPC lists many cases of individuals seeking medical attention for long periods after suffering extreme burns from vinegar, including apple cider vinegar, on their skin.

Apple cider vinegar can also burn and irritate the eyes, so when applying it to the face, hair, and scalp, people should use caution. The NCPC does not recommend that vinegar be used for wound treatment.

How to use apple cider vinegar

For its numerous health uses, experts have not defined safe or recommended quantities of apple cider vinegar. Before using apple cider vinegar to treat a medical condition, or when using it in large amounts, people should first consult with a doctor.

Using it in small quantities in food and dressings is the safest way to eat apple cider vinegar.

Diluting apple cider vinegar with water can be better and gentler on the teeth and throat if consumed directly.

Try to mix 1 teaspoon of vinegar with a minimum of 8 ounces of sugar, or a glass of water. No more than twice a day, take it. People who find the taste unpleasant may want to further dilute it.

Individuals must avoid eating apple cider vinegar if it causes:

Use a cotton ball and allow it to dry when applying apple cider vinegar to the skin. Do not hold it with compresses on your skin and apply it no more than once a day. Immediately clean it off and if burning happens, call a doctor.

Takeaway

Apple cider vinegar is a low calorie way for foods to add flavor. While some small studies and case reports indicate that apple cider vinegar may have a number of potential health properties, to validate these benefits, several more large-scale studies are needed.

Apple cider vinegar should not be used by people to supplement the medical procedures a doctor recommends. Individuals should always speak to a medical practitioner before using vinegar to treat any condition.

Apple cider vinegar is healthy when a person uses it as a food flavoring or dressing in limited quantities. The apple cider vinegar, however, is acidic. The use of undiluted vinegar can damage teeth, irritate the throat and eyes, and cause skin burns.