Growing up, Apple Cider Vinegar was mostly used in salads and marinades at home.
I didn’t think much of it until my aunt started taking it to relieve acid reflux. More recently, I heard people take Apple Cider Vinegar for weight loss. This made me wonder:
How could vinegar have so many health benefits? What’s in it, exactly?
After doing research, it really has a long history as a natural health tonic. Here’s what I learned about Apple Cider Vinegar and its health benefits.
What is Apple Cider Vinegar?
Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) is basically fermented apple juice commonly used as a condiment. It’s a natural food preservative in pickled fruits, vegetables and meat.
Making it involves a two-step fermentation process:
- Yeast is added to the juice, turning the sugar into alcohol.
- Bacteria transforms the alcohol into acetic acid, turning it into vinegar. Acetic acid is what gives ACV its strong smell and sour taste.
The good news: Acetic Acid is also the key ingredient that gives it many health benefits.
What is Apple Cider Vinegar with ‘The Mother?’
Not all Apple Cider Vinegar is created equal!
Vinegar with ‘the mother’ is unrefined vinegar that still contains the mother culture. These are strands of protein and friendly bacteria that give it a murky appearance. It’s also more potent with acetic acid.
Clear and pasteurized vinegar no longer have the mother culture, so it doesn’t have the same effects. If you want to reap its full benefits, make sure to get a bottle with ‘the mother.’
Is Acetic Acid Really Good for the Body?
Acetic acid is an effective disinfectant that kills many types of harmful bacteria. For thousands of years, ancient Greeks have used Apple Cider Vinegar for cleaning wounds. Soldiers during the American Civil War also used it to help injuries heal faster. Other traditional uses include treating the following conditions:
- Ear infections
- Skin warts
- Lice infestation
- Nail fungus
Acetic acid is also great for relieving many ailments because it restores the body’s acidity levels.
It has a high pH level of 2.5—similar to the acidity of the stomach. In fact, having acid reflux is an example of an alkaline stomach, which means it has low acid levels. Taking ACV helps ease acid-related stomach ailments like indigestion and heartburn.
The truth is, even a slight change in your overall pH can have a great impact on your body. Aside from stomach ailments, you may also experience the following symptoms:
- Muscle twitching around the eye
- Prolonged leg cramps
- Hand tremors
- Nerve pain
The true indicator of the body’s pH level should be a blood test. However, it’s very difficult to detect slight pH changes in the blood. For this reason, it’s important to take note of small symptoms that can indicate you have lowered acid levels.
When your body’s pH turns basic, it hinders mineral absorption. This results in mineral deficiencies. For instance, if you can’t absorb calcium, it starts to build up in your soft tissues. This can lead to kidney stones and cataracts in the eyes.
To counter these effects, you can take Apple Cider Vinegar. It can help restore your body’s pH level, which improve many important functions:
- Digestion and absorption of protein
- Transporting minerals in the body
- Stimulating the thyroid gland
- Stimulating enzymes
- Increasing the body’s metabolism
What Ailments Can Apple Cider Vinegar Help With?
More than a home remedy, it can help treat serious conditions. There’s a good reason why many people are taking it daily. It can help improve the following conditions:
- High Cholesterol, Hypertension and Heart Disease – It lowers triglyceride levels, cholesterol and heart disease. It also prevents cholesterol from clogging the arteries. A study published in the Pakistan Journal of Biological Sciences showed supplementing rats with Apple Cider Vinegar decreases bad cholesterol and increases good cholesterol in the blood.
- High Blood Sugar Levels and Type 2 Diabetes – Research published in Diabetes Care showed consuming it daily improved insulin sensitivity by 34 percent in people with type 2 diabetes. Insulin resistance is common among people with high blood sugar. Consuming Apple Cider Vinegar helped them prevent insulin spikes, keeping blood sugar levels stable.
Severe Acne Breakouts – Ingredients like acetic acid and lactic acid in can stop the growth of Propionibacterium acnes—specific bacteria that causes painful acne. When applied, it also prevents scarring and pigmentation of the skin.
Can Apple Cider Vinegar Really Support Weight Loss?
More recently, studies show acetic acid in helps obesity patients reduce belly fat and lose weight. It can also increase satiety, which makes you feel full longer. This can help you consumer fewer calories. At three calories per tablespoon, it doesn’t hurt to add it in your diet.
The following studies show Apple Cider Vinegar supports weight loss:
- In an experiment published in Bioscience, Biotechnology, and Biochemistry, 175 people took ACV everyday for three months. Results showed those who took 1 tablespoon lost 2.6 lbs, while those who took 2 tablespoons lost 3.7 lbs.
- In a separate study published in the Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications, research showed giving acetic acid to rats protected them from obesity and stimulated genes that reduced belly fat storage.
- Another experiment in Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition tested how acetic acid affects metabolism in rats. Results revealed taking it increased the enzyme adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinas. This decreased fat and sugar production in the liver, which improved metabolism.
How Do I Take Apple Cider Vinegar for Weight Loss?
There are many ways to consume it to lose weight. It’s usually diluted with water or other fresh juices to mask the sour taste. People usually take it 3 times a day before meals. However, before you start taking vinegar, take note:
Take it in small doses.
Too much vinegar can burn your throat, damage your teeth and cause nausea. Just be careful not to ingest pure vinegar without diluting it properly.
Here are simple concoctions you can mix with Apple Cider Vinegar:
1. Plain Water
- 1-2 tablespoons of ACV
- 1 glass of water
2. Warm or hot water with organic honey
- 1-2 tablespoon of ACV
- 1 teaspoon of organic honey – Take note: Avoid sugar or any artificial sweetener
- 1 cup of warm or hot water
3. Water, lemon juice and other ingredients
- 2 teaspoons of ACV in a glass of water
- 1 teaspoon of organic lemon juice (you can use fresh lemon)
- 1 teaspoon of whole cranberry juice
- optional: 1 teaspoon ginger extract
Based on lots of evidence, taking Apple Cider Vinegar can help improve your health. After learning it aids weight loss and lowers blood sugar, I can’t think of it as a mere condiment anymore. We should really have it in every medicine cabinet.
What do you think of Apple Cider Vinegar? Have you tried taking it?
Tell us about it in the comments below!
Bibliography Kondo, T., Kishi, M., Fushimi, T., Ugajin, S., & Kaga, T. (2009). Vinegar Intake Reduces Body Weight, Body Fat Mass, and Serum Triglyceride Levels in Obese Japanese Subjects. Bioscience, Biotechnology, and Biochemistry, 73(8), 1837-1843. doi:10.1271/bbb.90231 Sakakibara, S., Yamauchi, T., Oshima, Y., Tsukamoto, Y., & Kadowaki, T. (2006). Acetic acid activates hepatic AMPK and reduces hyperglycemia in diabetic KK-A(y) mice. Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications, 344(2), 597-604. doi:10.1016/j.bbrc.2006.03.176 Yamashita, H. (2015). Biological Function of Acetic Acid–Improvement in Obesity and Glucose Tolerance by Acetic Acid in Type 2 Diabetic Rats. Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, 56(Sup1). doi:10.1080/10408398.2015.1045966
(2008). Apple Cider Vinegar Attenuates Lipid Profile in Normal and Diabetic Rats. Pakistan Journal of Biological Sciences, 11(23), 2634-2638. doi:10.3923/pjbs.2008.2634.2638
Johnston, C. S., Kim, C. M., & Buller, A. J. (2003). Vinegar Improves Insulin Sensitivity to a High-Carbohydrate Meal in Subjects With Insulin Resistance or Type 2 Diabetes. Diabetes Care, 27(1), 281-282. doi:10.2337/diacare.27.1.281