For centuries, vinegar has been used for various domestic and cooking purposes. It is also an old folk remedy, it has been claimed that it helps with all kinds of health problems. The most popular vinegar among people who prefer natural medicine alternatives is apple cider vinegar. It is claimed that it leads to all kinds of benefits, some of which are supported by science. This includes weight loss, lower blood sugar levels and improved diabetes symptoms. Here are 6 health benefits that apple cider vinegar can bring you, which are supported by scientific research.
1. High Content of Acetic Acid, Which has Powerful Biological Effects:
Vinegar is made in a two-step process, related to how alcohol is made. The first step exposes crushed apples (or apple cider) to yeast, which ferment sugars and turn them into alcohol. In the second step, bacteria are added to the alcoholic solution, which also ferments the alcohol and converts it into acetic acid … the main active compound in the vinegar. In French, the word “vinegar” really means “bitter wine.” Unfiltered organic apple cider vinegar (such as Bragg’s) also contains “mother”, protein strands, enzymes and friendly bacteria that give the product a cloudy appearance and something similar to the appearance of a spider web. Some people believe that this type of vinegar contains enzymes that are responsible for most of the health benefits, although there are currently no studies to support this. Apple cider vinegar only contains about 3 calories per tablespoon, which is very low. There are not many vitamins or minerals in it, but it contains a small amount of potassium. Quality apple cider vinegar also contains some amino acids and antioxidants.
Summary: Apple cider vinegar is made by fermenting the sugars in apples. This makes them acetic acid, the active ingredient in vinegar.
2. It can Kill Many Types of Bacteria:
Vinegar can help kill pathogens, including bacteria. It has been traditionally used for cleaning and disinfection, the treatment of nail fungus, lice, warts and ear infections. However, many of these applications have not been confirmed by research. Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, used vinegar for wound cleansing over two thousand years ago. Vinegar has been used as a food preservative, and studies show that it inhibits the growth of bacteria in foods (such as E. coli) and prevents them from being damaged. If you are looking for a natural way to preserve food … then apple cider vinegar could be very useful. There have also been anecdotal reports that diluted apple cider vinegar helps with acne when applied to the skin, but I didn’t find any research to confirm this, so take it with caution.
Summary: The main substance in vinegar, acetic acid, can kill bacteria and / or prevent them from multiplying and reaching harmful levels. It has a history of use as a disinfectant and natural preservative.
3. It Lowers Blood Sugar Levels and is Very Useful Against Diabetes:
So far and by far the most successful application of vinegar to date, it is found in patients with type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is characterized by elevated blood sugar levels, either in the context of insulin resistance or the inability to produce insulin. However, the increase in blood sugar can also be a problem in people who do not have diabetes … it is believed to be one of the leading causes of aging and various chronic diseases. Therefore, almost everyone should benefit from keeping their blood sugar levels stable. The most effective (and healthiest) way to do this is to avoid refined carbohydrates and sugar, but apple cider vinegar can also have a powerful effect.
Vinegar has been shown to have numerous benefits for insulin function and blood sugar levels:
- It improves insulin sensitivity during a high carbohydrate meal by 19-34% and significantly reduces blood glucose and insulin responses.
- Reduce blood sugar by 34% after eating 50 grams of white bread.
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar before bedtime can reduce fasting blood sugar levels by 4%.
- Numerous other studies, both in rats and in humans, show that vinegar can increase insulin sensitivity and significantly lower blood sugar levels during meals.
For these reasons, vinegar can be useful for people with diabetes, pre-diabetes, or those who want to keep their blood sugar levels within normality for other reasons. If you are currently taking medications to reduce blood sugar, consult your doctor before increasing your intake of apple cider vinegar.
Summary: Apple cider vinegar has proven to be a great promise in improving insulin sensitivity and reducing blood sugar responses after meals.
4. It Helps You Lose Weight by Making You Feel Full:
Since vinegar lowers blood sugar levels and insulin, it makes sense that it could help you lose weight. Several studies in humans suggest that apple cider vinegar can increase satiety, help you eat fewer calories and even lead to actual losses of grams on the scale. Vinegar along with high carbohydrate meals can increase the feeling of fullness and make people eat between 200 and 275 fewer calories for the rest of the day. By reducing calorie intake, the result should be a decrease in weight over time. A study in obese people showed that daily consumption of vinegar led to a decrease in abdominal fat, waist circumference, blood triglyceride levels and weight loss:
- 15mL (1 scoop): Lost 2.6 pounds, or 1.2 kilograms.
- 30mL (2 tablespoons): Lost 3.7 pounds, or 1.7 kilograms.
However … keep in mind that this study lasted for 12 weeks, so the true effects on body weight seem to be quite modest. That said, only the addition / subtraction of individual foods or ingredients rarely have a noticeable effect on weight. For effects to be seen in your diet or in your lifestyle … it is necessary to combine several effective methods to see the results. In general, it seems that apple cider vinegar can be useful as an aid for weight loss, mainly by helping with the feeling of satiety and reducing glucose and insulin levels. But it will not lead to any miracle by itself.
Summary: Studies suggest that vinegar can increase the sensation of fullness and help people eat fewer calories, which can lead to weight loss.
5. Reduce Cholesterol and Reduce the Risk of Heart Disease:
Cardiovascular diseases (heart disease and strokes) are currently the leading cause of death in the world.
“It is known that several measurable biological factors are related to the increase or reduction of cardiovascular disease risk”.
Several of these “risk factors” have been shown to be improved by vinegar consumption … but all studies were conducted in rats. These studies in rats showed that apple cider vinegar can reduce cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Apple cider vinegar may also contain chlorogenic acid, an antioxidant that has been shown to protect LDL cholesterol particles from oxidation, a crucial step in the process of heart disease. There are also some studies that show that vinegar lowers blood pressure (an important risk factor) in rats. Unfortunately, what works in animals does not always work in humans. The only human evidence is a Harvard observational study that shows that women who eat salad dressings with vinegar had a lower risk of heart disease. But this type of study can only show an association, it cannot prove that vinegar caused any effect.
Summary: Several animal studies have shown that apple cider vinegar can reduce blood triglycerides, cholesterol and blood pressure, but this must be confirmed in human studies.
6. May Have Protective Effects Against Cancer:
Cancer is a chronic disease, characterized by uncontrolled cell growth. There are many comments online about the effects against cancer of apple cider vinegar. Some studies have shown that vinegar can kill cancer cells and reduce tumors. However, all studies on this were done in isolated cells in test tubes, or rats, which prove nothing about what happens in a human being who lives, and breathes. In addition, most studies were conducted with rice vinegar, not with apple cider vinegar. That said, some observational studies (which show nothing) have indicated that vinegar intake is linked to decreased esophageal cancer in China, but increased bladder cancer in Serbia. In general … it is possible that apple cider vinegar may help prevent cancer, but it is definitely premature to make recommendations based on current research.
Summary: Some studies in test tubes and rats have shown that rice vinegar can slow the growth of cancer cells and reduce tumors.
Side Effects, Dosage and How to Use it:
- There are a lot of wild claims about apple cider vinegar on the Internet.
- Some say it can increase energy levels and have all kinds of beneficial health effects.
- Unfortunately … many of these claims are not supported by science.
- Of course, the absence of evidence is not proof that something is not happening and after all, anecdotes often end up being supported by science.
- That said, I would not hold my breath waiting for more studies, since research on natural health-related products such as these are few and far between.
- From the little evidence available, I think that apple cider vinegar can be useful and is definitely a good candidate to do some experimentation for yourself if you are interested in it.
- At least, apple cider vinegar seems to be safe. There are no side effects observed with normal consumption.
- The best way to incorporate it into your diet is to use it in your kitchen … for salad dressings, homemade mayonnaise and such things.
- Some people also like to dilute it in water and drink it as a drink. Common doses vary from 1 to 2 teaspoons (5-10 ml) to 1 or 2 tablespoons (15-30 ml) per day.
- You should definitely not take it above that, because excess consumption can have detrimental effects.
- It is also possible to take it in the form of a pill or pill, but I do not recommend it because a 2005 study showed that the true vinegar content of these supplements was highly questionable.
- There is also a report of a woman who had a tablet of apple cider vinegar trapped in her throat, and therefore suffered esophageal burns.
- Apple cider vinegar also has several other non-health related uses such as hair conditioning, skin care, dental care, use on pets and as a cleaning agent (to name a few).
- These can be very useful for people who like to keep things as natural and chemical free as possible.
- At the end of the day, apple cider vinegar seems to be very healthy.
- It is not a “miracle” or a “cure-all” as some people seem to believe, but it clearly has some important health benefits, especially for blood sugar and weight control.