Apple cider vinegar is a trendy health nut supplement that’s taken the intermittent fasting, keto, and fitness community by storm in recent years. Yet, how could it be good for you? Drinking pure vinegar just sounds… gross. However, thanks to recent research and development in the supplement world, you can consume this health elixir in a variety of different ways to receive the boasting benefits of weight loss, digestion, skin health, and more in this guide to 6 apple cider vinegar health benefits for overall wellness.
ACV is created by fermenting apples with yeast to produce alcohol. This cider then undergoes a further fermentation step in order to convert the alcohol to acetic acid, which is one of the key components in vinegar (1).
ACV is mainly water, as it contains little to no fat, carbs or protein in a typical portion. It does contain a small amount of potassium, but one tablespoon only provides about 8-11mg of potassium which is 0.2 – 0.3% of an adult’s daily requirements. ACV can also naturally contain small amounts of antioxidants (2, 3).
Ordinary vinegar contains about 4% acetic acid, whereas ACV usually contains 5-6% acetic acid (4). Many of the claimed health benefits of ACV are related to acetic acid.
Organic cold-pressed ACV which is cloudy in appearance contains crushed pieces of apple called ‘must’. Within the must there is a substance known as ‘the mother’ of vinegar, which is a combination of yeast and bacteria (4). Therefore this type of SCV falls into the category of a fermented food which contains probiotics (beneficial bacteria). However, it is unclear whether this actually impacts our health, as the bacteria may not survive digestion and make it to the gut alive.
What Is Apple Cider Vinegar Good For
Apple cider vinegar is full of vitamins, minerals, and enzymes in their raw form. It contains sediment leftover from the fermentation process of apples. Unpasteurized sediment detoxifies, wipes out bad bacteria, and leaves the upper and lower intestines in optimal conditions to absorb nutrients. Ultimately, the goal is to have your body at a 7.4 pH to reap the ultimate weight loss and toning rewards of your nutrition plan.
For most, ACV is regarded to be ‘Mother Nature’s Perfect Food’. When ACV is in its raw organic form, it’s made from fresh, crushed apples which are allowed to then mature naturally in wooden barrels. Wood is the chosen form of a barrel, versus metal or otherwise, because of its ability to actually boost the natural fermentation process. Similar to kombucha, natural and content-rich
Apple Cider Vinegar is a rich, brownish color, with a ‘cobweb-like’ substances floating around, called the ‘mother’
ACV doesn’t require refrigeration, and as time goes on, the more mature the ‘mother’ is the richer in nutrients, and the lower it is found in a bottle. It’s no secret that ACV is pungent, to say the least – you’ll find yourself puckering pretty hard and your eyes might even water a bit. Crying because it’s so good? Maybe. But the benefits far outweigh the temporary remorse that strikes your senses when ingesting ACV.
Apple Cider Vinegar: How To Drink
Apple cider vinegar isn’t exactly the easiest thing to just drink due to the harsh taste when not diluted or taken in liquid form. However, due to the proposed benefits, the taste isn’t the reason to avoid this health elixir. Here are a few suggestions on how to drink apple cider vinegar.
- Dilute: In the morning, we recommend mixing 1-2 tbsp of AV with 1 cup of warm water. The warm water makes the mixture not as harsh, and we always recommend drinking with water because vinegar, when undiluted, can actually damage the esophagus and throat lining. Additionally, if you get into a good routine and this is something you’re going to be doing daily, we recommend drinking the mixture with a straw, as over time vinegar is rather harsh on tooth enamel.
- Drink ACV in the AM: Not only does it go well on an empty stomach as the first thing you introduce your stomach to after a long slumber, but more of the ACV can also actually be absorbed rather than broken down and passed with other food contents. Drinking apple cider vinegar during intermittent fasting also has a variety of benefits to get the most of your fast.
- Add Apple Cider Vinegar to food: ACV makes a great addition to recipes, especially when making a homemade marinade and/or salad dressing.
- Supplement with Apple Cider Vinegar Gummies: You can still get a robust amount of nutrients and benefit from opting for ACV gummies instead of the liquid. Unlike the powder version of ACV capsules, gummies maintain more nutrients, especially when combined with other antioxidant ingredients, like pomegranate.
Apple Cider Vinegar Gummies
There’s no more enjoyable way to supplement your diet and health with apple cider vinegar than with apple cider vinegar gummies. Not only is the harsh vinegar taste-masked, but they also come with a small variety of other ingredients to maximize absorption and deliver a more robust nutrient profile.
Swolverine’s apple cider vinegar gummies are made in the USA, in an FDA-registered, cGMP-certified facility. They’re an unfiltered, non-GMO, gluten-free, vegan formula bursting with antioxidants, fiber, and rich superfoods to support a healthy gut. Derived from California grown apples, each gummy is loaded with pomegranate, beetroot, vitamin B6, B9, B12, potassium, and pectin (from orange peels) to support overall health and wellness while maximizing absorption.
6 Apple Cider Vinegar Benefits
1. Weight Loss
One of the most common claims about ACV is that it promotes weight loss.
There aren’t many studies which focus specifically on ACV and weight loss. There is some evidence that vinegar in general may promote weight loss due to its impact on: appetite, insulin function and metabolism.
A small study in 2018 found that consuming two tablespoons of ACV along with a 250 kcal deficit per day for 12 weeks led to a significant reduction in visceral fat (fat which surrounds organs in our abdomen) and an average weight loss of 4kg, as compared with 2.3kg weight loss in the control group (who followed a 250 kcal deficit per day without consuming ACV).
Similarly, a study from 2009 found that consuming ordinary vinegar with a meal may reduce appetite and participants consumed 200 – 275 less calories at the meal. However, this study didn’t monitor whether this impacted weight over time.
A Japanese trial of obese adults found that consuming one or two tablespoons of vinegar per day led to lower: body weight, waist circumference and visceral fat. Some animal studies have also found that acetic acid may lead to reductions in body fat.
Overall, there are some interesting findings related to vinegar and weight loss. However, there is a lack of human data – especially in terms of studies which focus specifically on ACV and weight loss.
2. Heart Disease
The study mentioned above, which compared adults who consumed a daily 250 kcal deficit with or without ACV, also found that the ACV group had significantly better cholesterol and lower triglyceride levels after 12 weeks. Beyond this, there isn’t much evidence specific to ACV and heart disease in humans.
There are a few human studies which found significant improvements in markers of heart disease in relation to various types of vinegar. There are also a number of animal studies which have found that consuming ACV may improve measures of heart health, such as: cholesterol levels, triglyceride levels and blood pressure. However, other studies have found no improvement in these markers related to vinegar consumption .
There is a possible role related to vinegar consumption and heart health. But the current evidence base is contradictory, and lacking in human studies – especially in relation to ACV specifically.
Some studies have found that consuming vinegar with a meal which contains carbohydrates may help with regulating blood glucose levels after following the meal. These results have been echoed in a few animal-based studies.
For example, a small study from America found that consuming 20g of ACV (roughly one and a half tablespoons) with a carbohydrate-containing meal improved the body’s response to insulin (insulin sensitivity) by 34%.
Another small study found that consuming two tablespoons of ACV per day for 3 days reduced fasting blood glucose levels by 6% in those with fasting levels above 7.2 mmol/l and by 0.7% in those with average fasting levels below 7.2 mmol/l.
Suggested reasons for these findings include:
- Increased secretion of the hormone glucagon like peptide 1 (GLP-1) in the gut
- Changes in glucose metabolism related to an increase in the activity of the enzyme 5’adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase (AMPK)
- Less free fatty acid in the blood
- Increased blood flow in the body
- Increased feelings of fullness when eating (as discussed above under Weight Loss)
Furthermore, two small studies have found that consuming ACV slowed the release of food from the stomach. Although this can be beneficial in stabilising blood glucose levels, it could also increase the risk of developing dangerously low blood glucose levels (hypoglycemia) for those who take medication in order to control their blood glucose.
It is important to highlight that most of the human studies in this area have been very small, often containing around 10 participants, with short follow-up periods.
Overall, there is some interesting research which suggests that consuming vinegar or ACV with a meal containing carbohydrates may help in the management of blood glucose levels. However, there are definite limitations to this research and there is much stronger evidence in support of established medical and lifestyle interventions for the prevention and management of diabetes.
Something many active people and athletes are used to, is the build-up of lactic acid in the body, leading to soreness, fatigue, and stiffness throughout the body. Potassium from ACV can help alleviate these symptoms and quick delivery of vitamins can boost energy naturally, especially combined with a diet full of quality protein, carbohydrates, and fats.
Apple cider vinegar benefits digestion because it helps increase the acidity of the stomach, in turn helping your body create more pepsin, the digestive enzyme that breaks down protein in the digestive tract. The real benefit comes from improving stomach acid production, which is crucial for the digestive process of the foods that we eat. When people don’t make enough stomach acid naturally, this can lead to uncomfortable bloating and gas. ACV serves as a nice, natural home remedy for bloating and digestive symptoms.
Long term consequences of low stomach acid can lead to:
- Increased risk for SIBO and fungal infections
- Impaired nutrient absorption
- Esophagus and small intestine damage
- Feeling excessively full
- Heartburn and acid reflux
AVC doesn’t have any concrete research to support that it can relieve bloating and reverse digestive issues, but just because it hasn’t been extensively researched, doesn’t mean it’s not true. AVC has both probiotic bacteria and acetic acid, which is found in all kinds of vinegar. This is why it’s considered a ‘supplement’ to your dietary lifestyle, and not a replacement.
The idea behind the benefits of using apple cider vinegar on the skin is because our skin is naturally more on the acidic side. It’s thought that AVC can help rebalance the natural pH of the skin, but more conclusive research is needed to support this claim. The opposition of this claim stems from the research that states alkaline soaps and cleansers actually irritate the skin and skin conditions, such as eczema, actually making things worse.
In theory, although given the antibacterial properties of ACV, in the future it could be synthesized and used to help prevent skin infections, conditions, and improve skin health. We recommend talking to your skincare provider to see if its right for you and your skin before just giving it a go.
Even though the research hasn’t quite caught up to the popularity of apple cider vinegar, the health benefits are seen in so many people that it’s hard to deny that it actually works. Not only can it help with satiety, blood pressure, and insulin resistance, but it packs powerful antibacterial effects, probiotics, and makes a nice supplement to a well-rounded diet and improvements in your overall lifestyle.