Apple cider vinegar is the result of fermenting the juice of crushed apples. People use apple cider vinegar for many purposes, including cooking, cleaning, and health benefits. What's more, consuming apple cider vinegar could help manage certain health conditions.
Research has shown that drinking apple cider vinegar helps manage weight, diabetes, and heart health. Also, applying apple cider vinegar to the skin helps reduce the appearance of varicose veins. Though, in some cases, apple cider vinegar may cause chemical burns.
However, studies on apple cider vinegar benefits are limited. So, always talk with a healthcare provider about using apple cider vinegar for treating any health condition.
At a Glance
Research has found that apple cider vinegar benefits include the following:
- May help with weight management
- Helps manage type 2 diabetes
- Might improve hearth health
- Shown to improve varicose veins
Researchers have studied the effects of apple cider vinegar more extensively in animals and isolated cells than in humans. While human studies on apple cider vinegar benefits are limited, some evidence suggests promising results.
May Help With Weight Management
Consuming apple cider vinegar may help with managing weight. In one study published in 2018 in the Journal of Functional Foods, researchers told 39 people to cut 250 calories daily for 12 weeks. Some of those people only cut calories. At the same time, others consumed one ounce of apple cider vinegar daily.
The people who consumed apple cider vinegar significantly reduced the following:
- Body weight
- Body mass index (BMI)
- Hip measurements
- Visceral fat, which is deep, internal belly fat
Maintaining a healthy body weight helps reduce your risk of many health conditions. For example, having overweight and obesity is a risk factor for high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and several types of cancer.
Helps Manage Type 2 Diabetes
Some evidence suggests that apple cider vinegar helps manage type 2 diabetes. For example, in one study published in 2019 in the International Journal of Medical Research & Health Sciences, researchers saw positive effects of apple cider vinegar on some diabetes measurements.
The researchers gave 110 people with type 2 diabetes a placebo or one-half ounce of apple cider vinegar with a seven-ounce glass of water during dinner for three months. Over that time, the people who had apple cider vinegar with their water saw significant reductions in fasting blood sugar and hemoglobin A1C (HbA1C).
Fasting blood sugar is your blood sugar when you haven’t eaten a meal. HbA1C is a measure of blood sugar over the previous two to three months. High levels of fasting blood sugar and HbA1C can raise your risk of diabetes.
If you have diabetes and high levels of both measurements, your risk of complications increases. Diabetes complications include:
- Eye disease
- Damage to your feet, such as the nerves and blood flow
- Dental problems like gum disease and tooth decay
- Cardiovascular disease
- Kidney disease
- Diabetic neuropathy, which causes nerve damage
- Impaired sexual and bladder function
- Skin infections
In contrast, the people who didn’t have the apple cider vinegar saw no changes in either of those measurements.
Also, the researchers found that one-half ounce of apple cider vinegar also reduced waist and hip measurements, two factors that help reduce disease risk.
Might Improve Heart Health
Total cholesterol is the amount of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, and triglycerides in your blood. Triglycerides are a type of fat.
High total cholesterol, high LDL cholesterol, or high triglycerides raise your heart disease risk. Low HDL cholesterol levels are also bad for heart health since it's a "good" cholesterol.
Research has found that drinking one ounce of apple cider vinegar daily may reduce triglycerides and total cholesterol and raise HDL cholesterol. In people with obesity or type 2 diabetes, even one-half ounce of apple cider vinegar daily may lower triglycerides and total cholesterol.
Shown To Improve Varicose Veins Symptoms
One study published in 2016 in Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine studied the effects of applying apple cider vinegar topically on varicose veins.
In addition to a regular treatment plan, people who applied apple cider vinegar to varicose veins on their legs saw reductions in the following:
- Anxiety about the veins' appearance
- Symptoms, such as cramps, swelling, and itching
Those people had no adverse side effects. Still, applying apple cider vinegar to the skin can potentially be unsafe. In some people, apple cider vinegar might cause chemical burns.
Research has found that treating varicose veins improves the quality of life. For example, reducing painful symptoms can increase mobility and improve sleep quality.
One tablespoon of apple cider vinegar provides the following nutrients:
- Calories: 3
- Fat: 0g
- Sodium: 0mg
- Carbohydrates: 0g
- Fiber: 0g
- Added sugars: 0g
- Protein: 0g
Apple cider vinegar does not contain notable amounts of vitamins and minerals in portions you'd use to manage health conditions. However, apple cider vinegar contains antioxidants, namely phenolic compounds. Phenolic compounds fight inflammation and might protect cells from damage that leads to disease.
All types of vinegar contain acetic acid, a byproduct of fermentation. Acetic acid gives apple cider vinegar its strong, sour aroma and flavor. Acetic acid also has antifungal and antibacterial properties, making apple cider vinegar a natural disinfectant. For example, some people may use apple cider vinegar to clean their houses.
Research has found that apple cider vinegar helps kill germs like Escherichia coli (E. coli), Staphylococcus aureus (staph), and Candida albicans (a type of yeast).
Apple cider vinegar is safe for managing certain health conditions in the short term. However, apple cider vinegar may pose risks in the long term.
For example, using large amounts of apple cider vinegar for a prolonged period may lower potassium levels. Potassium deficiency symptoms include:
- Abnormal heart rhythm
- Muscle damage
Also, apple cider vinegar can interact with some medications and dietary supplements, like metformin, diuretics, and several herbs.
Research has found that apple cider vinegar may raise the risk of osteoporosis and harm the esophagus, tooth enamel, and skin.
There isn't enough reliable evidence to know if apple cider vinegar is safe to use medicinally when pregnant or breastfeeding. So, experts advise only using apple cider vinegar as food during these times.
Tips for Consuming Apple Cider Vinegar
Before adding apple cider vinegar to your daily routine, take note of the following things to consider:
- Use it as an ingredient: Add apple cider vinegar to salad dressings, marinades, pickled vegetables, soups, tea, smoothies, and baked goods.
- Dilute it with water: Speak to a healthcare provider about drinking apple cider vinegar for treating health conditions. If they say it’s OK to use, a healthcare provider might advise mixing apple cider vinegar with water. Undiluted apple cider vinegar can harm the esophagus and tooth enamel.
- Know how much to use: Ask a healthcare provider about how much apple cider vinegar to mix. Using too much apple cider vinegar might be harmful. Some evidence suggests that two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar in a cup of water twice daily increased tooth erosion by 18% over eight weeks.
- Apply it topically: Speak to a healthcare provider about using apple cider vinegar directly on your skin.
A Quick Review
In some cases, apple cider vinegar may manage weight, diabetes, and heart health. Although, keep in mind that apple cider vinegar might not be for everyone. Consult a healthcare provider about your health needs and whether it's safe to consume apple cider vinegar.
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