Apple Cider Vinegar: Top Health Benefits and How To Use
What if we told you that the solution to several ailments is sitting in your cupboard right now? That’s right, there are several studies and scientific publications claiming that apple cider vinegar offers a huge array of benefits and solutions to several common problems and ailments!
First off, and before introducing and discussing the studies in greater detail, let’s talk about apple cider vinegar’s most basic properties.
What is Apple Cider Vinegar?
Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) is most commonly used in salad dressings, marinades, and vinaigrettes, being produced by crushing apples and squeezing out its liquid. Then, bacteria and yeast are added to this primordial liquid in order to start the alcoholic fermentation process, meaning, the process that will convert the sugars from the apple into alcohol.
In the second fermentation process, the alcohol is then converted into vinegar by special bacteria capable of forming acetic acid. The acetic acid and malic acid formed during this fermentation process then give the vinegar its sour and characteristic taste.
As you may have noticed, fermentation has been highly discussed lately with other highly beneficial products such as kombucha being produced in a really similar fashion.
Top Health Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar
Now that we have discussed some of this vinegar’s properties, we can now further discuss some of its proven benefits. We can also point out, that the benefits pointed below have all been proven scientifically through either scientific publications and/or through peer-reviewed studies.
1. Blood Glucose Control and Weight Loss
Let’s start off with one of the biggest claims: ACV can help you effectively control your blood glucose levels.
Although several studies in rodents have found that ACV has positive effects on blood glucose control, we will focus more heavily on studies conducted in humans (1).
In insulin resistant individuals, such as some types of diabetics, increases in insulin sensitivity have also been reported following consumption of vinegar with a high carbohydrate meal (8).
According to these studies, we can cautiously assume that the consumption of vinegar with high carbohydrate meals helps to soften the glycemic response thus helping in the control of blood glucose.
Moving on to another greatly discussed topic: weight loss!
Only one study to date has investigated the effects of a vinegar intervention on weight loss in humans (11).
The study, conducted in Japan in 2009, recruited 155 obese individuals and assigned them a regime of either 15ml vinegar, 30ml vinegar or placebo daily for a period of 12 weeks. On average, the 15ml group lost 1.2kg, the 30ml group lost 1.9kg and placebo group body weight remained unchanged after this period. It should also be mentioned that all individuals taking part in the study maintained their usual calorie intake during this 12 week period.
2. Reducing Risk of Cardiovascular Disease
Although a number of claims related to cardiovascular disease risk factors and mortality have been made about ACV, much of the studies conducted have been performed in rodents, rather than humans.
When it comes to studies performed on Human models, an observational study observed a correlation between consumption of vinegar-based salad dressings and a reduction in cardiovascular disease mortality in women (15).
The study previously mentioned about weight loss and the consumption of ACV in humans (11) also reported a reduction in triglycerides in the subjects taking 15mL or 30mL of vinegar through the 12 week period.
3. Antibacterial effect
Although there have been a lot of claims made about the ability of ACV to cure illness such as the common cold or reduce the duration of a sore throat, the evidence to support these claims is often poor.
Much of the research carried out on the antibacterial effects of vinegar has been focused on its ability to kill pathogenic (harmful) bacteria in food (16).
For example, a study conducted in 2017 concluded that, in shrimp, high dosages of ACV (1-4% of the diet) enhanced expression of immune related genes (17).
4. Allergies and Inflammation
To date, only one study on vinegar and allergies has been performed in humans. During this study, 7 subjects with food allergies to egg, chicken, and lentils were subjected to skin prick tests in which foods were prepared with or without white wine vinegar. The skin prick test is conducted in order to assess and identify a potential allergic reaction following a small prick on the subject’s skin containing the tested substance. It was observed that the foods prepared with vinegar resulted in a reduction in reaction during the skin prick tests (18).
Although the results of this study are quite clear, it is still unclear if denaturation of proteins by vinegar prior to oral intake would have a different outcome than protein denaturation that occurs in the stomach, that is, if the results would have been different if the foods were ingested rather than applied on the skin.
Moving on to inflammation! Although many individuals claim that ACV will reduce inflammation from arthritis or other inflammatory conditions, evidence to support this claim is limited since the only big study conducted was done so exclusively in animals. In an animal model of colitis, large doses of vinegar reduced inflammation, improved gut bacterial populations, and attenuated body weight loss (19).
5. Improve Fertility
There have been some claims that ACV improves fertility, although there is only one study on this topic.
The study, conducted in Japan, used 7 women with polycystic ovary syndrome that did not have a normal menstrual cycle. These women were put on a regimen of 15g of vinegar daily for 90-110 days. 4 of the 7 women regained their menstrual cycle, which was thought to be due to vinegar’s effect on normalizing insulin resistance commonly associated with polycystic ovary syndrome. However, far more research is necessary before any claims about ACV and fertility can be made (20).
6. May Help Prevent Cancer
A few studies have shown that vinegar can kill cancer cells or prevent cancer through a cell process called glycolysis where cancer cells get their energy from. However, these studies are vague and done on rats or isolated cells in test tubes and need more research (21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26).
Although the claims commonly heard about the benefits of ACV far outweigh the studies here presented, we wanted to make sure this article has a scientific and proven base. This being said, it’s still unclear if the claims made about ACV’s positive effect on cancer, oral health, and pH balance are truthful or not. Perhaps, tomorrow another study will come out proving that these claims are actually true!
How To Use Apple Cider Vinegar
Now that we have discussed some of the ACV’s proven beneficial properties, let’s move on to some of the top uses!
Once again, we will only mention uses that either illustrated the practical application of the above-mentioned benefits or some uses that, although not thoroughly studied yet, have been tested and proven effective.
We hope you find this part of the article useful and can soon find several tips to help you make the most out of ACV!
#1. Can Kill Yeast and Boost Probiotics
Millions of people around the world struggle with Yeast infections, such as Candida. The side effects of this common infection can be bad breath, lack of energy, urinary tract infections, and digestive issues. The good thing about ACV is that it contains probiotics and a type of acid that promotes the growth of probiotics. Probiotics are the so-called “helpful bacteria” due to their ability to help kill off Candida. By removing sugar from your diet and complementing it with 1 tablespoon of ACV three times per day, you will be on your way to a full Candida cleanse!
#2. Can Support Weight Loss and Metabolism
As you may have noticed from the studies above cited, ACV can be quite helpful when it comes to supporting weight loss! There are several reasons ACV promotes fat loss, one of those reasons being that ACV reduces sugar cravings and improves detoxification. Another study found that supplementing your diet with the acetic acid, such as the one found in ACV, reduced body fat in mice by 10%!
Here’s an Apple Cider Vinegar Morning Detox Tea recipe you can use (be sure to save this picture below to your Pinterest board for later use)
Apple Cider Vinegar Morning Detox Tea recipe
- 1 cup warm water
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1 dash Himalayan salt (optional)
- 1/2 tbsp organic honey
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 dash cayenne
Instruction: Simply combine all ingredients, stir and enjoy! This recipe will make 1 serving which has 45 calories, 12.6 g total carbs (which has 1.4 g fiber and 9.4 g sugar), and 0.3 g protein. Most of the calories and carbs in this recipe come from honey. If you are afraid that it will interfere with your daily Keto macros, just don’t add honey to this drink. It will still taste good.
#3. An All-Natural Household Cleaner
The antibacterial properties and the acidic pH of ACV make it a perfect household cleaning product. Fill a spray bottle with 50 percent water and 50 percent ACV, then spray windows and counters for cleaning.
#4. Balances Blood Sugar and Improves Diabetes
As above mentioned, medical research has proven that the acetic acid, such as that found in ACV, can help you balance blood sugar levels (glucose level) and improve insulin sensitivity and insulin responses. Therefore, you can receive these benefits through ACV ingestion.
Try organic, raw ACV on salads, as a vinaigrette or simply add it as a seasoning! If the taste of vinegar doesn’t bother you, you can also consume 1 tablespoon mixed in water before every meal.
#5. Repel Fleas on your Pets
By mixing an equal part solution of ACV with water and soak your pet in a tub once a day for several weeks, you can get rid of flea infestations! Make sure to maintain the ACV away from your pet’s eyes and ears.
#6. Fight Seasonal Allergies
Another possible treatment using ACV is for allergies. ACV helps break up mucous in your body, support lymphatic drainage, and supports the immune system. Put 2 tablespoons in a large glass of water and drink three times per day to get rid of allergies.
#7. Kill Bacteria on Toes and Skin
The antibacterial compounds in ACV make it a great natural remedy for skin and toenail infections. Simply rub on the affected area twice daily. In addition, using a mixture of coconut oil and oil of oregano is great for rehydrating your skin after the application of vinegar.
#8. Natural Deodorant
Odorous bacteria and yeast products are a major cause of body odor. The armpit, inner thigh, and feet are especially prone areas since they can stay damp, making these breeding ground for bad bacteria. Simply dabbing some ACV on your fingers and running it into the above-mentioned areas can control these colonies and neutralize odors, keeping you smelling fresh all day.
#9. Make a fruit fly trap
Put a thin layer of ACV in a cup, cover it with saran wrap, and create small holes with a pencil. Set it out on the counter and the fruit flies will surely fly in and get stuck.
#10. To decrease your appetite
ACV is sometimes recommended as a weight loss aid since it can make you feel full. It should also be mentioned that the research here is not clear, several studies have speculated if this effect can be due to a decrease in gastric emptying rate (the rate at which food passes from your stomach to your bowls), or if it’s due to a nauseating effect caused by the consumption of high amounts of ACV.
However, its long-term effects on weight loss are unknown and likely to be small unless other dietary and lifestyle changes are also made.
#11. To Preserve Food
Just like other types of vinegar, ACV is an effective preservative, which is commonly used for pickling. In fact, people have used vinegar as a natural preserving agent to for thousands of years. By making the food more acidic, ACV deactivates the present bacterial enzymes and thus kills any bacteria in the food that may cause spoilage.
#12. Cure a Cold and Sore Throat
ACV is a commonly used remedy to cure a cold and sore throat. Because it’s full of vitamins and probiotic-boosting acetic acid, it’s a great natural cure. Take 2 tablespoons of ACV in one glass of water three times per day to cure a cold.
#13. As a Facial Toner
ACV is claimed to help remedy skin conditions, such as acne and eczema, and reduce the signs of aging, although the research on this topic is still not clear. For these reasons, many people like to use ACV to make a skin tonic.
The general recipe is 1 part ACV to 2 parts water. This mixture is then applied to the skin using a cotton pad. However, if you have sensitive skin, you should make a more diluted solution.
#14. To Boil Eggs
Adding vinegar to the water you use to boil or poach eggs can help you produce consistently well-cooked eggs.
This is because the protein in egg whites firms up more quickly when exposed to a more acidic liquid. On the other hand, when you’re poaching eggs, you want the egg whites to firm up as quickly as possible so that the eggs keep their shape.
#15. To Clean Dentures
You may also use ACV to clean removable dentures. Although there’s no consensus on the best method to clean dentures, research indicates that the residues left by ACV could be less harmful to the mucosa in your mouth than other commonly used cleaning agents (27, 28).
#16. As a natural Weed Killer
Another effective use for ACV is as a homemade, natural weed killer. By spraying undiluted vinegar on unwanted weeds in your garden, you will manage to get rid of them quickly and effectively.
#17. In Homemade Cakes and Candies
ACV is a popular texture and flavor enhancer used in baking. This additive is especially used when making vegan treats that can’t include eggs.
#18. Sinus Congestion Cure
As previously mentioned, ACV helps dilute and reduce mucous in your body, thus helping your body clear your sinuses of unwanted mucus. Due to the ACV’s antibacterial properties, it is also highly useful for the treatment of infections.
Simply add half a teaspoon of ACV to a cup of warm filtered water and stir until it’s thoroughly mixed. Then, pour some of the prepared mixture into your palm or into a container and inhale deeply or snort it up one nostril. Don’t forget to plug the other nostril with the other hand. Repeat on the other side and use as often as needed.
#19. Energy Boost
ACV contains potassium and enzymes that help banish fatigue. In addition, its amino acids may help prevent the buildup of lactic acid in your body, further preventing physical fatigue induced by physical exercise.
#20. Hair Rinse
ACV helps remove product build-up and balance your scalp’s pH level. Try a weekly rinse of one-third cup of vinegar mixed with four cups of water. Wrap a towel around your head and leave it to sit for an hour. Wash out and repeat up to twice a week.
#21. Natural Polishing Agent
ACV can be used to polish different metals.
For silver, it’s indicated to mix half a cup of vinegar with 2 tablespoons of baking soda. Soak the silver for a few hours and then rinse.
For brass, bronze, and copper, mixing equal parts salt and vinegar, and then coat the items completely, rubbing them until the material is clean. Rinse with cold water and dry with a clean towel.