Is Apple Cider Vinegar Really Good For You?
If you keep up with health trends at all, you’ve probably heard of several strange concoctions to mix and habits to try out that supposedly offer significant boosts to your health despite being off the beaten path of health remedies. Some people swear by these methods while others claim to debunk them with scientific studies. Through the din of it all, discovering the truth—and whether or not a new health fad is good for you in the first place—can be difficult, involving many Google searches and hundreds of differing opinions to sift through.
Apple cider vinegar (ACV for short) is one such home remedy that many health gurus state is extremely good for you and is far from a fad, having been used as a traditional medicine for thousands of years. Because the beverage is very acidic, most ACV advocates stress the importance of diluting it in a good portion of water in order to make it safe. But what are the health benefits of apple cider vinegar anyway? Is it just a placebo effect? Is apple cider vinegar even good for you in the first place? Join us for a deeper dive!
What is Apple Cider Vinegar?
Apple Cider Vinegar is essentially apple juice that has been fermented into a vinegar solution to be used in salad dressings and marinades. The apple juice is first given yeast to ferment into alcoholic apple cider until a second fermentation process allows bacteria to create an acetic acid mixture.
If you have ever browsed for apple cider vinegar in your local grocery store before, you may have noticed some labels stating the solution contains “the Mother.” What is the Mother in apple cider vinegar?
The Mother is known as a probiotic, or a group of bacteria that are healthy for your body, and often appears as the stringy cloud of yeast at the bottom of the apple cider vinegar bottle. By ingesting the Mother, you are essentially placing special bacteria in your body that help you break down foods and compete with bad bacteria for resources.
Although many claims about the positive effects of apple cider vinegar aren’t backed by scientific evidence (the subject has not been tested as much as it should be), a few factual studies regarding ACV’s abilities have shown generally good results for weight loss, blood pressure, blood sugar level control, and balancing your cholesterol.
Does Apple Cider Vinegar Help You Lose Weight?
Let’s get one blaring question out of the way first: how effectively does apple cider vinegar help people with weight loss?
Most research conducted with vinegar consumption in humans has not specifically used apple cider vinegar, and studies were often brief and on smaller scales—thus the data is lacking. Nevertheless, one small study performed in 2018 involved 39 subjects following strict-calorie diets. Randomly, each of these participants was either given apple cider vinegar as part of their diets or went without it. Although weight loss was achieved with both groups after 12 weeks, the group who drank apple cider vinegar regularly lost more weight than the control group. Another 2009 study saw similar results, with groups who drank vinegar (not specifically apple cider vinegar) losing an average of 2 to 4 pounds more than those who went without the beverage. ACV also increases your satiety, making you feel more full and less inclined to eat more than you should.
Not much is known about the interaction between apple cider vinegar and lower blood sugar levels. Those with prediabetes or type 2 diabetes may still find benefits, however: one study found that drinking vinegar before bed can help moderate glucose levels upon waking in the morning. This study involved a small number of participants, however, and not much research has been done to observe this interaction further.
All in all, apple cider vinegar certainly won’t do wonders for your weight loss journey, be as useful for type 2 diabetes insulin levels as you might imagine, or be the final piece of the puzzle for your blood glucose levels. But as we’ll soon see, there are other health benefits ACV potentially has to offer.
Is Apple Cider Vinegar Healthy For You?
While its results for losing weight are mixed at best, the acetic acid in apple cider vinegar is known to function as an effective antimicrobial when introduced to fungal infections and bacterial infections. Many people use apple cider vinegar's anti-inflammatory properties to relieve common colds and sore throats alongside healthy diets.
As we previously mentioned, apple cider vinegar contains probiotics (or good bacteria) that thrive in your gut and work to fight off pathogens (bad bacteria). These healthy bacteria feed off the antioxidants and polyphenols already found in ACV after being broken down. Probiotics also fight for foods the bad bacteria need to survive, lessening the chances of unhealthy invaders thriving when the good outnumber the bad.
Because these healthy bacteria inhabit your gut, apple cider vinegar is often cited to promote your gut health. And since the vast majority of your immune system operates from your gut, ACV can be a powerful agent to bolster a more effective immune system.
How Often Should I Drink Apple Cider Vinegar? How Much Should I Take?
While there is no strict recommendation as to when you should drink apple cider vinegar, having a small dose once a day seems to be a good routine. However, because ACV is acidic, take special care when adding it to your diet. You should always dilute no more than one to two tablespoons in a glass of water—never drink apple cider vinegar straight without diluting it in water! Side effects including esophagus problems, heartburn, and low potassium levels can arise amongst other hazards if too much is ingested. Brushing your teeth after drinking ACV is also a good idea, as the acid can damage your tooth enamel.
A good rule of thumb: for every one part of apple cider vinegar, add five parts of water. So long as you don’t drink more than one to two tablespoons of vinegar total, the chances of harming yourself are virtually nonexistent. Always consult a dietitian or nutritionist first if you have any concerns!
Looking For Other Ways to Bolster Your Immune System?
Apple Cider Vinegar—when used correctly—can add massive gains to your body’s natural immune system. But another equally important method (with more science behind it) comes in the form of simple hand washing and sanitizing.
Unfortunately, hand soap and sinks are not always available, which is why carrying some hand sanitizer with you wherever you go can be a huge boon for your health. Why let the bad bacteria get in your body in the first place when you can take care of it on the surface of your hands?
Muse Health’s Fragrance-free Hand Sanitizer is the perfect solution to disinfect your palms while keeping your skin smooth and soft. Visit our shop and be sure to stock up; it makes for the perfect companion outside of your home!