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Apple Cider Vinegar – Squeezing Out The [TRUTH] on its Health Benefits

Apple Cider Vinegar – Squeezing Out The [TRUTH] on its Health Benefits

Learn the Science behind Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) and does it have any health benefits.

Apple Cider Vinegar

The Truth about Apple Cider Vinegar health benefits. Image via Shutterstock

I was at a party recently where a woman was talking about how her 2 tablespoons per day of Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) helped her lose weight and that it has so many powerful health benefits people are not aware of.

Being a health professional, I kept my mouth shut and decided to dig into the research.

There are all kinds of claims on the internet of ACV’s role in increasing energy levels, losing weight, improving blood sugar, improving cholesterol and improving blood pressure.

But what is the truth about Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV)?

Are these health claims substantiated?

Let’s take a closer look!

What is Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV)?

A good place to start is to look at how ACV is made and its nutritional make-up. Apple Cider Vinegar is produced from taking apples and putting them through a process of crushing, distilling, and finally fermenting them.

Most vinegars are filtered and pasteurized, but some manufacturers leave the harmless bacteria—also called “the mother”—and label the vinegar as “raw” and “unfiltered.” This is particularly common with apple cider vinegar.

One tablespoon of apple cider vinegar’s nutritional value has:

  • 0.03 mg of iron (your iron supplement will have 30mg – 1000x this)
  • 11 mg of potassium (a banana has 100mg – 10x this)
  • 1 mg of sodium
  • less than 0.01mg of other minerals like Zinc, Copper, or Manganese
  • no other vitamins
There is no nutritional value to apple cider vinegar. Therefore, the proposed mechanisms in which ACV is claimed to work are completely inaccurate”, says Pharmacist, Neal Smoller.
When asked about special health-promoting benefits of ACV Arizona State University Nutrition Professor Carol Johnston replied, “Good marketing”. She goes on further to say, “Acetic acid is the defining ingredient of all kinds of vinegar, and the documented health effects of vinegar are due to acetic acid. But there’s nothing special about the acetic acid in apple cider vinegar,” There could be something to ‘the mother’—some redeeming quality to that bacteria,” she adds, “but that’s just speculation. No one’s shown that.”

From my research, it seems most of the claims about the health benefits of vinegar either haven’t been tested enough or there aren’t large enough research studies to stand behind the claims we are reading about.

Here’s what I discovered:

  • ACV and Blood Sugar

  • There have been approximately twelve small studies where people were given a starchy meal, one group took two tablespoons of ACV and the other group did not.

    Some of the studies showed lower blood sugar hours after the meal in those that took the vinegar, but other studies did not show this.

    There were also two longer studies that included people with prediabetes, and it was found that blood sugars were not significantly lower in those who consumed two tablespoons of vinegar a day when compared to those who got the placebo.

    The bottom line, Apple Cider Vinegar won’t cure diabetes, but of all the research, and it is not solid if you have prediabetes and want to give it a try, make your own salad dressing with at least a tablespoon of vinegar. It won’t take the place of any medications for diabetes, but if you want to experiment with it, it is a safe thing to try.
  • ACV and High Blood Pressure


    One study looked at rats being fed a diet containing acetic acid compared to those that did not. Those that were eating high acetic acid had a decrease in their systolic (top number) blood pressure.

    No studies have been performed on people.

    The bottom line, high blood pressure has not been shown to be improved by using ACV. Instead focus on reducing sodium, eating a healthy diet, exercising and getting to or maintaining a healthy weight.
  • ACV and Cancer

  • A few studies have shown that vinegar may have anti-cancer properties, however, these studies involved culturing cancer cells and exposing them directly to vinegar or acetic acid.

    There was one large population study from China that found lower rates of esophageal cancer in people who frequently consumed vinegar. It’s worth noting that the people in the study were likely consuming rice vinegar, not ACV.

    The bottom line, ACV is not going to cure cancer, unfortunately. Instead focus on healthy lifestyle behaviors such as exercise, eating healthy, seeing your doctor and having recommended screenings performed.
  • ACV and Weight Loss

  • The scientific evidence that vinegar consumption either ACV or other types of vinegar is a reliable, long-term means of losing excess weight is not compelling.

    There have been some studies performed, but all-n-all, the studies have been short in duration, the results have been slight and adding or subtracting single foods or ingredients in our diets typically doesn’t have a huge effect on weight.

    The bottom line, if you are trying to lose weight adding ACV to your diet probably won’t do the trick. It may have a modest effect on weight loss, but the best way to lose weight and keep it off is through healthy eating, portion control, and exercise.

    Studies seem to suggest that vinegar can increase feelings of fullness and help people eat fewer calories, which may then lead to weight loss.

  • ACV and Lowering Cholesterol

  • Some studies on animals were performed that suggest ACV can lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels. But no studies have been performed on humans.

    The bottom line Animal studies have shown that vinegar can reduce blood triglycerides & cholesterol. No human studies have been conducted. There is no scientific evidence supporting this claim that was performed on humans.

In summary

There are a lot of big claims about the health benefits of ACV on the internet. Unfortunately, many of these claims are not supported by science.

One author wisely pointed out, however, that the absence of proof isn’t proof that something isn’t happening, and anecdotes often end up becoming supported by science down the line.

At the very least, apple cider vinegar seems to be safe as long as you don’t go overboard and take excessive amounts if you want to experiment with it.

Feedback:

References

[1] Written By Edwin McDonald IV, MD Forefront UChicago Medicine
[2] Apple Cider Vinegar - A Pharmacist's Perspective April 18, 2019, By: Neal Smoller https://www.woodstockvitamins.com/blogs/learn/apple-cider-vinegar-a-pharmacists-perspective
[3] Word on Apple Cider Vinegar, MARCH 1, 2017 BY CAITLIN DOW Nutrition Action
[4] Real Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar by AMY MYERS MD Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar
[5] https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/6-proven-health-benefits-of-apple-cider-vinegar
[6] POSTED APRIL 25, 2018, 10:30 AM , UPDATED APRIL 16, 2019, 3:28 PM by Robert H. Shmerling. Harvard Health Publishing
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Suzanne Toon, MS, CPT, CIC

Suzanne Toon, MS, CPT, CIC Experienced Wellness Coach with over 15 years of experience in the health care field and ACE Certified Perso...

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