Vinegar – a win for human health – made totally by accident. Legend says it was first discovered in Babylonia when some grape juice was left unattended. It wasn’t long before people started using it for food preservation, managing wounds, and many other things. The first traces discovered in Egyptian urns are dating back to 3000 B.C.
Produced through fermentation from a variety of alcoholic compounds by the acetic acid bacteria, apple cider vinegar (ACV) has been studied extensively over the last couple of decades. The good news is that 99% of studies have shown the health benefits of apple cider vinegar, making it an extremely popular choice in the health community for everything from gut health, fat loss, skin issues & more.
And for those who don’t like the idea of shooting back a couple of tablespoons of sour apple cider vinegar back for the benefits? Thanks to a dehydration and extraction processes, AVC is now available as a powder or capsule supplements. Although, it is essential to learn about the most efficacious ways to take ACV, which you can do by checking the fast facts section at the end of the article.
Apple Cider Vinegar Benefits
- Supports weight loss
- Boosts the circulatory system
- Supports the microbiome and gut health
- Antibacterial and antifungal properties
Apple Cider Vinegar for Weight Loss
Losing visceral fat is something people trying to lose weight struggle with the most. With many proven benefits, people started using apple cider vinegar for belly fat, and it appears it could be effective. One randomized clinical trial looked into the effects of a restricted caloric diet and ACV on obese and overweight patients. The results were promising, as visceral adiposity index, cholesterol, plasma triglycerides, and appetite all got reduced after the given treatment.
ACV is now one of the most popular weight loss supplements on the market. Available in capsules, powders and purified liquid form, people try to lose weight using it constantly. It is important to inform yourself before doing so and avoid using sub-par brands with doubtful manufacturing practices or resources. There are several why ACV boost weight loss:
- Feelings of fullness – Apple cider vinegar has been shown to slow stomach emptying and thus increase a person’s length of satiation, which by association reduces snacking. A small study showed this as the subjects took acetic acid supplements with their bread-based meals, which lead to an increased subjective rating of satiety.
- Blood glucose regulation – With apple cider vinegar having the ability to slow stomach emptying, glucose regulation becomes an important factor, especially in patients with type 1 diabetes. While direct links between lower glucose levels and their effects on peripheral tissues in relation to apple cider vinegar have been studied in animals, drawn conclusions were encouraging enough to promote further studies.
Several studies have demonstrated that the acetic acid reduces glucose production during the resting period of rats circadian cycles, it promotes glycogen repletion in rat skeletal muscle after exercise and reduces hyperglycemia by activating liver AMPK in type 2 diabetic mice.
One small study with healthy participants showed that ACV intake with a starchy meal can lead to reduced postprandial glucose and insulin response.
Another study from Arizona State University showed that ACV could improve insulin sensitivity in people with type 2 diabetes or insulin-resistant participants.
- Fatty Acid Reduction – A mice study conducted on the benefits of apple cider vinegar on plasma lipids also demonstrated that acetic acid, through upregulation of genes for fatty-acid-oxidation, suppressed the accumulation of body fat and liver lipids.
- Fat Cell Transport – People trying to lose weight can enjoy another benefit of consuming apple cider vinegar. By upregulating the ATP process with the help of L-carnitine, apple cider vinegar also helps oxidize fat and transport fat cells to mitochondria, where these cells are burned to fuel.
Circulatory System Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar
The circulatory system consists of a heart, network of blood vessels, and the blood that fills those vessels. Through the constant flow of blood, all cells in our body get needed nutrients and oxygen. Hormones are distributed through the circulatory system, and it is also vital for removing all metabolic waste products.
It appears that ACV has many positive effects on the circulatory system functioning by:
- Lowered blood pressure – the antihypertensive effect of apple cider vinegar on rats is due to its most active ingredient (acetic acid) which is directly correlated to the reduction in renin activity and decreased angiotensin II via the promotion of calcium absorption.
This mechanism showed great results in a study conducted on spontaneously hypertensive rats. The control groups which were given no acetic acid from apple cider vinegar or were given vinegar from other sources showed no improvement whatsoever.
Think small changes don’t make a difference? Well, they do.
An extensive human study looked at the effects of frequent consumption of apple cider vinegar and olive oil dressings (5-6 times per week) compared to those who consumed it less than once per week. The study followed 76283 women over a 10-year period, and the results showed that the diet with frequent ACV usage significantly reduced the risk of fatal ischemic heart disease in participants.
- Reduced Glucose Levels and Improved Insulin Response – Linked to the circulatory system and affected by high levels of glucose, the health of peripheral tissues is also a main focus in acetic acid research. While studies have not focused exclusively only on apple cider vinegar, linking their research to multiple vinegar sources, the evidence is clear.
Going back to 1988, a study conducted on rats proved that the administration of a 2% acetic acid solution to a 10% starch decreased the blood glucose levels. While similar tests conducted on humans did not observe the same improvement curve, the insulin response curve was reduced by 20% when acetic acid was added to the starch intake.
As for patients with normal blood sugar levels, 20mL of white vinegar (5% acetic acid) added to a meal of lettuce and 50 grams of white bread (which is what you should be keeping your total daily allowance of carbs under if you’re trying to stay in ketosis) to produce a 30% reduction in glycemic response.
- Improved Blood Flow to Peripheral Tissues – Blood is essential for supplying every cell in our body with oxygen and nutrients, and for removing products of cell metabolism. Proper blood flood is vital for a healthy body, and it looks like apple cider vinegar could help maintain it by stimulating the removal of fatty tissue build-up.
When blood flow gets disrupted not enough oxygen is carried to peripheral tissues and not enough carbon dioxide and metabolic waste products are eliminated with the transport function of the blood. This leads to the deterioration of healthy cells – indicative of aging – and things like cell damage, blood clotting, and varicose veins.
- Helps Improve the Visibility of Varicose Veins – A common consequence of poorly managed type 2 diabetes is the appearance of varicose veins. If not treated, the walls of varicose veins get thinner, which can lead to ruptures and painful inflammation.
Apple Cider Vinegar Promotes Gut Health and Healthy Microbiome
Apple cider vinegar has been proven to effectively kill E-coli and Staphylococcus aureus in a test-tube study. These microorganisms are associated with pneumonia, urinary tract infections, cellulitis, sepsis, toxic shock syndrome, and more.
Another test proved that apple cider vinegar successfully killed Enterococcus faecalis. This is a natural and healthy bacterium most people have as a part of their microbiome. However, unregulated it can lead to harmful infections. The efficacy of apple cider vinegar was comparable to the traditional treatment method using 5 percent sodium hypochlorite.
ACV is also a potent anti-fungal. Some fungi like Candida can cause the infection of bloodstream, mouth, and genitals. These infections can be persistent and create resistance against antifungal drugs. In one case study, apple cider vinegar proved an effective alternative solution to treating oral Candida infection. After one week of ACV therapy, candida count dropped by 94%, which showed a high antifungal potency of ACV.
However, if you’re thinking of swapping your traditional antibacterial cleaners for ACH, hold on for a moment. A 2019 study showed that ACV’s antimicrobial properties depend on several factors, and ACV even exhibited slight cytotoxicity. There is still research needed to give definite conclusions about the role of ACV in fighting off bacterial and fungal infections.
Antibacterial and Antifungal Properties of Apple Cider Vinegar
Bacterial resistance is one of the biggest problems modern medicine faces today. Because of the improper use of antibiotics, certain bacteria strains have become resistant to widely used antibiotics. That had researchers worried, and they started looking for alternative methods to fight off bacterial infections.
Apple cider vinegar is the perfect candidate for treating infections since it has been used in natural remedies for a long time. The mechanism behind this is simple, acetic acid interacts with bacterial cell walls, proteins, and enzymes, altering and destroying their structure. That way pathogenic organisms are killed and unable to replicate.
White blood cells like monocytes and macrophages work to eliminate infections in our bodies through a process called phagocytosis. Once acetic acid disrupts pathogenic microorganisms, it is easier for white blood cells to do their job and get rid of infections.
Some animal model studies showed that the application of topical acids could have a positive effect on skin conditions such as atopic dermatitis. However, there is a need for more studies in a human population, since some research hinted that dilute ACV soaks could even have the opposite effect in patients with atopic dermatitis, and cause further skin irritation.
Are There Downsides to Using Apple Cider Vinegar?
Apple cider vinegar, used for thousands of years is still a trend in the health and wellness world for a reason. With hundreds of supporting studies and reports, it should still be noted its benefits come in hand with maintaining a healthy lifestyle and as a part of a larger health toolkit.
Although with all the benefits it’s important to consider potential contraindications and negative attributes of ACV for certain populations. Some of those include:
- Delayed stomach emptying – A benefit to some, although, in those with type 1 diabetes, ACV increases the symptoms of gastroparesis, a common condition for this category.
- Digestive Issues – There is the potential for slight nausea depending on factors like stomach content and pH level.
- Low Potassium Levels – While we’re all n=1, in an isolated case, ACV consumption led to extremely low potassium levels and osteoporosis.
- Tooth enamel erosion – Undiluted consumption can lead to tooth enamel damage and tooth decay.
- Tissue Burns – Administered internally or externally, in liquid or powder form, apple cider vinegar can cause tissue damage if not diluted. Based on previous issues with ACV, you should make sure not to leave ACV in your esophagus or on your skin for too long.
Should I Start Taking Apple Cider Vinegar Regularly?
If you are still unsure whether incorporating ACV into your daily routine is a good idea, here are some highlights and claims to be wary of:
- ACV and fasting — Fasting is a great way of losing belly fat, and if you combine it with ACV, you can get even better results. Fasting activates hormone-sensitive lipase, which plays a role in the initiation of breaking down triacylglycerols into free fatty acids and glycerol. This process is called lipolysis, and it’s especially active in visceral fat during fasting. Fasting also stimulates the transition of subcutaneous to visceral fat, which is then easier to burn.
- Some claim that an ACV drink or shot before you work out may help you drop site-specific fat faster. Especially if you layer it with a core-focused and fasted workout. A 6-pack faster? Sign us up. This claim made by a reputable keto- Youtube star wasn’t substantiated when we looked into the research to support it. ACV does contain malic acid, however, which has the potential to increase your energy and reduce pain. Malic acid can be beneficial for those with Fibromyalgia at 500 mg dosages in tandem with other nutrients like Magnesium. Unfortunately ACV only has 15 mg per tablespoon so you would probably erode your tooth enamel or esophagus before it provided the effective dose. Better to stick to tablets or another format is you’re after the benefits of malic acid.
- Daily intake of ACV has also been shown to help reduce body weight, waist circumference, visceral fat, and serum triglyceride levels in a study concerning obese Japanese patients.
- ACV and staying in ketosis – Maintaining keto diet and ACV go hand in hand, as the active acid in ACV, acetic acid, stimulates a certain metabolic pathway (PGC-1 alpha) which can actually improve the mitochondria in your cells. And you know what that means, increased energy levels! So to improve your cellular energy you may consider the addition of ACV after you’re already in ketosis.
- Breaking your fast with an ACV drink that’s great for your health – This will help your body absorb certain minerals like iron better.
- The most beneficial form of ACV – Pills and powder are good ACV supplements, especially for people who don’t like the idea of drinking ACV. However, for most benefits, it is best to drink ACV that still contains the bacteria that made the acidic acid in the first place. This residual bacteria is called the “mother” and you should look for it when buying ACV. Most people avoid it since its cloudy look makes them think that it has gone bad. But there is no need to worry so go for ACV with “mother”.
Future Research on ACV
While current ACV perspectives look bright, future research is still needed to outline the mechanism by which vinegar alters postprandial glycemia and to determine whether regular vinegar ingestion positively affects glycemic control as indicated by reductions in hemoglobin A1c. Great thing about ACV is that it is widely available, affordable, and, appealing as a natural remedy. But keep in mind that we are all n=1. What works in one study on a certain cohort may not translate to you. The ACV market is fast-growing for several reasons and its inherent health benefits are a part of that. If you’re interested in learning more about bioindvidiuality in nutrition and lifestyle then sign up to my newsletter for weekly deliveries of actionable biohacking, wellness, and human optimization tips.
The Information in this guide is designed to complement, not replace, the relationship between a patient and his/her own physician and is for informational purposes only. The Information is not intended to be medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you saw or read on my website.