Apple Cider Vinegar: Uses, Benefits, Risks, and Dosage
Apple cider vinegar is a type of vinegar made from mostly apple juice that has many uses, including as a natural remedy for various health conditions.
Apple cider vinegar is also used to help skin conditions, lose weight, and possibly even improve heart health as well as other benefits.
However, apple cider vinegar can also cause side effects and interact with certain medications so it is important to know the risks and benefits of apple cider before using it.
In this article, we will discuss the uses, benefits, risks, and dosage of apple cider vinegar to help you determine if it could be beneficial to you.
What is apple cider vinegar?
Apple cider vinegar is a type of vinegar made from apple cider, which is mostly apple juice, that has undergone fermentation, which turns the sugars in the apple cider into alcohol, and then bacteria turn the alcohol into acetic acid.
The acetic acid content causes the strong odor and taste present in all types of vinegar.
Raw apple cider vinegar simply means that the vinegar is unfiltered and unprocessed. Apple cider vinegar can be used in cooking or taken as a dietary supplement.
It is also used for other health benefits which we detail below and is sometimes used in topical form as an ointment or compress.
What are the uses of apple cider vinegar?
The most common use for apple cider vinegar is as a cooking ingredient, added to dressings, marinades, vinaigrettes, and as a food preservative.
It can also be used as a natural cleaning agent and disinfectant as it has antimicrobial and antioxidant properties.
As an alternative therapy, apple cider vinegar is taken by mouth for a variety of conditions including weight loss, diabetes, and high cholesterol. It is also available in topical form as an ointment or compresses.
It should be noted that there is some research about the health benefits of apple cider vinegar but more extensive research is needed to draw any conclusions from these studies.
What are the health benefits of apple cider vinegar?
Apple cider vinegar has a wide range of purported health benefits and these include:
Some studies have shown that apple cider vinegar can help with weight loss.
One study showed that those who consumed apple cider vinegar daily lost more body weight than those who didn’t consume it.
The study also showed that those who ingested more apple cider vinegar daily lost even more weight.
However, it should be noted that this study was small and more research is needed to confirm these results. It is thought that using apple cider vinegar for weight loss is accomplished by increasing your feeling of being full.
There is some evidence to suggest apple cider vinegar can help manage diabetes. Diabetes is a chronic condition caused by either your pancreas stopping its production of insulin or your cells losing their insulin sensitivity, with insulin being a hormone used by your cells to convert blood sugar into energy.
Several studies have concluded that taking apple cider vinegar before, during, or after meals may help reduce your blood sugar levels.
One study also showed that taking apple cider vinegar before bedtime slightly decreased the patients' fasting blood sugar in the morning.
However, more research is needed to confirm these results and it is recommended that you speak with your doctor before taking any apple cider vinegar if you have diabetes.
Source of beneficial substances
As stated above, apple cider vinegar also contains acetic acid which is thought to be the substance responsible for most of its health benefits.
Acetic acid has been shown to have antimicrobial and antioxidant properties while also containing amino acids. It is also a source of potassium, which is an essential electrolyte needed for proper cell function.
Mother of vinegar is also present in apple cider vinegar and it is a biofilm that develops during the fermenting process that others believe may be the source of its health benefits.
More research is needed to determine which substance is actually responsible for apple cider vinegar's healthful properties.
Antibacterial and antifungal properties
Apple cider vinegar has antimicrobial properties, which means it can help kill bacteria and fungi.
For millennia, vinegar has been used as a disinfectant for wounds and to treat fungal infections among several other uses.
It has also been shown to help antibacterial properties when preserving food too.
Helps with skin conditions
Due to these antimicrobial properties, some people even use diluted vinegar to help with skin conditions such as acne, dandruff, and even varicose veins despite little scientific evidence proving it works for any of these conditions.
Eczema has also been shown in one study to be helped by applying vinegar to the areas affected by it and helping to improve the skin barrier function.
There are mixed results though as another study found no connection between vinegar and helping treat eczema, in fact, it was found to irritate the skin.
Other studies have found that it may also help with seborrheic dermatitis, a skin condition that causes itchy patches of skin, and even sunburn, although the evidence is sparse for its treatment of it.
Lastly, some use it as a home remedy for jellyfish stings, mosquito bites, and poison ivy too in order to stop the itching and irritation.
Please note that apple cider vinegar is an acidic product so if you plan to apply vinegar to your skin that you need to dilute it with water first so it does not burn your skin.
Sore throat relief
Apple cider vinegar has also been used as a sore throat remedy for centuries. It is thought that the acid in the vinegar helps to kill bacteria.
There are no studies to support this but many people swear by it as a way to help soothe their sore throats.
When swallowing or gargling a vinegar solution, make sure to dilute it with enough water so the acid does not burn your throat and cause more throat irritation.
Improve cardiovascular health
Apple cider vinegar may help improve your cardiovascular health by reducing bad cholesterol and triglyceride levels while also helping to increase good cholesterol levels.
Other studies have shown its effects in lowering your blood pressure too which is also beneficial to heart health.
Most of these studies were performed using animals and not humans, and more research is still needed.
Another popular use for vinegar is as a natural deodorant. The acidity of the vinegar supposedly helps to kill bacteria that cause body odor although this method is not recommended by dermatologists as it can irritate your skin.
If you still want to try this, make sure you dilute the vinegar before applying it to your skin and do a patch test on a small area of skin first to make sure you are not allergic to it.
Are these benefits backed by scientific research?
No, there is some scientific research to support many of the uses of apple cider vinegar; however, more research is needed to confirm these benefits and determine how effective it is.
Additionally, most of the studies that have been done are small-scale or performed on animals and more research is needed to determine if the results can be replicated on a larger scale with human subjects.
From around the web: Apple Cider Vinegar
What are the risks and side effects of apple cider vinegar?
There are some risks and potential side effects associated with apple cider vinegar.
When taken orally, it can cause damage to your tooth enamel, throat, and stomach lining, with the damage to your throat and stomach lining being similar to acid reflux disease.
It can also interact with certain medications such as diuretics, insulin, heart disease drugs, and laxatives.
When applied to your skin undiluted, it can cause burns. If you are pregnant or are breastfeeding avoid apple cider vinegar as an alternative medicine before consulting your doctor or health care provider first.
If you have diabetes, talk to your doctor before taking apple cider vinegar as it may interact with your medication or lower your potassium levels which can cause hypoglycemia, also known as low blood sugar levels.
You should always speak to your doctor before taking or using apple cider vinegar as alternative medicine due to the possibility of adverse effects, especially if you have a medical condition or are taking medication.
What is the dosage should I use for apple cider vinegar?
The recommended dosage of apple cider vinegar depends on why you are taking it.
When ingesting it for general health, the recommended dose is 1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon per day mixed in a glass of water with 8 ounces or more of water. If you are applying it topically to the skin, make sure to dilute the vinegar with water first.
Some people think diluting topical applications of vinegar with 1 part vinegar to 4 parts water is enough while others advocate for up to 1 part vinegar and 10 parts water.
It is impossible to know the correct solution as apple cider vinegar can come in different concentrations and it is recommended to try a test patch on your skin first to ensure there will not be any irritation.
Apple cider vinegar is a popular alternative medicine with many purported benefits from helping to improve skin conditions to weight loss among several others.
Although there is some scientific research to support its use, more research is needed to confirm these benefits and determine how effective it is.
It can also cause certain side effects and interact with certain medications, so it is important to speak to your doctor before taking or using apple cider vinegar as alternative medicine.
The recommended dosage of apple cider vinegar depends on why you are taking it and topical apple cider vinegar needs to be diluted before being used on the skin as undiluted vinegar can cause burns.
If you have any more questions regarding apple cider vinegar and its potential benefit to you, please talk to your doctor or health care provider.