Have you heard of apple cider vinegar before? We’d be pretty surprised if you hadn’t!
Perhaps one of the most popular health trends out there today, apple cider vinegar (or ACV) is touted by many to be an amazing at home remedy for a number of various ailments and health concerns.
But is apple cider vinegar really all that it’s cracked up to be? Or is it just another overrated or potentially dangerous health trend?
Let’s debunk many of the myths surrounding ACV and have a closer look at what research says so far.
What is apple cider vinegar?
It’s not hard to understand the large appeal and popularity of apple cider vinegar. It’s non-toxic, affordable, easily accessible, all-natural, generally considered safe, and can be easily added to recipes without much effort.
Apple cider vinegar is a popular DIY remedy that has actually been used throughout history for cooking and natural medicine purposes due to its many wellness benefits.
How is apple cider vinegar made?
ACV is made from fermented apple juice through a two-step process. Once the initial fermentation process is complete, the second and most important step includes adding bacteria to ferment the alcohol even further.
This creates what is known as acetic acid, the primary active compound in vinegar that gives apple cider vinegar its signature pungent smell and sour taste.
It’s actually this acetic acid that many researchers believe gives apple cider vinegar most of its popular wellness benefits. ACV is made up of about 5-6% acetic acid.
Antimicrobial & Antibacterial
What are the beneficial properties of ACV?
Apple cider vinegar’s history can be traced all the way back to Hippocrates, also known as the father of modern medicine, who famously utilized vinegar’s antimicrobial and antibacterial properties to treat the wounds of his patients thousands of years ago.
These properties make ACV effective when it comes to disinfecting and cleaning, and it may even help it naturally kill germs and bacteria.
Apple cider vinegar contains some antioxidant properties that can help combat free radical damage in the body, a key factor in slowing down the aging process.
Acetic acid content
ACV is made up of about 5-6% acetic acid. Researchers generally believe that this is likely where apple cider vinegar gets most of its benefits from.
The “Mother” (Probiotics)
When yeast and bacteria combine during the fermentation process, it creates what is called the “mother” (the murky-looking strands you see floating around in the bottle). Many people also believe that much of ACV's benefits come from this “mother,” since it can technically be considered a probiotic. However, more research is needed on the benefits of the “mother” in ACV.
When it comes to the uses of apple cider vinegar, enthusiasts have discovered countless ways to incorporate its many benefits into home remedies, recipes, beauty treatments, and more.
It’s not uncommon to see false narratives on the internet claiming that ACV is some kind of cure-all fix, or “pixie dust,” as one University of Chicago Medical Center article called this phenomenon.
But the truth is that, although ACV is not pixie dust, it’s not snake oil either. That means that it fairly falls somewhere in the middle between the two extremes and for anyone wanting to incorporate it into their routine, it does have some benefits when used correctly.
It all comes down to separating the myths from the facts, and knowing the safest and most effective methods for consuming apple cider vinegar.
Benefits of ACV: Facts vs Fiction
- IS APPLE CIDER VINEGAR GOOD FOR ME?
It’s true that apple cider vinegar does contain properties that can be beneficial for your health when used correctly (especially its antimicrobial and antibacterial properties).
DOES APPLE CIDER VINEGAR HELP PRESERVE FOOD?
Vinegar is traditionally known to make an excellent food preservative and natural cleaning alternative. It’s true that AVC can be used as a natural and effective way to preserve your food and clean your house without the use of chemicals.
IS APPLE CIDER VINEGAR NUTRITIOUS?
Nutritionally, apple cider vinegar’s vitamin profile can be compared to apple juice (besides the probiotic factor), and contains B vitamins, polyphenols (antioxidants), and some potassium, for example. It’s generally accepted that ACV doesn’t contain a particularly high amount of essential vitamins and minerals.
IS ONE TYPE OF APPLE CIDER VINEGAR HEALTHIEST?
When choosing an apple cider vinegar, the organic and unfiltered variation is often considered by nutritionists to be the most beneficial, because it contains the “mother” (the friendly probiotic bacteria).
CAN APPLE CIDER VINEGAR CLEAR UP MY SKIN AND SOOTHE DRY SKIN OR ECZEMA?
Some people claim that when applied topically, ACV can improve skin’s appearance, because it is naturally acidic and may help rebalance the skin’s pH. This is why you sometimes hear of people applying diluted apple cider vinegar to their face as a toner or face wash.
However, when we looked at the research, it appears that there isn’t much evidence out there to sufficiently support this claim. In fact, in one study conducted on 22 people suffering from eczema, all participants reported that ACV soaks did not help their eczema and actually caused skin irritation.
WILL APPLE CIDER VINEGAR HELP ME LOSE WEIGHT?
Although the verdict is still out on this one, there is a chance that it may help to control your appetite. There have been some human studies pointing to evidence that adding ACV to your diet may help create feelings of fullness that support healthy weight maintenance.
However, it’s important to point out that participants of these studies were on calorie restrictive diets that included exercise, and the overall results were modest. One study found that participants taking vinegar with a high carb meal ate 200–275 fewer calories throughout the day and reported feelings of increased fullness. All in all, apple cider vinegar will not replace a healthy diet and lifestyle when it comes to losing weight long-term, and more research is needed in this area.
IS APPLE CIDER VINEGAR GOOD FOR MY HEART?
Another benefit of apple cider vinegar that many believe is that it may help promote heart health and even assist with lowering blood pressure, triglyceride levels, and cholesterol. However, we’re going to categorize this one as an apple cider vinegar myth, since these studies were conducted on animals and there simply isn’t any strong scientific evidence to support the serious claim that vinegar can benefit heart health in humans.
WILL AN ACV RINSE IMPROVE THE QUALITY OF MY HAIR?
Some of the many claims surrounding apple cider as a hair beauty treatment are that it can help promote a healthy scalp by eliminating bacteria, balancing your scalp’s pH level, and gently exfoliating to promote new hair growth, thickness, and shine.
The final benefits are believed to be softer, shinier, smoother, and more manageable hair with fewer split ends. But what does the research say about ACV for hair? Truthfully, there is little published research on this famous ancient Roman remedy of using an apple cider vinegar hair rinse. Since ACV is generally considered safe, this may be one that you will have to test for yourself before deciding. However, it’s important to remember that if you’re suffering from hair loss, ACV will not treat or cure the underlying causes and it’s important to consult with a doctor for professional treatment.
DOES APPLE CIDER VINEGAR HELP CONTROL BLOOD SUGAR?
In one study published in the Journal of the American Association of Diabetes, it was reported that participants given 20 grams of ACV after a meal containing a buttered bagel and orange juice had post-meal blood glucose levels significantly lower than those given a placebo.
However, although a number of studies reported similar findings, there is still more research to be done and it’s imperative to consult with your doctor before starting any new regimen if you are diabetic or pre-diabetic. With diabetes being such a prevalent and serious condition in the United States, we’re going to say that this one is only applicable when recommended by a doctor.
The best ways to use ACV
If you want to try incorporating apple cider vinegar into your routine, it’s generally considered very safe when used correctly. The preferred and safest way to consume ACV is adding it into your diet through cooking. You can do this by adding it to salad dressings or any number of other healthy recipes. It’s best to start with smaller amounts in your diet and gauge how you feel before proceeding.
It’s always recommended to avoid taking large amounts of apple cider vinegar and to never take “shots” of pure ACV, as this can have damaging effects caused by its acidity.
Some people enjoy buying or making beverages that incorporate apple cider vinegar. If you choose this route, it’s important to dilute the ACV to avoid any gastrointestinal complications.
Typical doses of apple cider vinegar usually range from 1-2 teaspoons to 1-2 tablespoons per day combined with a large glass or two of water, for example.
Similarly to any dietary supplement, it is possible to go overboard in a way that can potentially be counterproductive and even damage your health. Here are a few precautions you need to know before starting an ACV routine.
- Apple cider vinegar, when consumed in excess, may lead to the erosion of tooth enamel. That’s why it’s always recommended to dilute your ACV and drink it with a large glass of water.
- Apple cider vinegar may not be suitable for those with kidney disease.
- It’s always best to consult with your personal physician before starting an ACV routine, especially if you have a preexisting condition or are on medication.
- There’s always a chance that acidic foods and beverages can irritate acid reflux.
- ACV (or any type of vinegar) may not be suitable for those taking blood-sugar-lowering medications. Always be sure to check with your doctor before increasing your vinegar intake.
- Apple cider vinegar, although it may have some wellness benefits, will not replace the need for a healthy lifestyle if you want to stay healthy and feel your best.
- Overall, more studies and research are needed to understand the true potential of ACV when it comes to health benefits.
The Bottom Line
All in all, although apple cider vinegar is considered an ancient remedy, it still has a way to go when it comes to modern research and confirmation as a recognized alternative therapy.
On the plus side, studies show that it appears to be safe when used correctly and not in excessive amounts. This means that you can use the information here to decide whether or not you’d like to try this health trend for yourself!
Many people stand by their ACV routine and include it religiously in their daily diets, but it’s important to remember that ACV doesn’t have much solid research behind it and should never be used to replace medical treatment. When in doubt, always consult with a medical professional.
WE HOPE YOU FOUND THIS INFORMATION ABOUT THE MYTHS AND BENEFITS OF APPLE CIDER VINEGAR HELPFUL! HAVE YOU TRIED ACV BEFORE? WE’D LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU!
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