Apple cider vinegar is a popular home remedy. People have used it for centuries in cooking and medicine. Many people claim it can relieve a wide range of health complaints, but you may wonder what the research says. Apple cider vinegar has various healthful properties, including antimicrobial and antioxidant effects. What’s more, evidence suggests it may offer health benefits, such as aiding weight loss, reducing cholesterol, lowering blood sugar levels, and improving the symptoms of diabetes.
However, little research exists, and further studies are needed before it can be recommended as an alternative therapy. This article looks at the evidence behind 6 possible health benefits of apple cider vinegar.
High in healthful substances
Apple cider vinegar is made via a two-step process (1).
First, the manufacturer exposes crushed apples to yeast, which ferments the sugars and turns them into alcohol. Next, they add bacteria to further ferment the alcohol, turning it into acetic acid — the main active compound in vinegar.
Acetic acid gives vinegar its strong sour smell and flavor. Researchers believe this acid is responsible for apple cider vinegar’s health benefits. Cider vinegars are 5–6% acetic acid (2Trusted Source, 3Trusted Source).
Organic, unfiltered apple cider vinegar also contains a substance called “mother,” which consists of strands of proteins, enzymes, and friendly bacteria that give the product a murky appearance.
Some people believe that the “mother” is responsible for most of its health benefits, although there are currently no studies to support this.
While apple cider vinegar does not contain many vitamins or minerals, it offers a small amount of potassium. Good quality brands also contain some amino acids and antioxidants.
Can help kill harmful bacteria
Vinegar can help kill pathogens, including bacteria (4Trusted Source). People have traditionally used vinegar for cleaning and disinfecting, treating nail fungus, lice, warts, and ear infections.
Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, used vinegar to clean wounds more than 2,000 years ago.
Vinegar is also a food preservative, and studies show that it inhibits bacteria like E. coli from growing in and spoiling food (4Trusted Source, 5Trusted Source, 6Trusted Source). If you’re looking for a natural way to preserve your food, apple cider vinegar could help.
Anecdotal reports also suggest that diluted apple cider vinegar could help with acne when applied to the skin, but there doesn’t seem to be any strong research to confirm this.3. May help lower blood sugar levels and manage diabetes. To date, one of the most convincing applications of vinegar is helping treat type 2 diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes is characterized by high blood sugar levels caused by insulin resistance or the inability to produce insulin (7Trusted Source). However, people without diabetes can also benefit from keeping their blood sugar levels in the normal range, as some researchers believe that high blood sugar levels are a major cause of aging and various chronic diseases.
The most effective and healthiest way to regulate blood sugar levels is to avoid refined carbs and sugar, but apple cider vinegar may also have a beneficial effect.
May aid weight loss
Perhaps surprisingly, studies show that vinegar could help people lose weight.
Several human studies show that vinegar can increase feelings of fullness. This can lead you to eat fewer calories and lose weight. For example, according to one study, taking vinegar along with a high carb meal led to increased feelings of fullness, causing participants to eat 200–275 fewer calories throughout the rest of the day (14Trusted Source, 15Trusted Source).
Furthermore, a study in 175 people with obesity showed that daily apple cider vinegar consumption led to reduced belly fat and weight loss (16):
Improves heart health in animals
Heart disease is one of the leading causes of death (17Trusted Source).
Several biological factors are linked to your risk of heart disease. Research suggests that vinegar could improve several of these risk factors. However, many of the studies were conducted in animals.
These animal studies suggest that apple cider vinegar can lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels, as well as several other heart disease risk factors (18Trusted Source, 19Trusted Source, 20Trusted Source).
Some studies in rats have also shown that vinegar reduces blood pressure, which is a major risk factor for heart disease and kidney problems (21Trusted Source, 22Trusted Source). However, there is no good evidence that vinegar benefits heart health in humans. Researchers need to do more studies before reaching any strong conclusions.
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