Is Apple Cider Vinegar Healthy? Can You Have Too Much?

Apple Cider Vinegar - Alyse Cocliff - An Apple A Day

We have all heard the buzz around Apple Cider Vinegar. It’s all the rage in Hollywood stars and I can almost guarantee you have some lurking in the back of your pantry am I right? But is Apple Cider Vinegar Healthy? What’s “The Mother”? Can you have too much? Let’s take a look.


WHAT IS APPLE CIDER VINEGAR (ACV)? 

Apple cider vinegar (or ACV) is made from apple cider that has undergone fermentation. Throughout this process, the ACV develops a range of probiotics and enzymes, who effectively reduce it’s sugar quantity, giving it that bitter taste.


HEALTH BENEFITS OF APPLE CIDER VINEGAR  

REGULATES BLOOD SUGAR LEVELS 

That’s right, vinegar consumption (albeit not apple cider vinegar) was found to decrease blood sugar levels by an average of 31% after eating white bread (1). This was attributed to the high levels of acetic acid. An animal study also showed that giving diabetic rats apple cider vinegar for four weeks was found to significantly reduce blood sugar levels (2). What resulted was a whole range of human studies including one that showed daily consumption of vinegar resulted in improvement in insulin sensitivity (up to 34%) in those patients with type 2 diabetes and/or insulin resistance (3).


ENHANCES WEIGHTLOSS 

You only have to open one women’s magazine to know that there are some weight-loss benefits associated with apple cider vinegar intake. One study found that consuming 15-30ml of apple cider vinegar per day over 12 weeks resulted in nearly 1.8kg of weight loss, even when the diet/lifestyle remained unchanged (4).


IMPROVES SATIETY 

Studies show that apple cider vinegar may also increase satiety. One study showed that healthy volunteers who drank apple cider vinegar whilst consuming a high-GI diet reduced their total caloric intake by 200-275 calories over the course of the day (6). This is believed to be due to the blood sugar modulating effects of the acetic acid (as mentioned previously).


IMPROVES CHOLESTEROL 

An animal study out of Iran showed that supplementing rats with apple cider vinegar was able to reduce bad LDL cholesterol while also increasing beneficial HDL Cholesterol (7). In another study, mice were fed both a high cholesterol diet and researches found that the ACV lowered the serum lipid levels of these mice (8)


IMPROVES ACNE SCARRING

Although anecdotal, many acne sufferers notice an improvement in their symptoms when applying diluted apple cider vinegar to their skin and taking it orally.


MAY HELP MODULATE REFLUX 

Although again anecdotal, many people report reduced symptoms of reflux or heartburn after using Apple Cider Vinegar in a small glass of water before each meal. If you’re suffering from an ulcer or inflamed oesophagus it’s best to speak to a practitioner first as the apple cider vinegar can aggravate the area.


CAN YOU HAVE TOO MUCH APPLE CIDER VINEGAR? 

Absolutely, but keep in mind you have can too much of anything. Hypokalemia was observed in a 28-year-old woman who had reportedly consumed approximately 250 mL apple cider vinegar (that’s one cup!) daily for 6 years. Although speculative, the hypokalemia was believed to be attributed to elevated potassium excretion related to the bicarbonate load from acetate metabolism. (6)


WHICH ONE DO I BUY?

When purchasing ACV, you want to make sure your opting for varieties that contain “the mother”. This means it’s less processed and is more likely to contain the nutrients associated with the health benefits mentioned above. I personally also like to opt for organic varieties to avoid any pesticide residue.


IN SUMMARY 

Whilst managing your diet lifestyle is essential to managing your blood sugar levels, cholesterol, weight-loss and satiety, incorporating 1-2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar into your routine, 3 x daily may also help improve the above markers.


Do you drink Apple Cider Vinegar Daily? Have you noticed the benefits?