If you believe everything you read on the internet, you would think that apple cider vinegar can cure just about anything. Well, that might be a bit overstated, but those in the cult of ACV sell it hard. But what is true about this tangy liquid? Most people use it just for cooking. Who doesn’t love pickles and salad dressing and barbecue sauce? A teaspoonful in stew tenderizes the ingredients and sweetens the sauce and makes it taste just great. But devotees believe that drinking it mixed in juice or water will provide significant health benefits. But how much science lies behind these claims.
Can Apple Cider Vinegar Help Control Diabetes?
One study has identified real benefits over lowering glucose levels in the blood. That claim is that ACV, or more accurately, acetic acid, the main ingredient in any kind of vinegar, can lower glucose in diabetics. Dr. Andrea M. White and Dr. Carol S. Johnston, nutritional researchers, published an article in Diabetes Care the journal of the American Diabetes Association1 entitled, “Vinegar Ingestion at Bedtime Moderates Waking Glucose Concentrations in Adults with Well-Controlled Type 2 Diabetes.” They set out to determine “whether vinegar ingestion at bedtime reduces the next-morning fasting glucose concentration in individuals with type 2 diabetes.” They concluded that the data suggests that drinking vinegar at bedtime may in fact help reduce glucose levels in people with type 2 diabetes.
More studies are required before they can say positively that acetic acid should be used as an adjunct treatment for type 2 diabetes. And they make it clear that this only works in individuals with diabetes that is already well controlled. But there is clear scientific evidence that ACV, or more accurately, acetic acid, can lower glucose levels in people whose diabetes is well controlled. And apparently, it’s not just ACV that provides the benefit. Red wine vinegar has the same amount of acetic acid as ACV. So if you prefer that, it will provide the same benefit.
However, the anti-glycemic effect of vinegar was first reported by Ebihara and Nakajima2 in 1988. In rats, the blood glucose response to a 10% corn starch load was significantly reduced when coadministered with a 2% acetic acid solution. Sugiyama and colleagues2 documented that the addition of vinegar or pickled foods to rice (e.g., sushi) decreased the glycemic index of rice by 20% to 35%.
Acetic acid has also shown some promise in killing certain types of human cancer cells.2
Can Apple Cider Vinegar lower Cholesterol Levels?
Still, others maintain that acetic acid can lower cholesterol. Studies show that ACV will lower cholesterol by increasing bile production and liver functions. A study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry3 2009 from Japanese researchers where laboratory mice were fed a high-fat diet and given acetic acid. The study determined that “apple cider vinegars …decreased triglyceride and VLDL levels in all groups when compared to animals on high-cholesterol diets without vinegar supplementation. Apple cider vinegar increased total cholesterol and HDL and LDL cholesterol levels and decreased liver function tests when compared to animals on a high-cholesterol diet without vinegar supplementation.” Some evidence is mounting that ACV, or acetic acid, is providing significant health benefits to those who eat a high fat diet.
Can Apple Cider Vinegar lower Blood Pressure?
Experiments with lab rats indicated that ACV significantly lowered systolic blood pressure.2
While ACV may not be able to cure a common cold, remove warts2, or help in any significant way with weight loss, some evidence is mounting that the acetic acid in not only apple cider vinegar, but all vinegar, can provide natural health benefits.
- White, Ph.D., Andrea M. & Carol S. Johnston, Ph.D. (11/30/2007). Vinegar Ingestion at Bedtime Moderates Waking Glucose Concentrations in Adults with Well-Controlled Type 2 Diabetes. retrieved 1/14/2017, from American Diabetes Association Diabetes Care Web Site: http://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/30/11/2814
- Johnston, Ph.D., RD, Carol S. & Cindy A. Gaas, BS (May 30, 2006). Vinegar: Medicinal Uses and Antiglycemic Effect. retrieved 1/14/2017, from MedGenMed Web Site: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1785201/?tool=pubmed#R30http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/jf104912h
- Axe, Dr. Josh (1/14/2015). 20 Unique Apple Cider Vinegar Uses and Benefits. retrieved 1/14/2017, from Dr. Axe Food Medicine Web Site: https://draxe.com/apple-cider-vinegar-uses/