For over two centuries, people have used vinegar for its health benefits. It’s long been celebrated for its antimicrobial properties, with claims it can combat skin infections, fight ear and throat infections, and disinfect around the home. Now, enthusiasts are using apple cider vinegar to help with diabetes and aid in weight loss. But how safe and effective is it, really?
Apple cider vinegar has antimicrobial properties and other possible health benefits, but research in many areas is sometimes limited. Studies are showing it may lower blood sugar and reduce body fat, but it may also cause throat irritation and damage to tooth enamel.
Vinegar and Diabetes
Acetic acid, the main component in most vinegars, may be helpful in reducing blood sugar. In one study, healthy participants were split into groups that ate plain, white bread or bread along with servings of acetic acid. Those who consumed the acetic acid had significantly lower blood sugar readings 30 minutes after eating. They also reported feeling fuller longer, with an overall reduced appetite compared to the control group.
While vinegar may help as a complementary treatment against diabetes, it certainly should not replace current diabetes medications.
Using Apple Cider Vinegar for Weight Loss
Apple cider vinegar may be an effective weight loss aid. Animal and human studies have shown apple cider vinegar can reduce body mass index scores, triglycerides, bad cholesterol levels and appetite. While these and other studies show potential in helping with weight management, some authorities remain skeptical. More research is needed, but the possibilities are certainly promising.
Other Possible Health Benefits
Some studies have shown vinegar may reduce blood pressure, but the effect has only been investigated in animal models. Others have found people who regularly ate salad dressed in oil and vinegar had a reduced risk of dying from heart attack and stroke. All vinegars are rich in nutrients and polyphenols, which could have positive health effects that include reduced cancer risks.
Vinegar has antimicrobial properties, but its ability to disinfect cuts is typically less effective than conventional treatments. Diluted vinegar solutions have even been used to treat ear infections, although some patients have reported irritation to the ear canal. Evidence also exists that the low pH may damage cochlear hairs, which could affect hearing and balance.
Some enthusiasts claim home remedies using apple cider vinegar can reduce cold symptoms, but there aren’t any real studies to back them.
Possible Side Effects
Because vinegar is so acidic, it can irritate the throat and esophagus and damage tooth enamel. The risk increases for those who consume it regularly or don’t dilute it. It can also reduce absorption of certain nutrients, such as potassium, and affect the way some drugs, like diuretics and insulin, work in the body.
Helpful dosing information is limited, but Healthline suggests starting with a tablespoon, diluted in water, two or three times a day. Because so little is out there on safely consuming apple cider vinegar as a supplement, use it with caution, if you use it.
Apple cider vinegar may have some amazing health benefits, but it’s not a miracle drug. And while it could help to reduce blood sugar and aid in weight loss, more research is needed on its use.
~ Here’s to Your Health and Wellness