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The Proven Health Benefits Of Apple Cider Vinegar

Published November 20, 2018 (Revised: August 23, 2019)
<article> <section> <p>In recent years, apple cider vinegar (ACV) has exploded in popularity, in health and performance communities worldwide. </p> <p>For good reason, too. After all, any time results like <a target="_blank" href="">weight loss</a>, increased immunity, reduced <a target="_blank" href="">weight loss</a>, or even the possibility of lowered blood sugar are promised, people get excited. Especially if these physical improvements come from the help of a natural remedy such as vinegar. </p> <p>Because of the many benefits being promised, apple cider vinegar has gone from unknown to a potential “wonder food.”</p> <p>But behind all the hype, what does the science say about this vinegar? In what ways are people using apple cider vinegar to achieve their health and fitness goals?</p> <p>In this article, we’ll break it all down. You’ll learn what apple cider vinegar is, where it came from, and 7 benefits of adding it to your <a target="_blank" href="">diet</a>.</p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section> <header>What Is Apple Cider Vinegar?</header> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset=""> <img src="" class="img-fluid" alt="apple-cider-vinegar"> </picture> <p>Apple cider vinegar is a specific type of vinegar produced from aged crushed apples that have undergone a fermentation process. Sugar in the apples is converted into alcohol, and through the addition of yeast, is converted into acetic acid. And studies suggest<sup>1</sup> that acetic acid may reduce inflammation, decrease blood pressure, and help control body fat. Who would have thought a vinegar could do all this?</p> <div class="sub-head">History of Apple Cider Vinegar</div> <p>Vinegar is one of the oldest fermentation processes known to humans. The first vinegar was actually made from wines dating back to 5000 B.C. There are many types of vinegar, with varying types of benefits. Some varieties include: white vinegar, wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar, rice vinegar, and malt vinegar. </p> <p>Historically, apple cider vinegar has been used to treat a variety of ailments, including to counteract the effects<sup>2</sup> of poisonous mushrooms. It was also used in Roman times as a skin cleanser, which is still a common use for it today. </p> <p>More recently, apple cider vinegar has enjoyed a boom in popularity due to its backed-by-science health benefits. The relationship between<sup>3</sup> acetic acid and weight loss became a hot topic about 20 years ago.</p> <p>Scientists continue to study the relationship apple cider vinegar can have on our health. For example, a lot more research is being done to help specific kinds of patients, such as someone with well-controlled type 2 diabetes.</p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section> <header>Raw And Organic Apple Cider Vinegar </header> <p>There are a few types of apple cider vinegar you may see on the market: organic and raw. Here is the difference between the two to help you make a more informed choice.</p> <div class="sub-head">Organic Apple Cider Vinegar</div> <p>Organic apple cider vinegar is made with apples grown in an orchard, without the additional pesticides or chemicals that come from large commercial farms. Typically, organic ACV also comes raw or unfiltered. Compared to clear or filtered apple cider vinegar, the taste will be much stronger and less refined.</p> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset=""> <img src="" class="img-fluid" alt="apple-cider-vinegar"> </picture> <div class="sub-head">Raw Apple Cider Vinegar</div> <p>If you look for ACV at the store and wonder what’s floating inside some of the bottles, you’ve found raw apple cider vinegar. Raw ACV is full of floating matter (referred to as the “mother”), which consists of apple residue and pectin. You can actually make your own raw ACV from home using the “mother” of another bottle.</p> <p>In terms of health benefits, the “mother” is packed with enzymes that keep your <a target="_blank" href="">gut healthy</a>. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service, however, raw ACV is not a <a target="_blank" href="">probiotic</a><sup>4</sup>.</p> <div class="sub-head">Clear Apple Cider Vinegar</div> <p>“Clear” or non-organic ACV may not contain the benefits of digestive health like the raw, organic variation. This is because clear ACV is processed, highly filtered, and pasteurized.</p> <p>Clear ACV has a more mild taste and may be a “bridge” to help you build up to the acidic taste of the raw stuff.</p> <div class="sub-head">Which is better?</div> <p>Both raw and clear ACV have their purpose, but all things considered, raw apple cider is better for you than the filtered variation. </p> <p>Depending on your tolerance for the stronger taste (and texture) of raw apple cider vinegar, you may choose to jump right in or work your way up by starting with clear ACV.</p> <p>None of these types of vinegar are not to be confused, of course, with consuming apples, or apple cider. Apples, obviously have not yet gone through the cider vinegar process. And, apple cider is usually made by heating apples on the stove and including spices. While there are health qualities to partaking in apples and apple cider, they are not to be interchanged with any form of cider vinegar. For one, they contain a lot more sugar and don’t have the same healing properties such as acetic acid.</p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section> <header>Health Benefits Of Apple Cider Vinegar</header> <p>Let’s take a look at 7 of the top ways apple cider vinegar can help you:</p> <div class="sub-head">1. Weight Loss</div> <p>The real reason apple cider vinegar has exploded in popularity is due to the belief that it aids in weight loss. Above all, this is the reason most people get excited about trying apple cider vinegar.</p> <p>But is it real? And if it is, how much weight loss can you expect to lose?</p> <p>One study of 175 people showed that daily consumption of apple cider vinegar promotes weight loss<sup>5</sup> and decreased belly fat. Tracked over the course of 3 months, participants in the study lost an additional 3.7lbs by trying 2 tablespoons of ACV daily to their diet. One thing to celebrate about apple cider vinegar as opposed to other apple products is that it contains hardly any sugar. </p> <p>Other studies don’t step out and say that weight loss and ACV are directly related. However, they <i>do</i> point out the encouraging boosts in things like immune health, suppressed appetite<sup>6</sup>, and increased metabolism as things that can lead to weight loss.</p> <p>Keep in mind when it comes to weight loss, factors like an <a target="_blank" href="">exercise program</a>, healthy food choices, and portion control play a larger role in achieving your goals than any single supplemental part of your diet. </p> <p>Still, adding ACV is a proven method to help expedite your weight loss goals.</p> <div class="sub-head">2. Boosts The Immune System</div> <p>Can apple cider vinegar benefit your immune health? The science seems to suggest it can.</p> <p>Raw, unfiltered ACV is home to myriad <a target="_blank" href="">microbiome</a> bacteria that can improve function and health. Because the stomach plays a large role<sup>7</sup> in keeping our immune system running, we can assume the floaty stuff in our ACV helps keep us healthy throughout the year. </p> <p>Other research shows that ACV helps us break down our food<sup>8</sup> more efficiently by increasing stomach acid production, also helping to support a healthy microbiome<sup>9</sup>. This means the internal environment of your tummy is enhanced because all the healthy bacteria is able to function properly.</p> <p>A home remedy, if you need an immune system boost at the first signs of a cold or a sore throat, is adding one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar, two tablespoons of honey and a few teaspoons of lemon juice to warm water. </p> <div class="sub-head">3. Heart Health & Cholesterol</div> <p>As heart disease is the #1 cause of early death for adults, we would all do well to adopt healthy habits to ward off heart disease. Incorporating more apple cider vinegar into your diet may help.</p> <p>Several studies show that ACV can help lower cholesterol<sup>10</sup> and other biomarkers like triglycerides (the bad stuff), which contribute to heart disease. Additionally, at least one study showed adults who ate more salad with vinegar had a decreased risk<sup>11</sup> of heart disease. </p> <p>Those suffering from high blood pressure can also benefit from a boost in acetic acid, since lowering blood glucose appears to also lower blood pressure<sup>12</sup>.</p> <div class="sub-head">4. Blood Sugar</div> <p>Strong evidence shows that apple cider vinegar can help control blood sugar. Basically, the acetic acid helps to lower the glycemic index<sup>13</sup> of carbohydrates. For a healthy adult, this could mean more consistent energy and less “crashes” after meals.</p> <p>A study done at Arizona State University showed the daily consumption of apple cider vinegar improved insulin sensitivity<sup>14</sup> in people with type 2 diabetes, as diabetes is an insulin and blood sugar-based disease. Another study showed that adults, even those without diabetes, who drink apple cider vinegar before bed can reduce fasting blood sugar levels<sup>15</sup> in the morning. The health benefits of ACV for people with insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, or who are watching their sugar levels, may be even more substantial. </p> <p>Keep in mind that those with type 2 diabetes, or anyone with insulin or blood sugar issues, should always consult their doctor before adding large amounts of apple cider vinegar to their diet.</p> <div class="sub-head">5. Improvements To Your Skin</div> <p>Want your skin to glow? Apple cider vinegar comes to the rescue again. In terms of skin health, ACV is said to remedy skin conditions like acne and also decrease signs of aging. A quick Google search offers plenty examples of the before and after<sup>16</sup> comparisons.</p> <p>It’s even used as natural topical agent<sup>17</sup> to reduce age spots, wrinkles, and toxins on your skin.</p> <div class="sub-head">6. Gut Health</div> <p>We touched on this one a little already in #2, but the bottom line is this-- while this type of cider vinegar is not technically a <a target="_blank" href="">probiotic</a>, the raw, unfiltered version contains enzymes that help with a healthy tummy.</p> <p>This type of immunity boosting and overall health improvement are the foundational base for improving most illnesses, including cancer, diabetes, and inflammatory disease.</p> <div class="sub-head">7. Vitamins and Minerals</div> <p>Last but not least, apple cider vinegar is home to a plethora of nutrients that can keep you healthy and feeling energized. ACV contains B1, B2, and B6 as well as folic acid and vitamin C. There are also trace amounts of sodium, magnesium, and phosphorus.</p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section> <header>Apple Cider Vinegar and Keto</header> <p>Both Apple Cider Vinegar and the keto diet are perceived as master fat burners by many in the fitness and health industries. Can combining the two make for an even more potent 1-2 fat-loss “punch”?</p> <p>We think it can, especially when you are just starting out. As new adopters of the keto diet know, the carb cravings as your body adjusts can be difficult. ACV may help to curb those cravings and balance blood sugar as your body adjusts to getting into ketosis on a regular basis.</p> <p>The benefits of adding ACV to your keto diet and exercise program aren’t just hype. The science certainly suggests it can help you achieve your health goals-- whatever they may be-- faster.</p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section> <header>Precautions </header> <p>So, we’ve discussed the many health benefits of adding apple cider vinegar to your diet, but you may be wondering:</p> <p><i>“Are there any precautions or negative side effects of apple cider vinegar to keep in mind?”</i></p> <p>While the positives certainly seem to outweigh the negatives, there are a few things to keep in mind.</p> <p>For example, apple cider vinegar-- or any vinegar, for that matter-- has been shown to decrease tooth enamel<sup>18</sup>. A shot a day might not be a huge deal, but if you are supplementing with a lot of ACV, it could affect your teeth over time.</p> <p>Any type of cider vinegar can also be quite acidic when taken as a shot, so you may want to dilute it with water to take away from the acidity when you drink it. A small splash of water should be sufficient, and you can experiment to find the right ratio for you. </p> <p>Another possible side effect is indigestion. In fact, one study<sup>19</sup> suggested that some of the perceived satiating effects of ACV were actually the result of indigestion or nausea induced from vinegar consumption.</p> <p>Last, too much apple cider vinegar may deplete potassium levels in the body. If you have hypokalemia, which is potassium deficiency, apple cider vinegar may not be the best supplement to add to your diet. </p> <p>Like most things, moderation and starting slow are keys to preventing the potential “negatives” of supplementing with apple cider vinegar from happening. If you are a type 2 diabetic, you should consult your doctor before supplementing with ACV.</p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section> <header>Apple Cider Vinegar - Final Thoughts</header> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset=""> <img src="" class="img-fluid" alt="red-apples"> </picture> <p>Apple cider vinegar may come with a lot of hype, but the science behind the benefits are pretty convincing. As little as 2 tablespoons of raw, unfiltered ACV per day can help you lose weight, increase immune health, ward off heart disease, help with blood sugar spikes, and even help you adjust to early struggles of a keto diet.</p> <p>Like any other health supplement, always consult with your health care provider about adding apple cider vinegar into your regime, and know, that it has the real potential of being an ally towards achieving your health goals.</p> <p><b>To learn more, check this out: <a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer" title="nutritional advice">Our newest piece of nutritional advice is completely changing how people think about losing weight, slimming down, and feeling better!</b></a></p> <div class="sub-head">Resources</div> <ol> <li><a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer" title="Acetic Acid">What Are the Health Benefits of Acetic Acid?</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer" title="Natural Beauty">Natural Beauty throughout History</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer" title="Vinegar intake">Vinegar intake reduces body weight</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer" title="Apple Cider Vinegar">Is Apple Cider Vinegar a Probiotic?</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer" title="Vinegar intake">Vinegar intake reduces body weight</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer" title="fatty acid">The short-chain fatty acid acetate reduces appetite</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer" title="gut bacteria">Why gut bacteria are essential</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer" title="Gut-Soothing Foods">10 Super Gut-Soothing Foods</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer" title="microbiome">What is a microbiome?</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer" title="Dietary acetic acid">Dietary acetic acid reduces serum cholesterol</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer" title="alpha-linolenic acid">Dietary intake of alpha-linolenic acid</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer" title="Apple Cider Vinegar">Using Apple Cider Vinegar to Help Lower Blood Pressure</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer" title="GI">What Is GI?</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer" title="effects of Exercise">Acute Effects of Different Intensities of Exercise</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer" title="Vinegar Ingestion">Vinegar Ingestion at Bedtime</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer" title="apple cider vinegar">I used apple cider vinegar on my face for a week</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer" title="Wash Your Face">5 Reasons To Wash Your Face (& Skin) With Apple Cider Vinegar</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer" title="Erosion--chemical and biological factors">Erosion--chemical and biological factors</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer" title="tolerability of vinegar">Influence of the tolerability of vinegar</a></li> </ol> </section> </article>

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