While a lot of claims are made about the benefits of apple cider vinegar (ACV), how many of them are actually true? Today, we’re breaking down these claims that are made about ACV, and whether or not they are true.
As with most alternative therapies, there hasn’t been much research done on ACV, but there are a few studies. Combine that with a lot of anecdotal reports about its effectiveness and it’s easy to see how ACV has gotten its superfood reputation.
Potential Benefits of ACV
Below are six potential benefits of ACV. You’ll notice that most of these begin with ‘may,’ and that’s because we want to be careful not to over-promise. The benefits of ACV have not been well-researched, as we mentioned above, and so most of these benefits are based on small studies, anecdotal experiences, or animal studies.
ACV may improve skin health
Since the skin is naturally acidic, ACV can sometimes be a good option topically to help balance the skin’s pH. And since ACV does have antibacterial properties, it’s sometimes used as a toner or face wash. Start slowly to test if this is the right option for you, as the acidic nature of ACV may end up irritating your skin more than helping it.
It may help improve blood sugar balance
This is perhaps the most often discussed potential benefit of ACV. In a few small studies, ACV showed the ability to reduce blood sugar and insulin responses after a high-carb meal. If you do have insulin resistance, this might be a helpful supplement (always talk to your doctor!), but it’s important to continue with other more impactful dietary and lifestyle interventions, like a low-carb diet, exercise, and more.
ACV may support weight loss efforts
Some research has shown modest weight loss results using ACV along with meals. It may help increase feelings of fullness and satiety, meaning you eat less calories over the course of the day. This combined with its potential impact on blood sugar and insulin (both of which impact weight loss results) is what gives it the potential to support weight loss efforts. But just like with our point on blood sugar balance above, it’s important to implement other diet and lifestyle changes first and in conjunction rather than rely on ACV alone.
It can kill harmful bacteria
Vinegar is well-known for being able to clean and disinfect, including killing pathogens, and it’s also used as a food preservative.
It contains beneficial substances –
The acetic acid in ACV is likely at the root of its potential benefits. If you opt for raw ACV with the “mother,” that option will contain beneficial bacteria and enzymes that the more processed versions don’t contain.
It may help with stomach acid production
The acidic nature of ACV makes it an option pre-meal to increase the acidity of the stomach and help improve digestion and absorption of nutrients.
As far as how to incorporate ACV, many people use it in recipes or drink it – typically anywhere from 1-2 tsp to 1-2 Tbsp. Since ACV is so acidic, it’s recommended to start slow and work your way up. ACV does have some side effects, including medication interactions and potential erosion of tooth enamel.
It’s clear that ACV has some interesting potential benefits, but that none have strong evidence behind them. Still, ACV is a natural food, and there isn’t really a huge risk in trying it out in moderation. This article from Healthline lists a lot of uses for ACV that probably never occurred to you!
Of course, nothing in this article is considered a substitute for medical diagnosis or treatment – when you’re considering a new supplement, it’s always best to consult with your doctor first.