13 Proven Health Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar

by Meenakshi Nagdeve last updated - Medically reviewed by Vanessa Voltolina (MS, RD)

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The impressive health benefits of apple cider vinegar (ACV) are many, as it is thought to regulate blood sugar levels, boost weight loss, improve gut health, lower cholesterol levels, and enhance skin health.

What is Apple Cider Vinegar?

Apple cider vinegar is a type of vinegar made from ripe, freshly crushed, apples. The apples are fermented and passed through a rigorous process to develop the final vinegar product. In the first step, the crushed apples are exposed to yeast to start the alcoholic fermentation process, and the sugars are then turned into alcohol. In the second step, bacteria are added to the alcohol solution which further ferments the alcohol and turns into acetic acid.

Nutritional Facts

Apple cider vinegar has only three calories per one tablespoon (15 grams) and almost no carbohydrates. As per the USDA Food Central Database, it contains small amounts of potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, and calcium. Like apple juice, it may contain pectin, B-vitamins (B1, B2, and B6, biotin, folic acid, niacin, pantothenic acid), and vitamin C.

Acetic acid is the main active compound, responsible for its powerful health benefits, weight loss is thought to be one. The amino acids in this vinegar are effective antiseptics and antibiotics, whereas the acetic acid content in the vinegar can aid in the treatment of various fungal and bacterial infections.

Unfiltered, organic apple cider vinegar contains a colony of bacteria, referred to as the vinegar mother, which has a cobweb-like appearance. This bacteria is gut-friendly and is often considered the most nutritious part of the ACV.

Nutrition Facts

Vinegar, cider
Serving Size :
NutrientValue
Water [g]93.81
Energy [kcal]21
Energy [kJ]90
Ash [g]0.17
Carbohydrate, by difference [g]0.93
Sugars, total including NLEA [g]0.4
Glucose (dextrose) [g]0.1
Fructose [g]0.3
Calcium, Ca [mg]7
Iron, Fe [mg]0.2
Magnesium, Mg [mg]5
Phosphorus, P [mg]8
Potassium, K [mg]73
Sodium, Na [mg]5
Zinc, Zn [mg]0.04
Copper, Cu [mg]0.01
Manganese, Mn [mg]0.25
Selenium, Se [µg]0.1
Sources include : USDA

Apple Cider Vinegar Benefits

The most impressive health benefits of apple cider vinegar include:

Prevents Acid Reflux

Gastroesophageal reflux disease, also called GERD or acid reflux, is a condition that occurs when there’s a backflow of the food consumed, from the stomach into the esophagus, causing symptoms like nausea and heartburn. Dr. Zoe Yeh of Arizona State University published a study in which, it was noted that subjects who consumed apple cider vinegar showed more than 75 percent reduction of acid reflux episode and an hour delayed reflux as compared to those who were given antacid. These are positive findings that indicate the potential efficacy of ACV in those with GERD issues.

ACV for Weight Loss

Apple cider vinegar is considered an excellent therapy for losing excess weight. It works by making the body burn unwanted calories and boost the body’s metabolism to optimal levels. It supports appetite control and fat burning in the body. According to a study published by a team of Japanese researchers in the journal Bioscience, Biotechnology, and Biochemistry, acetic acid, which is the main component in it, can help in aiding metabolic syndrome by reducing obesity.

The body weight, BMI, visceral fat area, waist circumference, and serum triglyceride levels of the Japanese subjects were monitored after they were administered the vinegar. A significant reduction in their sugar levels was observed. This study points up the possibility of daily intake of vinegar could be useful in the prevention of metabolic syndrome by reducing obesity.

Blood Sugar Management

According to a research report published in the American Diabetes Association Journal, two tablespoons of diluted apple cider vinegar can reduce fasting blood sugar levels.

It may also significantly improve insulin sensitivity in those with either insulin resistance or type 2 diabetes. According to one animal study, diabetic rats fed with apple cider vinegar for four weeks significantly reduced their blood sugar levels.

A jar of apple cider vinegar with whole and halved fresh apples and leaves

Apple cider vinegar can help boost weight loss, according to research. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Reduces Cholesterol & Improves Heart Health

The vinegar contains acetic acid, along with chlorogenic acid, which is thought to effectively help in reducing LDL (bad) cholesterol levels and increasing HDL (good) cholesterol levels, thereby protecting the cardiovascular system. Researchers from the Department of Nutrition at Harvard School of Public Health published a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, that showed that women who ate vinegar-based salad dressings (higher intake of alpha-linolenic acid) had fewer chances of developing heart disease.

Skin Care

Balancing your body’s pH levels is imperative to maintain healthy skin, and apple cider vinegar can do wonders for your skin because of its moderate alkaline levels. The pH level of this vinegar is similar to the pH level of the protective acid mantle of the skin. An apple cider vinegar rinse can help restore the glow of the skin and restricts the dilation of the skin’s pores. This keeps your skin from becoming overly oily or dry and balances the production of sebum and improves the circulation of nutrients.

How to use:

  • Mix one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar with two cups of water.
  • Moisten a cotton ball with the rinse and use it to wipe your face clean and dry.

Anecdotally, the use of this vinegar may help ward off bacteria and shed dead skin cells. However, more scientific evidence and studies are required to support this claim.

According to a report in the journal Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology, apple cider vinegar is a combination of lactic acid, citric acid, acetic acid, and succinic acid, all of which have the potential to discourage the growth of propionibacterium acnes, which is a bacteria that is responsible for the growth of acne.

Likewise, a study in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology stated using lactic acid to treat acne scars for three months resulted in improvement in the texture, pigmentation, and appearance of the skin. Furthermore, it lightened the scars.

Hair Care

This vinegar is useful in dandruff control and balancing the pH level of the scalp. You may also try applying two to three spoonfuls of vinegar directly to the scalp and rinse it after five minutes or so. Avoid contact with eyes to not irritate. This is considered by many to be an effective home remedy, however, more scientific evidence as to the efficacy of ACV’s effects on hair care is needed to support these claims.

Increases Satiety

When diluted apple cider vinegar is consumed with a high-carbohydrate meal, it was found to help increase the feeling of fullness and helps with weight loss by preventing overeating. According to a study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition – these findings – based upon a small study population–offer interesting findings of the effects of consuming pickled or fermented products along with a high carbohydrate meal.

Blood Pressure

A group of researchers from China published a study in the European Journal of Nutrition, which showed that due to a few mechanisms, vinegar showed efficacy in lessening the high blood pressure in rats, which is a primary cause for heart diseases and kidney problems in humans.

Diarrhea

The pectin content in the vinegar helps treat diarrhea symptoms by forming bulk fibrous matter. The pectin also forms a protective coat that acts to soothe the lining of the colon. Some say this miracle tonic can give relief as early as twenty minutes. So, two tablespoons of organic apple cider vinegar diluted in eight ounces of warm water, three times a day, is a suggested remedy.

Also, as per research performed at the Nakano Central Research Institute of Nakano Vinegar Co. Ltd., the combined use of vinegar and sodium chloride –when used at the proper temperature– is highly effective for the prevention of bacterial food poisoning.

PCOS

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is one of the major causes of irregular menstruation in women and is linked with insulin resistance. Insulin resistance affects almost 65-70 percent of the women with PCOS, according to research. Results of a clinical trial that studied seven women with PCOS who were given 1 tablespoon of ACV diluted in a beverage for a little over three months found that it alleviated their symptoms. Four women of the seven experienced regular menstruation and this was mainly due to increased insulin sensitivity after the ACV intake.

Pet Care

The vinegar can be handy in terms of animal and pet care. In the case of cat care, vinegar can be used to clean the litter pan. In the book titled, ‘Apple Cider Vinegar Miracle Health System’ by Dr. Paul Bragg et. al., recommend diluting the vinegar with water and using it to bathe dogs. This can help mitigate various infections, and also repel insects and ticks.

Asthma

Traditionally, many people believe that apple cider vinegar helps to prevent chronic asthma by applying vinegar-soaked pads to the inner region of their wrist area. However, this hasn’t been scientifically proven.

Instead, the National Asthma Council Australia has stated that the only way that vinegar could help with asthma, is through a solution of naturally fermented white vinegar, which will work well to remove visible mold in one’s home.

Anti-cancer Potential

Research published in Medscape General Medicine by Dr. Carol S. Johnson, et al, states that this health tonic may aid in neutralizing the free radicals that have the potential to form cancerous growths. The beta-carotene content acts as an antioxidant and effectively neutralizes the free radicals formed through oxidation. While this correlation is promising, more research specifically focusing on anti-cancer potential and ACV is needed.

Uses of Apple Cider Vinegar

There are several uses for ACV in-home treatments and remedies. However, these are home remedies and the evidence is anecdotal. We would recommend seeking a doctor’s advice before incorporating or using ACV for rashes, burns, and other skin irritations. Below are a few common home remedies using ACV:

  • Health Tonic: A tablespoon of apple cider vinegar (ACV) added to a glass of warm water can be taken as a tonic; it is thought to help with bowel regularity and treats acid reflux.
    • Allergy Reducer: It is also considered to ward off seasonal allergies, by soothing a sore throat, and even providing relief from cold.
      • Skin cleanser: You can use it to manage oily skin, facial acne, and acne scarring. ACV can be mixed with green tea and applied sparingly as a facial toner. It can also be combined with green tea and honey as a face mask for acne.
        • Meat tenderizer: Apple cider vinegar can be used in salad dressings and to tenderize meat. It can also be drizzled over cooked greens for flavor.
          • House cleaning product: You can dilute the vinegar with water and use it as a natural cleaning-spray or odor-neutralizer in your home.
            • Soothes sunburns: You can add a tablespoon of vinegar to your bath to provide relief from sunburns. Dermatologists do not recommend putting acidic vinegar directly on any skin inflammation as it may cause it to worsen.
            • Teeth-whitening product: It is an excellent remedy to remove stains from teeth. For stubborn stains, apple cider vinegar can be directly rubbed on your teeth. It is advisable not to do it too often as it can break down tooth enamel. For a less abrasive action, mix 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar with a cup of water and then swish it around in your mouth.
            • Pain-reliever: Natural apple cider vinegar is thought to relieve pain in the joints and also curb the dangerous progress of the arthritic condition.
            • Treats warts: Dip a cotton ball in the vinegar and apply it directly on the wart and cover it with a band-aid. You can repeat this a few times. The wart will fall off eventually.
            • Heals Rashes: Potassium, contained in apple cider vinegar, can be applied to poison ivy rashes to help soothe the inflammation and reduce itchiness.
            • Apple cider vinegar bath: A popular remedy for body odor and fungal infections is an apple cider vinegar bath or soak. Fill a bathtub with warm water, add a cup of raw apple cider vinegar and blend it in with your hands, and soak your body in it for 15-20 minutes. However, if you have severe eczema, it is best avoided as it can cause it to aggravate.
            Health benefits of apple cider vinegar infographic

            Apple cider vinegar is a type of vinegar made from ripe, freshly crushed, apples.

            Recommended Dosage

            There is no prescribed dosage of apple cider vinegar that you should be drinking in a day to get its health benefits. However, as its main ingredient is acetic acid, it is highly acidic and can be harsh to consume. To avoid possible side effects, it is best to limit it to 1 tablespoon of ACV diluted in 8 ounces of water, three times per day.

            Recipes Using Apple Cider Vinegar

            ACV can be used to tenderize the meat and works well with pork. It can also be incorporated into the diet by using apple cider vinegar in salad dressings and other toppings. It is also a staple in pickles. You can try some of our delicious recipes made with apple cider vinegar. 

            Types of Apple Cider Vinegar

            The two popular types of ACV are:

            • Organic Apple Cider Vinegar: It is made from apples that are allowed to ferment naturally without heat. Unlike commercial types, the organic variety is not processed or refined. It has a cloudy appearance because it contains the “mother” of vinegar. This type of vinegar is also called non-pasteurized, raw, or unfiltered vinegar.
            • Commercial Apple Cider Vinegar: This type of vinegar goes through a pasteurization process in which the vinegar is heated and filtered and sediments are removed if any. It also has a clear, amber appearance as the “mother” of vinegar is removed.

            Note: In terms of health benefits, the best type to buy is the organic, unfiltered apple cider vinegar which contains the ‘mother’ bacteria. This variety of vinegar is available in the supermarket as well as online.

            Apple Cider Vinegar Side Effects 

            ACV is relatively safe for everyone. However, if you consume it in excess, it can cause the following:

            • Enamel erosion: In a 2014 report published in the journal Clinical Laboratory stated that apple cider vinegar or any other kind of vinegar, due to its acidic content, can wear off the enamel of the teeth over time if consumed in an undiluted form.
            • Burning of the throat: A team of researchers from the Department of Human Environmental Science (Human Nutrition), University of Arkansas, USA, in a report published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association has stated that canto much of apple cider vinegar or its products can cause esophageal burns. Children should not have undiluted ACV as it causes a burning sensation in their throats.
            • Hypoglycemia: A team of Indian researchers published a report in the International Journal of Food and Nutritional Sciences that stated that ACV could reduce blood sugar levels if taken in too much community so people with diabetes may need to adjust their medication to avoid hypoglycemia symptoms.
            • Low potassium levels: If had in excess, it can cause low blood potassium and bone loss. Over time, it can also contribute to osteoporosis. Dr. Lhotta K, Dr. Höfle G, et al, published a study that involved a 28-year-old woman, who consumed as much as 8 oz (250 ml) of apple cider vinegar diluted in water daily for six years. Following that, she was admitted to the hospital with low potassium and other abnormalities. She was also diagnosed with early signs of osteoporosis, a condition of brittle bones that is rarely seen in women that young.
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            About the Author

            Meenakshi Nagdeve, Co-Founder, Organic Facts is a health and wellness enthusiast and is responsible for managing it. She has completed the Nutrition And Healthy Living Cornell Certificate Program, Cornell University, US. She holds a Post Graduate Diploma in Management from IIM Bangalore and B. Tech in Metallurgical Engineering and Materials Science from IIT Bombay. Prior to this, she worked for a few years in IT and Financial services. An ardent follower of naturopathy, she believes in healing with foods. In her free time, she loves to travel and taste different types of teas.

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