Many people take apple cider vinegar every day to improve their health. Some claim that it helps them lose weight, reduces blood sugar, regulates the menstrual cycle or cures coughs and colds. But what are the real benefits of apple cider vinegar? Does it help with weight loss? Is it truly effective in treating diabetes, curing common illnesses and regulating menstruation? Or is apple cider vinegar just another natural remedy with no proven benefits, and only a few side effects that should be avoided?
What exactly is apple cider vinegar?
Apple cider vinegar is made from fermented apples. It has been used as a medical treatment for thousands of years. Today it is commonly used as a food additive or home remedy.
The health benefits of apple cider vinegar are believed to come from its high levels of acetic acid, which has antibacterial and antifungal properties. However, there is no scientific evidence that apple cider vinegar can actually help you lose weight or treat diabetes. But it does seem to have some beneficial effects on blood glucose levels as well as cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
These effects may be due, in part, to its ability to slow the rate of digestion. This gives you a feeling of fullness and can help decrease your overall calorie intake throughout the day. It also helps to reduce fat storage because the acetic acid may interfere with enzymes needed for fatty acid synthesis in the body. There are also some studies that show apple cider vinegar can help reduce insulin resistance.
How does apple cider vinegar affect blood sugar levels?
Many people claim that apple cider vinegar helps them maintain healthy blood sugar levels. Namely, it is supposed to prevent a spike in blood sugar after meals by slowing the breakdown of starches found in carbohydrate foods.
In fact, a recent study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that taking one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar before bed may help lower blood sugar levels overnight in people with insulin resistance or diabetes. The researchers observed that this led to less hunger and fewer cravings for sweet foods in the morning.
Another small study involving eight men and six women with type 2 diabetes found that taking 15 mL (one tablespoon) of apple cider vinegar before a high-carbohydrate meal reduced post-meal glucose levels by about 25%. However, this study was conducted in a highly controlled setting and should be reproduced in larger studies.
In one study, 14 healthy men were given white bread along with water alone or with 15 mL of vinegar at 30 minute intervals. Those who took the vinegar along with their meal ate 200 fewer calories in the next 24 hours compared to when they consumed water with their meal.
What is the effect of apple cider vinegar on cholesterol?
Studies show that apple cider vinegar may help lower triglyceride levels, total cholesterol and bad cholesterol. Unfortunately, it does not seem to work all that well for weight loss.
There is no evidence that apple cider vinegar helps with weight loss in healthy adults who are overweight or obese. However, some studies have found that taking 15 mL (one tablespoon) of vinegar prior to meals may help reduce appetite and food intake at the following meal in those who are not overweight.
Apple cider vinegar may also reduce LDL cholesterol in people with high triglyceride levels and diabetes, though it does not appear to have any effect on HDL or bad cholesterol levels. In some studies, it was shown that taking about two tablespoons of vinegar before bed reduced total cholesterol by 2% and LDL by 3% after 4 weeks.
Can apple cider vinegar help treat diabetes?
Apple cider vinegar may be helpful for people with diabetes or insulin resistance. A study found that taking 15 mL (one tablespoon) of apple cider vinegar 30 minutes before a high-carbohydrate meal reduced post-meal glucose levels by about 25% in those with insulin resistance or diabetes, compared to people who had the same meal but did not take vinegar. Apple cider vinegar may also help improve insulin sensitivity in those with type 2 diabetes, based on a small study of 12 people between 30 and 60 years old.
What are the other benefits of apple cider vinegar?
Despite all the hype surrounding apple cider vinegar, it is probably best known for helping with heartburn. In fact, it has been shown to be more effective than some over-the-counter antacids for relieving acid reflux symptoms when taken regularly at bedtime.
How much apple cider vinegar should I take?
There is no recommended dose for apple cider vinegar. Some studies used 15 mL (one tablespoon) taken before meals while others used larger doses.
Apple cider vinegar is generally safe to use, but taking too much may cause acid reflux and erosive damage to the esophagus. Some people may be allergic or sensitive to apple cider vinegar, so it should be avoided by those with allergies to apples or other types of fruit.