There have been many lofty claims about the miraculous healing powers of apple cider vinegar, and many people do seem to be experiencing some health benefits. However, much of what you read about this product on the Internet is overstated, or simply unfounded. There has been surprisingly little research about using vinegar for therapeutic health purposes, given the large number of dramatic claims about it. However, lack of scientific studies is a common problem for many natural and alternative therapies. Perhaps the most researched and the most promising of apple cider vinegar's benefits are in the area of type 2 diabetes and those with symptoms of cardiovascular disease. Several studies have found that vinegar may help lower blood glucose levels. In 2004, a study cited in the American Diabetes Foundation's publication Diabetes Care found that taking vinegar before meals significantly increased insulin sensitivity and dramatically reduced the insulin and glucose spikes that occur after meals. One study found that vinegar treatment improved insulin sensitivity in 19 percent of individuals with type 2 diabetes and 34 percent of those with pre-diabetes. Another Study from 2012 showed that the Consumption of apple cider vinegar over a 8 week period had a beneficial effect in significant reductions in harmful blood lipids and is recommended as a simple and cost-effective treatment for hyperlipidemia. It should be noted that hyperlipidemia is a known risk factor for atherosclerosis which can lead to cardiovascular diseases if not treated properly.
When purchasing an apple cider vinegar, you'll want to avoid the perfectly clear, "sparkling clean" varieties you commonly see on grocery store shelves. Instead, you want organic, unfiltered, unprocessed apple cider vinegar, which is murky and brown. When you try to look through it, you will notice a cobweb-like substance floating in it. This is known as "mother," and it indicates your vinegar is of good quality. The reason manufacturers distill vinegar is to remove this rather murky looking stuff that most folks won't buy. But in this case, it's the murky looking stuff you want. As with everything else, the more processed a food is, the less nutritious, and this holds true for apple cider vinegar.
The first vinegar was the result of an ancient accident. Long ago, someone stored a keg of wine too long (presumably a poorly sealed one that allowed oxygen in). When the eager drinkers opened it, they found a sour liquid instead of wine. The name "vinegar" comes from the French words for "sour wine."
If you are considering taking it medicinally, there are some things to keep in mind.
- Apple cider vinegar is highly acidic. The main ingredient is acetic acid, which is quite harsh. You should always dilute it with water or juice before swallowing. Pure, straight apple cider vinegar could damage your tooth enamel or the tissues of your mouth and throat. (There is, in fact, one reported incident of long-term esophageal damage to a woman who got an apple cider vinegar supplement capsule stuck in her throat.)
- Long-term excessive use could conceivably cause low potassium levels and lower bone density.
- Excessive use can cause nausea if consumed on a empty stomach and you may need to vary the time of day in which you drink this substance to determine when it sits well with your system.
- Apple cider vinegar could theoretically interact with diuretics, laxatives, and medicines for diabetes and heart disease.
If you are under the care of a physician and you want to try a course of apple cider vinegar, talk to your doctor first to make sure it won't interfere with any of the medications you are presently on.
Let's go on record and note that the scary, but truthful side effects occur in anything we consume. Even with water. Yes, you can over consume water. All of these things to keep in mind about apple cider vinegar relate to excessive use, i.e. Apple Cider Vinegar Diet.
There are no official guidelines about taking vinegar internally. Some people take one to two teaspoons a day, mixed in a glass of water or juice, before meals or in the morning, and report benefits from doing so. The risk of taking small amounts of apple cider vinegar seems low. Enjoy your ACV!
References. Zahra, B. (2012). Influence of Apple Cider Vinegar on Blood Lipids. Life Science Journal, 9(4). Retrieved from http://www.lifesciencesite.com/lsj/life0904/360_10755life0904_2431_2440.pdf