Apple cider vinegar has been claimed to cure many ailments from weight loss to curing hiccups. Is there any truth that apple cider vinegar is beneficial for health or are these claims all old wives’ tales?
Apple cider vinegar is made from real apples that are fermented in a large container for an extended period of time.
As the apples ferment, something referred to as the “mother” forms (1). This is a web like substance that is usually found on the bottom of apple cider vinegar jars.
Apple cider vinegar is often portrayed as a vinegar product that is minimally processed, and because of this it may be higher in certain nutrients compared to other vinegars.
The fermenting process of the apples in vinegar solutions is thought to give health benefits associated with apple cider vinegar.
While apple cider vinegar can’t prevent or cure any diseases, there are some studies to suggest moderate intakes may positively affect blood sugar, blood lipids and even weight loss.
However, more research is needed for the effects of apple cider vinegar on overall health and skin health.
Getting too much apple cider vinegar could be harmful for the digestive tract, so be sure to use it in moderation and speak with your doctor before adding it to your diet.
According to a 2016 CNN article (2), research from mice suggest mice who had acetic acid (the main part of vinegar) as part of a high fat diet didn’t gain as much weight as mice fed the same high fat diet.
Research from Japan also suggests apple cider vinegar may have a role in weight loss.
Study participants were split into three groups for 12 weeks: daily drink with apple cider vinegar, daily drink with half an ounce of apple cider vinegar and daily drink with one ounce of apple cider vinegar.
Both apple cider vinegar groups lost more weight and belly fat compared to the group not getting any apple cider vinegar.
Health experts suggest taking apple cider vinegar will not itself shed weight; it won’t cancel out high calorie meals.
It may be a part of a healthy diet to encourage weight loss, but it is not a magic bullet fix for quick weight loss.
Apple cider vinegar’s effect on blood sugar
One way apple cider vinegar has been shown to positively impact health is with blood sugar. A 2015 study (3) concluded apple cider vinegar had a significant impact on lowering blood glucose level in diabetic mice after 7 days.
Researchers put varying amounts of apple cider vinegar in water for mice for 21 days.
From 7-21 days, blood glucose levels were lower in the mice receiving varying amounts of apple cider vinegar compared to mice receiving plain water.
WebMD (4) suggests apple cider vinegar may be helpful for blood glucose control because it can block the digestion of some carbohydrates.
One study found drinking less than an ounce of apple cider vinegar with a high carb meal helped control blood glucose levels after the meal (5).
Keep in mind drinking apple cider vinegar won’t negate all carbohydrate digestion, and taking it in place of diabetic medications is not recommended.
Following an overall healthy diet and exercise program are still recommended for best blood glucose control.
Apple cider vinegar and skin health
There are many websites that claim apple cider vinegar can help skin health. Some websites claim applying apple cider vinegar to skin can help ward off acne, minimize pores, balance skin pH and soothe irritated skin.
However, unlike apple cider vinegar’s effect with blood sugar, there is not much (if any) research to back up claims of apple cider vinegar positively affecting skin health.
Applying apple cider vinegar to skin may positively affect the health of your skin, but there isn’t evidence to support these claims.
Some sources claim the anti-inflammatory properties in apple cider vinegar can benefit the skin. Avoid putting apple cider vinegar on open skin wounds as this may interfere with healing.
Does drinking apple cider vinegar affect skin health?
There are not research studies to show apple cider vinegar having a direct positive benefit on skin health.
Some websites have personal testimonies claiming drinking apple cider vinegar has benefited their skin, but that is not the same as evidence from research.
The Linus Pauling Institute (6) suggests changes in nutritional status can affect the appearance of the skin.
Balanced nutrition that provides adequate macro and micronutrients will support skin health.
Eating a diet high in antioxidants can help protect skin cells from damage caused by free radicals.
Tips for taking apple cider vinegar
If you wish to drink or apply apple cider vinegar to your skin, speak with your doctor first.
Drinking apple cider vinegar by itself is not recommended because it is acidic. Drinking it by itself could damage tooth enamel and cause gastric distress.
Dilute 1-2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar with 16-24 ounces of water.
You can sip this slowly throughout the day or at meal times.
If you have any digestive problems, speak with your doctor before taking.
Apple cider vinegar may irritate the stomach in some people because of the acidity.
There is not research to suggest applying apple cider vinegar to skin will have a positive effect.
However, some people may find applying it as recommended could help with certain skin problems.
This may not apply to everyone though.
Drinking apple cider vinegar may not directly benefit skin health. Drinking diluted apple cider vinegar may have some benefit for blood glucose control and possibly even weight loss.
However, more research is needed and apple cider vinegar should not be used as a treatment or in place of following a healthy diet.