Apple cider vinegar is the most popular type of vinegar in the natural health community.
It is claimed to lead to all sorts of benefits, many of which are supported by science.
This includes weight loss, reduced cholesterol, lower blood sugar levels and improved symptoms of diabetes.
It is also an ancient folk remedy, and has been used for various household and cooking purposes.
Here are 6 health benefits of apple cider vinegar that are supported by scientific research.
1. High in Acetic Acid, With Potent Biological Effects
Apple cider vinegar is made in a two-step process, related to how alcohol is made.
The first step exposes crushed apples (or apple cider) to yeast, which ferment the sugars and turn them into alcohol.
In the second step, bacteria are added to the alcohol solution, which further ferments the alcohol and turn it into acetic acid — the main active compound in vinegar.
In French, the word "vinegar" actually means "sour wine."
Organic, unfiltered apple cider vinegar (like Bragg's) also contains "mother," strands of proteins, enzymes and friendly bacteria that give the product a murky appearance.
Some people believe that the "mother" is responsible for most of the health benefits, although there are currently no studies to support this.
Apple cider vinegar only contains about three calories per tablespoon, which is very low.
There are not many vitamins or minerals in it, but it does contain a small amount of potassium. Quality apple cider vinegar also contains some amino acids and antioxidants.
2. Can Kill Many Types of Harmful Bacteria
Vinegar can help kill pathogens, including bacteria.
It has traditionally been used for cleaning and disinfecting, treating nail fungus, lice, warts and ear infections.
Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, used vinegar for wound cleaning over two thousand years ago.
Vinegar has also been used as a food preservative, and studies show that it inhibits bacteria (like E. coli) from growing in food and spoiling it.
If you're looking for a natural way to preserve your food, then apple cider vinegar could be highly useful.
There have also been anecdotal reports of diluted apple cider vinegar helping with acne when applied to the skin, but I didn't find any strong research to confirm this.
3. Lowers Blood Sugar Levels and Fights Diabetes
By far, the most successful application of vinegar to date is in patients with type 2 diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes is characterized by high blood sugar levels, either because of insulin resistance or an inability to produce insulin.
However, high blood sugar can also be a problem in people who don't have diabetes. It is believed to be a major cause of various chronic diseases.
Pretty much everyone should benefit from keeping their blood sugar levels in the normal range. The most effective (and healthiest) way to do that is to avoid refined carbs and sugar, but apple cider vinegar can also have a powerful effect.
Vinegar has been shown to have numerous benefits for blood sugar and insulin levels:
Improves insulin sensitivity during a high-carb meal by 19–34% and significantly lowers blood sugar and insulin responses.
Reduces blood sugar by 34% after eating 50 grams of white bread.
2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar before bedtime can reduce fasting blood sugar in the morning by 4%.
Numerous other studies in humans show that vinegar can improve insulin function and lower blood sugar levels after meals.
For these reasons, vinegar can be useful for people with diabetes, pre-diabetes, or those who want to keep their blood sugar levels low for other reasons.
If you're currently taking blood-sugar-lowering medications, check with your doctor before increasing your intake of any type of vinegar.
Dosage and How to Use
The best way to incorporate apple cider vinegar into your diet is to use it in your cooking — for salad dressings, homemade mayonnaise and that sort of thing.
Some people also like to dilute it in water and drink it as a beverage. Common dosages range from 1–2 teaspoons (5–10 ml) to 1–2 tablespoons (15–30 ml) per day, mixed in a large glass of water.
It’s best to start with small doses and avoid taking large amounts. Too much vinegar can cause harmful side effects, including tooth enamel erosion and potential drug interactions.
It is recommended to use organic, unfiltered apple cider vinegar with the "mother."
Bragg's seems to be the most popular option, which is available on Amazon along with tons of interesting testimonials and reviews that are fun to browse through.