Apple cider vinegar has been widely used for centuries as a home remedy for a number of health related issues. It has been used to lower blood sugar and cholesterol, aid in weight loss by acting as an appetite suppressant, detox and cleanse the body, clear skin, and reduce the symptoms of diabetes to name a few.
All of these claims have been made and passed down through folk medicine and old wives tales -- however, only a few studies have been done to prove the impacts of apple cider vinegar on the body.
Apple cider vinegar is a natural substance made from chopped apples that have been covered with water, exposed to yeast, and left to ferment at room temperature. The natural sugars in the apples then form an ethanol which is transformed into acetic acid through bacteria that is added to the mixture.
The acetic acid is responsible for the potent smell and strong, sour flavor. Organic apple cider vinegar that has not been filtered contains a substance called mother -- this is composed of strands of proteins, enzymes, and bacteria that make the vinegar appear murky. Some researchers believe acetic acid is where the vinegar gets its health benefits, others believe it comes from the mother substance -- though no scientific evidence has been proven to support this claim.
High quality brands of apple cider vinegar contain antioxidants, amino acids, and potassium which all benefit the body. We will discuss the other benefits of apple cider vinegar and how they are suggested to help the body:
- Weight Loss
- Skin Health
- Detoxifying Effects
- Lowering Cholesterol
- Reduce Symptoms of Diabetes
ACV for Weight Loss
A few studies have been done to determine the effectiveness of apple cider vinegar on weight loss. Drinking it on it’s own probably won’t cause anyone to lose weight. Instead, studies have shown that drinking it can increase the feeling of fullness -- as a result this will cause one to eat less and ingest fewer calories. A few studies reported that apple cider vinegar increases fullness by creating the feeling of nausea.
Another study conducted had two groups -- those on a restricted diet who drank the vinegar and those on a restricted diet who did not consume vinegar. After 12 weeks, participants who drank the vinegar had lost more weight.
All in all, apple cider vinegar may help promote modest, short term weight loss, but should not be relied upon for significant results.
Skin Health à la Apple Cider Vinegar
It has been suggested that apple cider vinegar can improve a number of skin related issues such as eczema and dry skin, spot treatment, and diluted to create a face wash or toner.
A study conducted by the University of Virginia used apple cider vinegar soaks on eczema patients to determine the effectiveness of relieving symptoms. Human skin is naturally slightly acidic and apple cider vinegar has been said to rebalance the pH of skin and improve the skin’s protective barrier. However, researchers concluded that the soaks did not improve the natural skin barrier and even caused skin irritation.
As a cleanser, apple cider vinegar has been said to effectively remove dirt, oil, and other debris that builds up on the skin surface. Likewise, toner is used to cleanse and tighten the skin to protect it from bacteria and imperfections. Apple cider vinegar has the ability to act as an astringent -- causing skin cells to contract, making it an option for toning. Lastly, dabbing a small amount on the skin can act as a spot treatment to clear blemishes as soon as they appear.
All cleansers and solutions of apple cider vinegar should be diluted so it will act more gently on the skin -- meaning one part vinegar to two parts water.
ACV: The Body Detoxifier
Supporters of the apple cider vinegar detox, who either drink it daily (up to three times) or as part of a detox plan claim that it has multiple health benefits for the body -- removing toxins, balancing body pH, improving digestion, boosting the immune system, providing probiotics and enzymes for the body, among others.
The liver and kidneys act as the body’s built-in detox system by removing waste and other toxins. Sometimes ingesting certain drinks or foods can interfere with this process. Little research has been done to prove the effectiveness of this cleanse on detoxifying the body. However, partaking in this cleanse for a short period of time is likely safe for most people.
Lowering Cholesterol with Apple Cider Vinegar
Having high cholesterol can increase a person’s risk for heart attack, stroke, and heart problems in general. There have been studies done to suggest that apple cider vinegar can lower triglyceride and cholesterol levels.
The previously mentioned 12 weeks study examined the effects of consuming vinegar combined with a low calorie diet. The researchers concluded that participants had not only lost more weight than those who were given the placebo, but also had lower levels of both triglyceride and cholesterol.
Participants who took apple cider vinegar also experienced significantly raised levels of high-density lipoprotein. HDL is often referred to by doctors as “good cholesterol” due to its ability to lower the risk of heart related problems.
Apple Cider Vinegar is an easy way to improve your health and wellness. Whether you're concerned about maintaining a healthy weight, want to safeguard your heart against cholesterol, or are trying to keep your skin as healthy as it can be, ACV is an essential in your routine.