Apple cider vinegar is one of those multipurpose products that has countless uses - from cleaning to cooking to laundry, beauty, and even health. No wonder this ingredient raised a lot of interest in the medical scientific community, with researchers considering it is a potential treatment for several conditions and carefully assessing how to take it safely and effectively. One of the most well-researched areas so far is the ability of apple cider vinegar to aid in weight loss, which is what we will discuss in detail in this article.
Apple Cider Vinegar for Weight Loss
Until not so long ago, the use of apple cider vinegar (ACV) for weight loss was mainly anecdotal, meaning that the efficacy was merely a personal observation by those who used it during their weight loss journey. The first noteworthy research assessing the effectiveness of ACV for weight loss was conducted in Japan and published in 2009. The researchers hypothesized, based on previous animal model studies, that the main acid in apple cider vinegar - acetic acid (AcOH), is capable of suppressing body fat accumulation after 4 weeks of continuous use.
The study recruited 155 obese participants and asked part of them to drink a solution of 1 tablespoon of ACV in 250 ml glass of liquid twice a day - once after breakfast, and one more time after dinner. No other changes to the participants’ diet or exercise were made. After 12 weeks of observation, the experimenters found that the participants who took the ACV solution lost an average of 4.5 pounds - a minor but significant weight loss effect.
Subsequent studies found that drinking the ACV solution alone was not as effective as accompanying it with a restricted-calorie diet, claiming that drinking the vinegar solution can help you feel fuller throughout the day and eat less as a result. Thus, while the positive effect of ACV by itself may not be very strong, combining it with a diet that limits the number of calories can be beneficial for those losing weight.
Other Potential Medical Uses
Apart from weight loss, apple cider vinegar has the potential to also aid digestion and help manage diabetes, namely:
- Blood sugar management: Preliminary studies suggest that taking ACV can help improve insulin sensitivity by 19-34% when taken right after a meal containing a lot of carbohydrates and can help improve the insulin function in general upon regular use, though only marginally as a supplementary, and not main, treatment.
- Disinfectant: Vinegar has been used to clean wounds for at least 2,000 years, and people continue using it to disinfect their homes, as well as help treat skin infections to this day. It needs to be pointed out, though, that modern medical disinfectants, antibacterial and antifungal treatments surpass ACV in terms of their effectiveness, but you can still use vinegar in a pinch.
- Gut Health: As a fermented food, ACV is rich in probiotic bacteria, so it could be potentially beneficial for gut health. Note that only unfiltered, cloudy-looking apple cider vinegar contains probiotics.
How to Take Apple Cider Vinegar Safely
Taking apple cider vinegar undiluted can be dangerous, as it can degrade the tooth enamel, irritate the throat and mouth, and cause irritation and sores in the mouth and throat. This is why the vast majority of studies direct participants to dilute the ACV with water or any other liquid. If you'd like to start taking apple cider vinegar daily, make sure to dilute it: use 2-3 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar and add it to a 350 ml (12 oz) glass of water daily after a meal.
If you suffer from kidney damage or any urinary condition, avoid taking apple cider vinegar as it's one of the foods that can damage the kidneys in those susceptible to kidney diseases.