I’ve included the benefits of apple cider vinegar (ACV) for boosting weight loss in a previous paper, with particular reference to ramping up our AMPK. This is a relatively newly discovered enzyme which can flip the switch in your body to start burning fat rather than storing it. AMPK activation leads to an increase in the powerhouse of cells, the mitochondria, which actually burn fat to create energy. Actually any vinegar will flip this switch.
Vinegar has been used for hundreds of years for medicinal purposes and has many claims to fame for its various healing properties. I will look at those which are supported by scientific evidence.
WEIGHT LOSS (which is why you are reading this)
For every research article you find supporting a view, there is sure to be one disclaiming it. I went to NutritionFacts.org and Dr Michael Greger, who has spent his professional life establishing what the research says and putting it to the test. He supports the view that ACV may assist weight loss, and he cites a double-blind, placebo-controlled study of overweight subjects where those taking APV, as against those taking the placebo, lost a modest but statistically significant amount of weight. Of even more interest is the fact that the vinegar-drinkers lost significant visceral fat, the fat wrapped around abdominal organs (the worst sort of fat to have). The maximum beneficial dose is two tablespoonsful a day. It can be taken before two meals, one tablespoonful in water at each (always dilute APV or any vinegar before taking it). This weight loss occurred with no other adjustments to diet or exercise—the researchers checked this. After the trial the subjects’ weight crept back up. The moral here is that taking any supplement is not the answer to long-term weight loss; changing your lifestyle is the answer. But if something so cheap contributes to that process, why not take all the help you can get? Incidentally, consuming dilute ACV before meals was found to increase satiety (the feeling of fullness) and helped prevent overeating.
CONTROLLING BLOOD-SUGAR LEVELS
The most effective way to regulate blood-sugar levels is to avoid refined carbs (CRAP foods). However, ACV may also help, as studies show that taking vinegar may improve insulin sensitivity during a high-carb meal and significantly lower blood-sugar and insulin response. In a study with type-2 diabetics it was demonstrated that taking two tablespoonsful, diluted, before bedtime reduced fasting blood sugar the following morning.
PREVENTING ACID REFLUX
Some research has been conducted using ACV for managing heartburn symptoms, favourable for the potential efficacy of using ACV for gastro-oesophageal reflux disorder.
ANTI TUMOUR ACTIVITY
Some human research studies have demonstrated vinegar’s use in inhibiting cancer cell growth, particularly of the digestive tract; however, more research is required in this area.
REDUCING CHOLESTEROL AND IMPROVING HEART HEALTH
Animal studies have indicated that vinegar can lower blood pressure. This has yet to be replicated in human studies. However, a 1999 study with a large number of participants who, when tracked for ten years, were found to have a lower risk of developing fatal heart disease, just by eating an oil and vinegar salad dressing. ACV contains acetic acid which is thought to effectively reduce LDL. Researches from Harvard School of Public Health found it also increased some essential fatty acids (especially alpha-linolenic acid) which are known for their benefits in improving heart health by lowering blood pressure and controlling diabetes.
POLYCYSTIC OVARY SYNDROME (PCOS)
Insulin resistance affects 65-70% of women with PCOS. In a small trial of women with PCOS who were given one tablespoonful of ACV, diluted, daily for three months the symptoms of PCOS were mainly relieved — due to increased insulin sensitivity.
The role of ACV against harmful bacteria was the subject of a 2018 study which indicated APC may have a use in regulating acute infections resulting in strong autoimmune responses. Again further research is needed.
RISKS WITH CONSUMING ACV
With so many actual benefits and potential benefits, why not take this cheap remedy? There are some downsides:
• It can cause an inflammatory and corrosive response when swallowed for some people.
• If not diluted it can erode tooth enamel.
• You should not take ACV if you have a stomach ulcer.
• It is important to note there is absolutely no benefit in exceeding the dose of two tablespoons a day!
• Always, always dilute ACV with water before drinking it!