- In one study, people who consumed 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar a day dropped 5 pounds over 12 weeks.
- In another study, participants who consumed 2 tablespoons of ACV with lunch and dinner and ate 250 calories less than their daily estimated requirements lost an average of 8.8 pounds over 12 weeks compared to only 5 pounds in those who did not take ACV.
In addition to weight loss, ACV has many other purported health benefits. However, many of the claims, such as the claim that ACV helps reduce cholesterol and blood sugar levels, are not supported by sufficient scientific evidence
5 benefits of apple cider vinegar
- Probiotic: If you look at a raw ACV bottle, you may see turbid strands of the "mother" floating around. This is a combination of yeast and bacteria that is formed during the fermentation process. The mother has probiotic effects, meaning it may help with weight loss and possibly lower blood cholesterol by promoting the growth of gut bacteria in the gut.
- Vitamin source: ACV has a vitamin profile similar to apple juice and contains some amount of B-vitamin complex and polyphenols (plant-based antioxidants), which aid tissue repair and cell regeneration.
- Antibacterial effects: Scientists have found that both lemon juice and vinegar decrease the growth of salmonella in the lettuce leaves. Thus, when used as a salad dressing, ACV may help make raw greens more safe to consume.
- Curbs hunger: Some argue that ACV helps with weight loss by reducing appetite, promoting satiety and lowering the risk of bingeing eating behaviors.
- Flavor enhancer: Independent of its health benefits, ACV comes in a variety of flavors. When added to salads and broths, it may make them more palatable.
What are the side effects of drinking apple cider vinegar?
Most physicians agree that apple cider vinegar does not have any significant role in heart health, diabetes, or high blood lipid levels (hyperlipidemia). Even purported weight loss benefits have not been studied on a long-term basis.
In fact, for some people consuming ACV may lead to side effects that include:
- Damage to tooth enamel: ACV is highly acidic. If sipped straight from the bottle, it can damage your tooth enamel and cause dental problems such as tooth sensitivity or pain. Damaged enamel can also predispose your tooth to dental caries. It is therefore advised to dilute the vinegar before consumption.
- Nausea and vomiting: Some individuals report experiencing persistent nausea when drinking ACV, which can be distressing.
- Gastroesophageal reflux: Given the high acid content of ACV, it can cause acidity and heartburn, particularly in individuals with a known history of gastroesophageal reflux disease. It is advised to consume ACV with meals to avoid this side effect.
- Low potassium levels: ACV can cause low potassium levels. This may be particularly serious in people taking medications such as diuretics or angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors for blood pressure. Having low potassium levels is a potentially fatal condition.
- Low blood glucose levels: ACV may lower your sugar levels, and may cause these levels to drop dangerously low, especially for people who take insulin or oral antidiabetic drugs.
- Kidney failure: Individuals with kidney failure may not be able to adjust their body pH to normal after consuming highly acidic ACV.
- Worsening skin conditions: Topical application of ACV for eczema, acne, and seborrheic dermatitis can do more harm than good by damaging the skin's protective barrier.
ACV can also interact with existing medications and cause undesired adverse events. So before taking apple cider vinegar for its purported and sometimes misleading health benefits, consult with your doctor.
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