Research suggests that apple cider vinegar may have beneficial health properties, including antimicrobial and antioxidant effects.

Apple cider vinegar is a popular home remedy. People have used it for centuries in cooking and natural medicine. It may have some health benefits.

These may include:

  • aiding weight loss
  • reducing cholesterol
  • lowering blood sugar levels
  • improving the symptoms of diabetes

However, little research exists, and further studies are needed before it can be recommended as an alternative therapy.

This article examines the evidence behind six possible health benefits of apple cider vinegar.

Acetic acid is vinegar’s primary active compound, giving it its strong sour smell and flavor. Researchers believe this acid is responsible for apple cider vinegar’s health benefits. Cider vinegars contain about 5% acetic acid.

Organic, unfiltered apple cider vinegar also contains a substance called mother, which consists of strands of proteins, enzymes, and friendly bacteria that give the product a murky appearance.

Some believe the mother is responsible for most of its health benefits, although no studies support this.

While apple cider vinegar does not contain many vitamins or minerals, quality brands may contain some amino acids and antioxidants.

Vinegar can help kill pathogens, including some strains of bacteria.

People have traditionally used vinegar for cleaning and disinfecting, treating nail fungus, lice, warts, and ear infections.

Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, used vinegar to clean wounds more than 2,000 years ago.

Vinegar is also a food preservative. Research shows it inhibits bacteria like E. coli from growing in and spoiling food.

If you’re looking for a natural way to preserve your food, apple cider vinegar could help.

To date, one of the most convincing applications of vinegar is helping treat type 2 diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes is characterized by high blood sugar levels caused by insulin resistance or the inability to produce insulin.

However, people without diabetes can also benefit from keeping their blood sugar levels in the typical range, as some researchers believe that high blood sugar levels are a major cause of aging and various chronic diseases.

A 2019 clinical trial suggests apple vinegar consumption may have beneficial effects on the glycemic index and oxidative stress in individuals with diabetes and dyslipidemia. A 2021 review of clinical trials also found that ACV consumption may benefit glycemic status in adults.

However, the findings should be interpreted with caution, as more extensive studies are still needed to better understand apple cider vinegar’s potential benefits. In fact, the National Centers for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) says it’s important that people do not replace medical treatment with unproven health products.

Apple cider vinegar is generally recognized as safe. But if you’re taking blood-sugar-lowering medications, talk with a doctor before increasing your vinegar intake.

Perhaps surprisingly, studies show that vinegar could help people lose weight.

Several human studies show that vinegar can increase feelings of fullness. This can lead to eating fewer calories and losing weight.

One review of research noted that in short-term studies when participants consumed apple cider vinegar with a meal containing solid foods, they experienced appetite suppression for 120 minutes after the meal. They also snacked less for 3-24 hours after consuming the apple cider vinegar.

However, the longer-term studies they reviewed showed no relationship between apple cider vinegar and appetite suppression.

That said, another 2024 randomized control trial study showed significant reductions in weight (6-8 kg), body fat ratio, waist and hip circumferences, body mass index (BMI), blood sugar, as well as fats and cholesterol in the blood after daily consumption of 3 doses of apple cider vinegar (15 milliliters per tablespoon (mL/tbsp)) for 12 weeks. Larger studies are recommended to verify these findings.

Heart disease is one of the leading causes of death.

Several biological factors can affect your risk for heart disease.

Research suggests that vinegar could possibly improve some of them. But, many studies on apple cider vinegar’s benefits were conducted in animals, which may not reflect the benefits in humans.

A 2020 review of studies in both humans and animals noted that apple cider vinegar may potentially benefit levels of high-density lipoprotein, low-density lipoprotein, triglycerides, and total cholesterol.

A 2021 review of research in humans found that apple cider vinegar may benefit total cholesterol levels.

However, both reviews pointed to limitations in the quality and size of research available to support these claims.

Researchers need to do more studies before reaching any strong conclusions.

Some people use apple cider vinegar as a common remedy for skin conditions like dry skin and eczema.

The skin is naturally slightly acidic. But, it may be less acidic in people with eczema. Using diluted topical apple cider vinegar topically may help rebalance the skin’s natural pH, improving the protective skin barrier.

However, research doesn’t necessarily support this and warns that apple cider vinegar may actually irritate the skin in some people, especially people with skin conditions like eczema.

Talk with a doctor before trying new remedies, especially on damaged skin. Avoid applying undiluted vinegar to the skin, as it can cause burns.

The best way to incorporate apple cider vinegar into your diet is to use it in cooking. It’s a simple addition to foods like salad dressings and homemade mayonnaise.

Some people also like to dilute it in water and drink it as a beverage. Standard 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.

Some dietitians recommend using organic, unfiltered apple cider vinegar that contains “mother.”

What are the disadvantages of apple cider vinegar?

Consuming apple cider vinegar does come with a chance of some side effects. These include:

  • may cause indigestion
  • may lower potassium
  • may erode tooth enamel
  • may cause skin and throat burns
  • may interact with certain medications such as diuretics and some diabetes drugs.

That said, the standard daily dose of 1-2 tbs isn’t likely to lead to these effects.

Is it better to drink apple cider vinegar in the morning or at night?

While apple cider vinegar may offer some health benefits, there is a lack of research on consuming it before bedtime versus at other times like the morning. That said, to avoid side effects like indigestion or acid reflux at night, consume it at least 2-3 hours before bed.

Learn more: Should you drink apple cider vinegar before bed?

What are the benefits of apple cider vinegar gummies?

Taking apple cider vinegar in the form of gummies potentially has the same benefits as having a small amount of vinegar itself. For example, it may positively affect your cholesterol and blood sugar. In addition, often, these gummies contain other beneficial vitamins or minerals.

However, there’s no concrete evidence that taking apple cider vinegar gummies is the same as eating apple cider vinegar. In addition, some gummies might contain sugar, which could interfere with the positive effect on blood sugar.

Learn more: Are there benefits to apple cider vinegar gummies?

Many websites and natural healthcare proponents claim that apple cider vinegar has exceptional health benefits, including boosting energy and treating disease.

Unfortunately, there’s little research to support most claims about its health benefits.

That said, some studies suggest it may offer some benefits, including killing bacteria, lowering blood sugar levels, and promoting weight loss.

Apple cider vinegar appears safe when diluted as long as you don’t take excessive amounts of it.

It also has various other non-health–related uses, including as a natural hair conditioner, skin care product, and cleaning agent.

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