Apple cider vinegar has been used in the culinary world and for medicinal purposes for hundreds of years.

It’s made by combining apples with yeast to create alcohol, which is then fermented into acetic acid by added bacteria. Apple cider vinegar also contains water, vitamins, minerals, and trace amounts of other acids (1).

A recent trend is to drink it before bed, but you may wonder whether this practice really offers added health effects.

This article reviews the potential benefits and downsides of apple cider vinegar and whether drinking it before bed is more beneficial.

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People drink apple cider vinegar for various reasons.

May have antimicrobial properties

Apple cider vinegar may have antibacterial and antifungal properties. This is mostly attributed to its main ingredient, acetic acid.

A typical cause of bad breath is Helicobacter pylori bacteria. Bacteria don’t grow well in acidic environments, so if you’re prone to bad morning breath, gargling a solution of 2 tablespoons (30 ml) of apple cider vinegar and 1 cup (237 ml) of warm water may help (2, 3).

Additionally, a test-tube study found that apple cider vinegar was effective in treating Candida albicans fungus and Escherichia coli, which can cause severe intestinal infections,as well as Staphylococcus aureus, which can cause skin infections (4).

May lower your blood sugar

Research suggests that consuming apple cider vinegar can slow the emptying of your stomach and hence prevent large spikes in blood sugar. It has also been shown to increase insulin sensitivity, which can lower your blood sugar (5, 6).

Drinking apple cider vinegar before meals or right before bedtime may benefit your blood sugar levels the most.

For example, one study in people with type 2 diabetes found that taking 2 tablespoons (30 ml) of apple cider vinegar at bedtime for 2 days reduced fasting blood sugar levels by up to 6% (7).

Could support weight loss

Some evidence indicates that apple cider vinegar may help support weight loss, though research is limited.

In one study, adults with obesity drank a 17-ounce (500-ml) beverage with 1 tablespoon (15 ml), 2 tablespoons (30 ml), or no vinegar daily. After 12 weeks, the vinegar groups weighed significantly less and had less abdominal fat than the control group (8).

It’s thought that these weight loss benefits are related to the acetic acid in vinegar, which may reduce fat storage, suppress appetite, slow digestion, increase fat burning, and delay the release of hunger hormones (6, 9, 10, 11).

Summary Drinking apple cider vinegar may support weight loss goals, lower your blood sugar and insulin, and fight bacterial and fungal infections. However, these benefits don’t necessarily require drinking it right before bed.

Before you start drinking apple cider vinegar before bed, consider these potential downsides.

May cause nausea and indigestion

Apple cider vinegar has a pH level of 4.2. This means it is on the more acidic end of the pH scale, which goes from 0 to 14, with 0 being the most acidic (12).

Acidic foods cause indigestion and acid reflux in some people, especially when consumed before laying down.

Furthermore, many people drink apple cider vinegar for its purported weight loss effects. However, studies observe that these effects are primarily a result of vinegar causing nausea and eliminating the desire to eat (13).

Can damage your tooth enamel

Regularly drinking any type of vinegar and eating acidic foods has been shown to erode tooth enamel (14, 15).

This means that vinegar gradually destroys your enamel, which is the outer layer of your teeth that protects them from physical and chemical damage. Enamel is the first line of defense for your teeth and cannot regrow.

For this reason, it’s recommended to rinse your mouth with water after drinking acidic beverages or eating acidic foods.

May interact with certain medications

Apple cider vinegar may lower potassium levels in your blood.

As a result, it could interact with certain drugs that also lower your blood potassium, including some diabetes medications and diuretics.

Though research is limited, one case report states that a 28-year-old woman who drank 8 ounces (237 ml) of diluted apple cider vinegar daily for 6 years was admitted to the hospital with low potassium and other blood abnormalities (16).

Summary Consuming apple cider vinegar can cause adverse effects, such as damaged tooth enamel, nausea, acid reflux, and interaction with certain medications that lower your potassium levels.

Apple cider vinegar offers many possible health benefits. However, besides potentially lowering fasting blood sugar for some people, drinking it right before bed doesn’t appear to have more benefits than consuming it at any other time of day.

Some evidence suggests that drinking small amounts of apple cider vinegar before bed may help lower morning blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes, though more research is needed before it can be recommended as an effective natural treatment (7).

Here are a few ways to consume apple cider vinegar that may minimize side effects and offer the most benefits:

  • Dilute it. Mix 1–2 tablespoons (15–30 ml) of apple cider vinegar with 1 cup (237 ml) of water. Ingesting undiluted vinegar of any kind can damage your throat and esophagus.
  • Consume it earlier in the day. Drinking apple cider vinegar at least 30 minutes before bed may lower your risk of indigestion or acid reflux after laying down.
  • Enjoy it in other ways. Apple cider vinegar can be used on a salad or in a marinade for meat or vegetables, which may be a more pleasant way to consume it than drinking it.
Summary To lower your risk of negative side effects, dilute apple cider vinegar and drink it at least 30 minutes before bed. It can also be enjoyed on salads and in marinades rather than as a beverage.

Though apple cider vinegar may offer various benefits, such as weight loss, blood sugar control, and antibacterial effects, studies on drinking it right before bed are lacking.

What’s more, consuming it can cause nausea, indigestion, erosion of your tooth enamel, and interactions with certain medications.

Aside from potentially lowering fasting blood sugar, drinking apple cider vinegar right before bed doesn’t appear to make much of a difference in terms of its health benefits.

To prevent adverse effects, it's best to enjoy it diluted or in a dressing and at least 30 minutes before laying down.

If you want to give apple cider vinegar a try, you can buy it locally or online.