Apple cider vinegar is very popular in the natural health and wellness world.
Many claim it can lead to weight loss, decreased cholesterol and lower blood sugar levels.
To reap these benefits without having to consume liquid vinegar, some turn to apple cider vinegar pills.
This article takes a detailed look at the possible benefits and downsides of apple cider vinegar pills.
Apple cider vinegar is made by fermenting apples with yeast and bacteria. Supplements in pill form contain a dehydrated form of the vinegar.
People may choose to take pills over liquid apple cider vinegar if they don’t like the vinegar’s strong taste or smell.
The amount of apple cider vinegar in the pills varies by brand, but typically one capsule contains about 500 mg, which is equivalent to two liquid teaspoons (10 ml). Some brands also include other ingredients that aid metabolism, such as cayenne pepper.
Summary Apple cider vinegar pills contain a powder form of the vinegar in varying amounts, sometimes along with other ingredients.
There is little research on the effects of apple cider vinegar pills.
Supposed benefits are based on studies that looked at liquid apple cider vinegar or acetic acid, its main active compound.
While these studies are helpful in predicting possible effects of apple cider vinegar pills, it’s difficult to assess if the pill form has the same effect.
Scientists suspect that compounds in liquid vinegar may decrease fat production and improve your body’s ability to use sugar, leading to most of its health benefits (1, ).
Some of the benefits of apple cider vinegar that are backed by science include:
- Weight loss: Drinking diluted vinegar may aid weight loss and decrease body fat (, 4).
- Blood sugar control: Vinegar has been shown to decrease blood sugar levels (, 6, ).
- Reduction in cholesterol: Consuming vinegar may reduce cholesterol and triglyceride levels (, , ).
Most research on the effects of vinegar has been conducted in rats and mice, but the few studies that include humans offer promising results.
One study found that people who consumed a diluted drink with 0.5–1.0 ounces (15–30 ml) of vinegar every day for 12 weeks lost 1.98–7.48 pounds (0.9–3.4 kg) more weight than the control group ().
Another study found that 0.04 ounces (1 gram) of acetic acid, the main active ingredient in apple cider vinegar, mixed with olive oil decreased the blood sugar response by 34% in healthy adults after eating white bread ().
For those with type 2 diabetes, drinking a daily mix of two tablespoons (30 ml) of apple cider vinegar and water decreased fasting blood sugar levels by 4% after just two days ().
Summary Research suggests that liquid apple cider vinegar may be beneficial for people who have high cholesterol, want to lose weight or have type 2 diabetes. Whether or not these benefits translate to pill forms of the vinegar is unknown.
Consuming apple cider vinegar can lead to negative side effects, including indigestion, throat irritation and low potassium.
These effects most likely occur because of the vinegar’s acidity. Long-term consumption of apple cider vinegar may also disrupt your body’s acid-base balance (10).
One study found that people who consumed a drink with 0.88 ounces (25 grams) of apple cider vinegar with breakfast felt significantly more nauseous than people who did not ().
An evaluation of the safety of apple cider vinegar tablets reported that one woman experienced irritation and difficulty swallowing for six months after a pill got stuck in her throat ().
Furthermore, a case study of a 28-year-old woman who had a daily drink of eight ounces (250 ml) of apple cider vinegar mixed with water for six years reported that she was hospitalized with low potassium levels and osteoporosis (10).
Liquid apple cider vinegar has been shown to erode tooth enamel as well (, ).
While apple cider vinegar pills probably don’t lead to tooth erosion, they have been shown to cause throat irritation and may have other negative side effects similar to those of liquid vinegar.
Summary Studies and case reports suggest that ingesting apple cider vinegar can lead to upset stomach, throat irritation, low potassium and erosion of tooth enamel. Apple cider vinegar pills may have similar side effects.
Due to the minimal research on apple cider vinegar pills, there is no suggested or standard dosage.
The research that currently exists suggests that 1–2 tablespoons (15–30 ml) per day of liquid apple cider vinegar diluted in water appears to be safe and have health benefits (, ).
Most brands of apple cider vinegar pills recommend similar amounts, though few state an equivalent in liquid form, and it's difficult to verify this information.
While the recommended dosages of apple cider vinegar pills may be similar to what appears to be safe and effective in liquid form, it’s unknown if the pills have the same properties as the liquid.
What’s more, the reported amount of apple cider vinegar in pills may not even be accurate since the FDA doesn’t regulate supplements. The pills could also contain ingredients that aren’t listed.
In fact, one study analyzed eight different apple cider vinegar pills and found that their labels and reported ingredients were both inconsistent and inaccurate ().
If you’re looking to try apple cider vinegar pills, keep possible risks in mind. You can buy them over the counter or online
It’s best to look for brands that have been tested by a third party and include a logo from NSF International, NSF Certified for Sport, United States Pharmacopeia (USP), Informed-Choice, ConsumerLab or the Banned Substances Control Group (BSCG).
Consuming apple cider vinegar in liquid form diluted with water may be the best way to know exactly what you are ingesting.
Summary Due to the limited amount of research that exists, there is no standard dosage for apple cider vinegar pills. These supplements are not regulated by the FDA and may contain varying amounts of apple cider vinegar or unknown ingredients.
Apple cider vinegar in liquid form may aid weight loss, blood sugar control and high cholesterol levels.
People who don’t like the strong smell or taste of vinegar may be interested in apple cider vinegar pills.
It’s unclear whether apple cider vinegar pills have the same health benefits as the liquid form or if they’re safe in similar dosages.
These supplements are not regulated by the FDA and may contain varying amounts of apple cider vinegar or unknown ingredients, making it difficult to assess their safety.
If you’re looking to reap the possible benefits of apple cider vinegar, consuming the liquid form may be your best bet. You can do this by diluting it with water to drink, adding it to salad dressings or mixing it into soups.