Apple Cider Vinegar: Boon or B.S.?

Apple cider vinegar has been a popular home remedy for centuries. And it’s been getting a lot of press lately. Even a certain popular TV doctor recently featured it on his show.

The problem is, it’s not all it’s cracked up to be. There’s a lot less science backing apple cider vinegar (ACV) than you might think. It also has drawbacks and dangers you probably won’t hear anywhere else.

I bring you the truth on mainstream medicine and Big Pharma. I wouldn’t be a friend if I didn’t do the same with alternative medicine.

Before you jump on the ACV bandwagon, here’s what you should know…

Lots of Claims… Little Proof

I looked up all 64 references to ACV in the PubMed database. I also went through the first ten pages of results for ACV – 200 references – in Google Scholar. I found only 19 human studies, case reports, and analyses.

Three of the 19 concerned topical application of ACV. All three journal articles were reports of chemical burns caused by applying ACV to the skin.

A 2015 case in San Diego was typical. A teenager found instructions online for removing a birthmark with ACV. It didn’t go well.

Doctors in The Netherlands reported on the case of a young woman who drank ACV for weight loss. Over time, it didn’t do much for her weight… but it did ruin her teeth.

A fifth report comes from doctors at the University of Arkansas. After seeing a case of damage to a patient’s throat from taking ACV tablet, they analyzed eight of these products. They found the strength and quantity of the acid content varied significantly. And even questioned if the products actually contained real ACV at all.

Skin burns, tooth erosion, throat damage… Not exactly what you’d expect from an old home remedy. It’s not an especially strong acid, but ACV is acidic.

Still, I found evidence ACV may deliver some health benefits.

Help for Diabetes and Blood Sugar Control?

I found six studies and analyses covering ACV, blood sugar and diabetes. The results were somewhat mixed.

A 2009 study found taking vinegar daily lowered A1c – a marker of blood sugar levels – by 0.16%. That’s a fairly modest improvement… but an improvement.

A 2013 study published in The Journal of Functional Foods had similar results. This study – from some of the same authors as the 2009 study – showed vinegar helps lower fasting blood sugar levels.

I found one other study and a review of studies that came to similar conclusions. However, a 2015 review of studies found the evidence for ACV was weak at best. The author also noted some results may have been skewed by the foods the subjects ate.

On the other hand, slowed gastric emptying is fairly common in cases of diabetes. A 2007 study in BMC Gastroenterology found that ACV slows gastric emptying even further. Which could interfere with blood sugar control.

Other Possible Benefits… and Drawbacks

The other studies I found touched on several different subjects. Here’s a quick rundown…

  • A 2017 study found ACV is a potent anti-microbial. But it can kill cells at concentrations lower than those needed to kill some bacteria and fungi.
  • As a component in a proprietary chewing gum, ACV was effective against acid reflux.
  • Two studies looked at ACV’s effect on cholesterol – with opposite results. But one found people taking ACV lost weight more easily.
  • In 2017, doctors reported successfully treating a drug-resistant yeast infection with ACV.
  • Turkish scientists found topical ACV can ease the discomfort and embarrassment of varicose veins.
  • A 2014 study found ACV suppresses appetite… but nausea is a frequent side effect.

As you can see, ACV may not measure up to its reputation. I’m a big fan of alternative health. But I’m a bigger fan of what works. From what I found, apple cider vinegar’s benefits don’t always outweigh the drawbacks.

About the Author: Jason Kennedy is a celebrated investigative health writer and the author of The X-Factor Revolution and Beyond the Blue Zone. With over 10 years of experience working with today’s leading alternative and anti-aging doctors, Jason shares his insider status and access to the latest breakthroughs with thousands of readers from around world.


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Johnson, C.S., et al, “Vinegar ingestion at mealtime reduced fasting blood glucose concentrations in healthy adults at risk for type 2 diabetes,” Journal of Functional Foods. Oct 2013; (5)4: 2007-2011.

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Ozen, B. and Baser, M., “Vaginal Candidiasis Infection Treated Using Apple Cider Vinegar: A Case Report,” Altern Ther Health Med. Nov 7, 2017. pii: AT5751.

Atik, D., et al, “-e Effect of External Apple Vinegar Application on Varicosity Symptoms, Pain, and Social Appearance Anxiety,” Ev Based Comp Alt Med. 2016; 2016, Article ID 6473678.

Darzi, J., et al, “Influence of the tolerability of vinegar as an oral source of short-chain fatty acids on appetite control and food intake,” Int Jrnl Obes. 2014; 38: 675-681.


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