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Apple cider vinegar has gained so much popularity in the recent years and is considered as a nutrition superstar. It’s been used for centuries for various household issues and cooking. There are different types of vinegar available in the supermarkets and grocery stores across the globe, but apple cider vinegar is the most popular amongst all of them. It is a powerhouse of nutrients and has many health benefits.

Apple cider vinegar (also called ACV) is a type of vinegar made by fermenting apple cider. Apples are crushed to extract the juice from them. Yeast is added to this apple juice which converts the fruit sugars into alcohol. This process is called fermentation. Then bacteria is added to the alcohol which in turn converts it into acetic acid. Acetic acid and malic acid give vinegar its sour taste and peculiar odour. It has a pale to medium yellowish-orange colour. It is used in chutneys, marinades, salad dressings, food preservatives etc.

Most of the apple cider vinegar that is available in the market is filtered and pasteurized to give it a clear appearance and to kill all the bacteria, to give it a long shelf life. But that's not the real apple cider vinegar. The authentic one is the vinegar with the mother. In unrefined vinegar or varieties of vinegar with the mother (original bacterial culture used to make vinegar), you can actually see the mother culture made of the nutrients and bacteria. This can be seen at the bottom of the bottle in which it is stored and the vinegar will have a murky appearance. This is the organic, unpasteurized apple cider vinegar and has many medicinal uses.

Apple cider vinegar is gaining immense popularity among the health conscious people all over the world. It is believed to have various health benefits including lowering of blood pressure, reduced risk of cancer and weight loss.

An ancient nomadic tribe called Aryans made a sour wine from apples and this is considered to be a precursor for the cider. From the Aryans, the cider passed on to the Greeks and Romans. It is believed that Japanese Samurai warriors drank apple cider vinegar for enhanced strength and endurance.

  1. Apple cider vinegar nutrition facts
  2. Apple cider vinegar health benefits
  3. Apple cider vinegar side effects
  4. Takeaway
  5. Direct consumption of apple cider vinegar may be harmful to your health says research

Apple cider vinegar has about 21 calories. It does not contain any fat, carbohydrates, protein or fiber. It is also rich in minerals such as phosphorus, magnesium, calcium, and potassium. It is a great way to add a burst of flavour to your food that does not increase your calorie intake too much.

As per the USDA Nutrient Database, 100 g of apple cider vinegar contains the following values:

Nutrients Value per 100 g
Water 93.81 g
Energy 21 kcal
Ash 0.17 g
Carbohydrate 0.93 g
Sugars 0.4 g
Glucose 0.1 g
Fructose 0.3 g
Minerals  
Calcium 7 mg
Iron 0.2 mg
Magnesium 5 mg
Phosphorus 8 mg
Potassium 73 mg
Sodium 5 mg
Zinc 0.04 mg
Copper 0.008 mg
Manganese 0.249 mg
  • For weight loss: One of the most widely known uses of apple cider vinegar is its assistance in weight loss process. It suppresses fat accumulation and lowers visceral fat content, which is helpful in the management of obesity.
  • For diabetes: Another significant use of apple cider vinegar is that it helps to regulate blood sugar levels when taken after a meal.
  • For bad breath: Apple cider vinegar helps to control bad breath as it modifies the pH of the oral cavity, which is non-conducive to the growth of bacteria.
  • For skin and hair: Apple cider vinegar reduces acne or pimples by controlling the growth of P. acnes, which is the causative organism. The use of this on the hair promotes lustre and shine of hair while preventing scalp itching, dandruff, dry scalp and managing head lice.
  • Other benefits: The use of apple cider vinegar aids the process of digestion and it also has an activity against several microorganisms, which helps to reduce the incidence of ear infections and nail infections. Further, it helps to improve the absorption of minerals by your body.
  • For cancer: Apple cider vinegar can help in reducing the size of tumours and has a potential against gastric cancer.
  • For heart: Apple cider vinegar reduces blood cholesterol levels and may facilitate the prevention of cardiovascular disorders.
  1. Apple cider vinegar for mineral absorption
  2. Apple cider vinegar antimicrobial properties
  3. Apple cider vinegar for diabetes
  4. Apple cider vinegar for weight loss
  5. Apple cider vinegar anticancer properties
  6. Apple cider vinegar for bad breath
  7. Apple cider vinegar for heart health
  8. Apple cider vinegar for acne
  9. Apple cider vinegar for hair
  10. Apple cider vinegar for digestion

Apple cider vinegar for mineral absorption

Vinegar is derived from the French word vin aigre which means “sour wine”. A two-step process is used to make apple cider vinegar. Firstly, the crushed apples are exposed to yeast which ferments the sugars into alcohol. Then, bacteria is added to the alcohol solution to further ferment it to form acetic acid. Acetic acid is responsible for the tart flavour and pungent odour of the vinegar. Acetic acid is capable of increasing your body’s capacity to absorb minerals from the foods. Additional studies show that acetic acid is capable of lowering blood pressure.

Organic, unfiltered apple cider vinegar contains “mother” which are strands of proteins, enzymes, and friendly bacteria. The murkiness of apple cider vinegar is because of the “mother”. Retaining the mother is important because it gives the complete health benefits that the refined apple cider might lack.

Apple cider vinegar antimicrobial properties

Antibiotic-resistant bacteria are rapidly becoming a major worldwide problem. There has been a steady increase in the number of pathogens that show multiple drug resistance. Vinegar can help kill the pathogens and harmful bacteria. Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine is known to have used vinegar to clean open wounds and dress them to prevent further infection. Historically, vinegar has been produced and sold as a commercial commodity for over 5000 years. It has also been used for cleaning and disinfecting, for ear infections, warts, lice and also treating nail fungus. Vinegar has also been used as a food preservative. It impedes bacteria from growing on the food and spoiling it. A study concluded that apple cider vinegar can have multiple antimicrobial effects directly on E.coli, S. aureus and C. albicans which cause infections in humans.

Apple cider vinegar for diabetes

The most successful use of vinegar so far has been seen in patients with type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is a problem that causes your blood sugar levels to increase than the normal level. A research showed that having vinegar post lunch or dinner has significant effects in reducing the blood sugar level. Further studies also proved that having vinegar at bedtime decrease the fasting glucose levels by 4% in diabetic people.

The most effective way to regulate blood sugar would be to avoid refined carbohydrates and sugar, but apple cider vinegar can also have a very powerful effect to keep the blood sugar levels under check.

(Read more: Diabetes symptoms)

Apple cider vinegar for weight loss

Acetic acid (AcOH), the main component of apple cider vinegar, was recently found to suppress fat accumulation in the body. A research was conducted to analyse the effects of vinegar intake on the reduction of body fat in obese Japanese people. It was inferred that body weight, BMI, waist circumference, visceral fat area, and serum triglyceride levels were significantly lower in people who consumed apple cider vinegar. Daily intake of vinegar might be useful in the prevention of obesity and reduction of body fat. Apple cider vinegar induces the feeling of fullness and helps people eat less, which leads to weight loss.

Apple cider vinegar anticancer properties

Cancer is a disease which is characterized by an uncontrolled growth of cells.

Various studies show that vinegar possesses anticancer properties and can kill cancer cells and shrink tumours. Certain experiments which were conducted inferred that acetic acid promptly induced cell death. It has very powerful anticarcinogenic (inhibits cancer) properties. Topical application of acetic acid may be a possible approach for the treatments of gastric cancer and possibly other cancers. However, all the studies and researches conducted so far have been in laboratory-based or animal models. Due to the absence of clinical studies, it is hard to confirm the anticancer efficiency of apple cider vinegar in humans.

Apple cider vinegar for bad breath

Bacteria doesn’t grow in acidic conditions, so a vinegar mouthwash may help reduce the growth of bacteria. Acidity is measured in pH. Environments with pH values below 7.0 are considered to be acidic, whereas those with pH values above 7.0 are known to be basic. Bacteria are generally neutrophiles which means they grow best at a neutral pH level close to 7.0. Since vinegar is acidic in nature, it becomes an unsuitable environment for the bacteria to grow. This may help reduce or get rid of bad breath.

Add 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar to 1 cup of water to make a vinegar mouthwash at home.

Apple cider vinegar for heart health

Most premature deaths in the world are caused due to heart diseases. Numerous biological factors like obesity, lifestyle, and diet are generally linked to these heart diseases. Research shows that consuming vinegar can mitigate the risk of cardiovascular diseases.

An animal-based study demonstrates that dietary acetic acid reduces serum concentrations of total cholesterol and triacylglycerols in a cholesterol-rich diet. But these studies only show an association and are not proof enough. Studies also show that apple cider vinegar can lower blood sugar levels, improve insulin sensitivity and help fight diabetes. These factors also lead to a reduced risk of heart diseases.

(Read more: Heart disease symptoms)

Apple cider vinegar for acne

Acne is a very common problem among the youth. Vinegar is known for its antimicrobial and antibacterial properties. Apple cider vinegar contains acetic, lactic, succinic and citric acid. Research shows that succinic acid effectively inhibits the growth of Propionibacterium acnes (P. acnes), a skin bacteria, that has been associated with acne. Based on the results of these studies, it's possible that applying apple cider vinegar to your skin may control acne-causing bacteria.

Apple cider vinegar for hair

There has not been enough research to prove that apple cider vinegar is good for hair. A study on the pH levels of various shampoos' has proved that highly alkaline shampoos can cause hair friction, dryness, and breakage resulting in damage to the hair follicles. The study argued that most shampoos tend to be alkaline. Apple cider vinegar, on the other hand, helps balance the pH levels, thereby protecting the hair. It can provide shine, smoothness, and strength to the hair by increasing the acidity and lowering the pH level. Apple cider vinegar also possesses antimicrobial properties. It can help keep the scalp free from bacteria and fungus, thereby preventing itching. There is not enough research to prove that apple cider vinegar can prevent dandruff or dry scalp.

Apple cider vinegar for digestion

In its raw form, apple cider vinegar is an excellent digestive tonic. It is very rich in living enzymes that help to break food down to its bare components, making it much easier to assimilate. The main ingredient in apple cider vinegar is acetic acid which enables the first step of digestion to work effectively. Stirring up those digestive juices helps with the rest of the digestive processes. Acetic acid has also been observed to help with mineral absorption, enabling us to get the most out of the food we eat.

  1. Whether apple cider vinegar is consumed in the tablet form or the liquid form, its overuse can damage or corrode the oesophagus, tooth enamel and stomach lining due to its high acidic content. Besides giving a yellowish tinge to the teeth, apple cider vinegar can increase tooth sensitivity as well. Moreover, direct application of undiluted apple cider vinegar on the skin can cause rashes, irritation and a burning sensation.

  2. Studies show that the high acetic acid content of apple cider vinegar causes low potassium levels in your blood. This condition is called hypokalemia. This situation may cause ailments such as weakness, cramps, nausea, cramps, frequent urination, low blood pressure, changes in heart rhythm and paralysis.

  3. Apple cider vinegar can easily react with some drugs such as laxatives (relieves constipation), diuretics (expells extra water and salts from the body), and insulin because of its acidic nature. Since apple cider vinegar has a direct effect on the insulin levels and blood sugar, it may prove to be highly hazardous when taken with blood pressure and diabetes medications. Patients with diabetes should use it cautiously because it may contain chromium which may affect the insulin levels.

  4. Excessive use of apple cider vinegar can lower the mineral bone density making the bones brittle. Hence, people suffering from osteoporosis should never go overboard with apple cider vinegar.

  5. Due to the high level of acetic acid present in apple cider vinegar, overuse can lead to face swelling, difficulty in breathing, pain in the throat and soreness.

One of the big reasons why people stay away from apple cider vinegar is its taste. But this can be masked by adding it to a salad or mixing it with water and honey. Also, drinking apple cider vinegar directly is harmful because it's acid content can damage your oesophagus. Consuming apple cider vinegar regularly can help keep diseases at bay. But no food is perfect and too much of anything has side-effects. So it is best to consume apple cider vinegar in moderation to reap its full health building potential.

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References

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  2. Surajit Bhattacharya. Wound healing through the ages. Indian J Plast Surg. 2012 May-Aug; 45(2): 177–179. PMID: 23162212
  3. Darshna Yagnik, Vlad Serafin, and Ajit J. Shah. Antimicrobial activity of apple cider vinegar against Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus and Candida albicans; downregulating cytokine and microbial protein expression. Sci Rep. 2018; 8: 1732. PMID: 29379012
  4. Panayota Mitrou. Vinegar Consumption Increases Insulin-Stimulated Glucose Uptake by the Forearm Muscle in Humans with Type 2 Diabetes. J Diabetes Res. 2015; 2015: 175204. PMID: 26064976
  5. Kondo T, Kishi M, Fushimi T, Ugajin S, Kaga T Vinegar intake reduces body weight, body fat mass, and serum triglyceride levels in obese Japanese subjects.. Biosci Biotechnol Biochem. 2009 Aug;73(8):1837-43. Epub 2009 Aug 7. PMID: 19661687
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  7. Maria Fernanda Reis Gavazzoni Dias et al. The Shampoo pH can Affect the Hair: Myth or Reality?. Int J Trichology. 2014 Jul-Sep; 6(3): 95–99. PMID: 25210332
  8. Kashimura J, Kimura M, Itokawa Y. The effects of isomaltulose, isomalt, and isomaltulose-based oligomers on mineral absorption and retention. Biol Trace Elem Res. 1996 Sep;54(3):239-50. PMID: 8909697