While some of the amazing abilities of apple cider vinegar (ACV) are anecdotal, passed along as traditional cures, like using it for colds and sore throats, others are corroborated by clinical studies. But how would taking “ACV” before bed help you? Let’s just say it has the potential to drastically improve the health and wellness of half the population, and that’s nothing to sneeze at.
Story at a glance
NBC News reported that half the U.S. population suffers from either high blood sugar or full-blown diabetes, and half of them don’t even realize it
Eleven study subjects had a little apple cider vinegar with cheese as a bedtime snack and woke up the next day with significantly lowered blood glucose levels
Apple cider vinegar is useful for a number of health-related conditions, such as balancing your pH, increasing your good gut bacteria and helping to control your weight
ACV uses are various and unexpected; its antibacterial effects help cure athlete’s foot and heal wounds, the acetic acid helps tone your skin and treat dandruff, and the same compounds make it useful for cleaning around the house
No doubt, you’ve seen them – lists touting the amazing curative power of apple cider vinegar for an amazing number of ills. “ACV” (as it’s sometimes referred to in studies) has been praised for its ability to balance you pH, increase good gut bacteria and help control your weight, as well as many other beneficial things.
Here’s the kicker: All those are true, and more besides.
One of the most sensational is its ability to balance your blood sugar. A studyi at Arizona State University tested 11 volunteers with type 2 diabetes (diagnosed by a doctor) who weren’t taking insulin but continued taking their prescription medications.
Each participant took 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar with a snack – an ounce of cheese – before bedtime. The researchers demonstrated that in the morning, the study subjects had lower blood sugar readings than when they had the same snack with 2 tablespoons of water.
This is important and potentially life-changing news for half of the American population, as NBC News reports that half the country suffers from either high blood sugar or full-blown diabetes.
That’s a huge jump from the projection of 1 in 3 by 2050 made by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2010.ii Worse, half that number are unaware of how compromised their health really is.iii
That wasn’t an isolated fluke; the benefits of apple cider vinegar have been tested in a myriad of studies, according to CNN Health,iv for many different types of health issues.
More studies reveal: ACV positively impacts blood sugar levels
A recent studyv showed that three groups – adults with pre-diabetes, type 2 diabetes, and healthy people – after taking an ounce of ACV, all had lower blood glucose levels when they ate a high-carb meal consisting of a white bagel with butter and a glass of orange juice; again, compared with a placebo rather than the cider vinegar.
But there’s more: Those with pre-diabetes improved their blood glucose levels by almost half, and the subjects with type 2 diabetes cut their blood glucose levels by 25 percent.
Just as dramatic are the studies involving ACV’s potential for controlling weight. The Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry reported a studyvi on mice that were fed a high-fat diet along with the active ingredient in apple cider vinegar: acetic acid. The animal subjects ended up with 10 percent lower body weight than the control subjects.
What this reveals, researchers assert, is that acetic acid can “turn on” trigger genes that initiates the enzymes’ ability to break down fat, which prevents weight gain. It also helps you feel full.
A studyvii in Japan conducted a similar double-blind trial on obese adults, each with a similar body weight, waist measurement and body mass index (BMI), and split the subjects into three groups.
For 12 weeks, members of one group drank half an ounce of ACV, one group had a beverage with one ounce of ACV and the third group had a drink with no ACV. When the study was over, those who drank the cider vinegar had lower body weight and belly fat, smaller waist measurements and lower triglycerides compared to the others.
The scientists wrote: “In conclusion, daily intake of vinegar might be useful in the prevention of metabolic syndrome by reducing obesity.”
Apple cider vinegar’s effects on cancer cells, immune support
Another thing apple cider vinegar provides is detoxification in your lymphatic system, which then helps optimize homeostatic function in your body. This may be as a result of the antioxidants in ACV reducing oxidative damage by free radicals, while improving both your blood and organs. The Truth About Cancer says:
“Cider vinegar was recently determined to be a strong antimicrobial agent and alternative to toxic and expensive chemical disinfectants. One of the most fatal bacterium, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, is resistant to disinfectants but is found to be killed by acetic acid.5
Especially in patients who are immunosuppressed, apple cider vinegar is an excellent natural antimicrobial tonic to rid of harmful bacteria and provide immune support.”viii
Several test-tube studies show that vinegar can kill cancer cells. Authority Nutritionix cites several studies; one in particular in Japan used several types of fermented vinegars to induce apoptosis (programmed cell death) in leukemia cells.x
In another study, malignant breast and colon tumors, as well as lung, bladder and prostate cancers, were all inhibited using rice vinegar, but especially the cancerous colon tumors, which were inhibited by 62 percent.xi
Vinegar punch (or drizzle) recipes for digestive health and sore throat
If you’ve had problems such as colitis, ulcers or acid reflux (sometimes due to insufficient acid in your stomach), a double whammy of apple cider vinegar with the added bonus of fermented veggies has the potential to ease several kinds of stomach problems. The mild acid in fermentation is lactic acid rather than acetic acid, to help improve your gut microbiome.
Animal studies have proven helpful when researchers want to test apple cider vinegar on digestion. In one study, Health.com reports:xii
“Apple cider vinegar may also be a boon to digestive health, based on the results of a study done on mice with ulcerative colitis.
The researchers found that when acetic acid was added to their drinking water, they had higher levels of good bacteria in their guts, such as Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria, and reduced symptoms of the gastrointestinal disease.”xiii
For everyday gut health, a mixture of 2 teaspoons of ACV with a teaspoon of raw honey in a cup of warm water will help.
ACV with honey and ginger for a sore throat is a popular and effective remedy. Another mixture for sore throat, recommended by Bonnie K. McMillen, a nurse from the University of Pittsburgh,xiv includes:
1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
2 Tbsp. water
1 Tbsp. raw honey
¼ tsp. ground ginger
Optional: ¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
With this recipe, tiny sips every few hours or so and swallowing slowly for your throat to get the maximum contact of the mixture is recommended. It works! Rather than drinking ACV straight, for other applications, dilute it in a few teaspoons (or a cup) of water to help mask the flavor, which admittedly is a bit stringent.
A simple and yummy recipe to serve over broccoli, asparagus or salad greens includes: 1 tablespoon each of apple cider vinegar and lemon juice, ½ teaspoon of minced garlic, a dash of ground black pepper, and a few fresh basil leaves, chopped.
ACV for beauty, health and a few other things
Some people swear that drinking a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar straight up will get rid of hiccups. The conjecture is that it will “overstimulate” your nerve endings to sort of “shock” the hiccups out of your system. It’s certainly worth a try!
Soaking a cloth in ACV and placing it on a bruise is said to reduce inflammation and speed the healing process.
It’s no secret that vinegar is highly acidic, but it’s this very element that gets several jobs done you may not have been aware of. Due to its potential to change your pH,xv such as in the case of dandruff and evening out dry, tired skin, it’s been used for:
- Bug bites
- Toning your skin
- Poison ivy
- Toenail fungus
- Removing warts
- Athlete’s foot
- Detox baths
Then there are the hints that maintain how useful this common household commodity is for cleaning and cooking. One little-known “hack” for any savory soup, from chili to veggie soup, is to add a tablespoon or two of vinegar to increase the brightness and overall flavor.
The acidity in apple cider vinegar is useful as a mouthwash and even to clean your toothbrush (and denturesxvi) because of its antibacterial properties (soaked in a solution of one-half cup of water, 2 tablespoons of ACV and 2 teaspoons of baking soda). Just remember though – that same acidity can damage your teeth, which one studyxvii refers to as “dental erosion,” so in all these applications, diluting it with water is best.
As opposed to using some kind of toxic weed killer, apple cider vinegar is another remedy for weeds, especially in cracks in your driveway or sidewalk. Round Up and other toxic products can leach into water systems that provide your drinking water.