Is Apple Cider Vinegar That Powerful of a Health Tonic? Science Says Yes

Flickr - Apple - ✿ nicolas_gent ✿John Summerly, Prevent Disease
Waking Times

One of the most traditional cures for almost anything is apple cider vinegar. Over the centuries, the ancient folk remedy is touted to relieve just about any ailment you can think of including diabetes, obesity and even cancer. Here’s what science has found.

Apple cider vinegar (ACV) became well known in the U.S. in the late 1950s, when it was promoted in the best-selling book Folk Medicine: A Vermont Doctor’s Guide to Good Health by D. C. Jarvis. During the alternative medicine boom of recent years, apple cider vinegar and apple cider vinegar pills have become a popular dietary supplement.

Unpasteurized or organic ACV contains mother of vinegar, which has a cobweb-like appearance and can make the vinegar look slightly congealed. It’s the only way apple cider vinegar should be consumed.

ACV is used in salad dressings, marinades, vinaigrettes, food preservatives, and chutneys, among other things. It is made by crushing apples and squeezing out the liquid. Bacteria and Yeast are added to the liquid to start the alcoholic fermentation process, and the sugars are turned into alcohol. In a second fermentation process, the alcohol is converted into vinegar by acetic acid-forming bacteria (acetobacter). Acetic acid and malic acid give vinegar its sour taste.

Apple cider vinegar is purported to treat numerous diseases, health conditions, and annoyances. To name a few, it kills head lice, reverses aging, eases digestion, prevents flu, prevents acne, lowers blood pressure, reduces inflammation, kills fungus, regulate pH balance, dissolves kidney stones and helps relieve allergies, migraines, asthma, nausea, heart burn and wash toxins from the body. Can it really do all these things? You bet it can and more! But what does science say?

  • Diabetes. The effect of apple cider vinegar on blood sugar levels is perhaps the best researched and the most promising of APV’s health benefits. Several studies have found that vinegar may help lower glucose levels. For instance, a study (White, A. Diabetes Care, November 2007) of 11 people with type 2 diabetes found that taking two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar before bed lowered glucose levels in the morning by 4%-6%. In another study from Arizona State University, subjects took a drink of 20 grams of apple cider vinegarand 40 grams of water. Those with insulin resistance who drank the vinegar had 34% lower postprandial (after-meal) glucose compared to controls. Vinegar may be the most cost-effective medicine in history, but most people with diabetes still aren’t taking it.
  • High CholesterolA 2006 study reported in Medscape General Medicine, showed evidence that ACV could lower cholesterol. In a study published in a foreign medical journal, scientists found an apple cider vinegar-enhanced diet may increase in HDL (good cholesterol), and reduce levels of triglycerides. Research in rats suggests that apple-cider vinegar can help control triglycerides and cholesterol (Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, June 22, 2011).
  • Blood Pressure and Heart Health. Another study in rats found that vinegar could lower high blood pressure. A large observational study also found that people who ate oil and vinegar dressing on salads five to six times a week had lower rates of heart disease than people who didn’t. Researchers have suggested that ‘this reduction in blood pressure may be caused by the significant reduction in renin activity and the subsequent decrease in angiotensin II’. Potassium in the vinegar ‘balances sodium levels in the body, which aids in maintaining blood pressure within healthy limits’ and ‘apple cider vinegar also contains magnesium, a mineral that works to relax blood vessel walls and thus lower high blood pressure’.
  • CancerA few laboratory studies have found that vinegar may be able to kill cancer cells or slow their growth. One study found that eating vinegar was associated with a decreased risk of esophageal cancer. Another associated it with an increased risk of bladder cancer. In recent trials, pectin, which can be found in ACV, has shown promise in helping to slow the growth of cancerous cells within the prostate ( In addition, apple cider vinegar’s acidity aids in detoxifying and cleansing the digestive tract and cleaning out the colon, which supports the health of the prostate as well.
  • Weight LossFor thousands of years, vinegar has been used for weight loss. White vinegar (and perhaps other types) might help people feel full. A study (Ostman, E. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2005) of 12 people found that those who ate a piece of bread along with small amounts of vinegar felt fuller and more satisfied than those who just ate the bread. A 2009 study on mice showed that consuming acetic acid (the active component in ACV), upregulates the expression of genes for fatty acid oxidation enzymes in the liver causing a suppression in body fat accumulation. In a double-blind experiment, obese Japanese were assigned to three different groups based on similar body weights, body mass indexes (BMI), and waist circumference. Each group drank a 500 ml drink containing either 30ml, 15ml, or 0ml of vinegar daily for 12 weeks. Those in the 30ml and 15ml groups had lower BMI, visceral fat area, waist circumference, serum triglyceride, and body weight to the control group of 0ml. The 12-week weight losses were modest: 1.2kg in the 15ml group and 1.7kg in the 30ml group. These two groups consumed a similar number of calories to the control group and also performed a similar amount of exercise, so the effect is not likely to have been due to an impact on appetite or other lifestyle changes. It was concluded that consumption of vinegar might reduce obesity.

Apple cider vinegar is chosen over white vinegar for many processes involving the elimination of fungus. Although they both have highly acidic properties; apple cider also contains detoxifying qualities that will clear up other skin allergies. No side effects have been found when treating the skin with apple cider vinegar, making it a cost effective and safe remedy.

Here are many other benefits of apple cider vinegar that can be applied to your lifestyle. Read the list below.

Hair: It is widely known that apple cider vinegar can be used as a rinse for your hair after shampooing to add healthy body and shine. Recycle an old shampoo bottle and fill it with 1/2 a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar and a cup of cold water. Pour through your hair after shampooing several times a week.

Face: Did you know that apple cider vinegar can help regulate the pH of your skin? Dilute apple cider vinegar with two parts water, and spread the concoction over your face with a cotton ball as a toner. You can do this at night after washing, and in the morning before you apply your moisturizer. You can also dab apple cider vinegar directly onto age spots and leave them on overnight to lighten their color.

Hands and Feet: Are your hands and feet feeling tired and swollen after a long day? Treat yourself to a personal spa massage by rubbing apple cider vinegar onto them.

Sunburn: Suffering from a bad sunburn? Add a cup of apple cider vinegar to your bath and soak for 10 minutes.

Teeth: Did you know that apple cider vinegar can help remove stains from teeth? Rub teeth directly with apple cider vinegar and rinse out.

Aftershave: Fill a bottle with equal parts apple cider vinegar and water and shake to blend.

Detox: Add 2 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to a 1 or 2 liter filtered water bottle. Drink this throughout the day to cleanse your body and kidneys all day long.

Drain Cleaner: Baking soda and apple cider vinegar is an amazing bubbly combination that has many uses. As a drain cleaner, sprinkle baking soda down the drain then add apple cider vinegar and let it bubble for 15 minutes, then rinse with hot water. This is a safer alternative to dangerous drain cleaners.

Digestion: A small amount of apple cider vinegar, taken just prior to a meal, will stimulate production of digestive juices.

Dandruff: A home remedy for dandruff is to mix 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar with 1/4 cup water. The vinegar solution is thought to restore the restore the pH balance of the scalp and discourage the overgrowth of malassezia furfur, the yeast-like fungus thought to trigger dandruff. 

Mosquito and Insect Bites: Using as little as 1/4 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar will relieve insect bites instantly. 

Stomach Aches: Mix 1 tablespoon of organic apple cider vinegar with 12 ounces of warm water, and drink in the morning on empty stomach. Feel free to add a little honey or maple syrup.

Alkaline Acid Balance: Some alternative practitioners recommend using apple cider vinegar to restore alkaline acid balance. The theory behind the alkaline diet is that our blood is slightly alkaline (with a normal pH level of between 7.35 and 7.45) and that our diet should reflect this pH level. Proponents of the alkaline-acid theory believe that a diet high in acid-producing foods leads to lack of energy, excessive mucous production, infections, anxiety, irritability, headache, sore throat, nasal and sinus congestion, allergic reactions, and increased risk of conditions such as arthritis and gout.

About the Author

John Summerly is nutritionist, herbologist, and homeopathic practitioner. He is a leader in the natural health community and consults athletes, executives and most of all parents of children on the benefits of complementary therapies for health and prevention.

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of WakingTimes or its staff.

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  • Mildred Weinstein

    However, if tweezers are used, you’ll still work through small parts of hair with the time. In several cases, lice get removed upon following these step ladders. You still have to enjoy it by hair modules. Lice Removal, 100 Church Street Decatur, GA 30031 (770)-645-4548

  • It is I only

    To John Summerly, Please don’t shout about it too loud, or the caring & concerned government will make it illegal, to keep you safe!

  • Florinda

    To see what has truly been taken from us and our right to a natural therapy, watch THE GERSON MIRACLE on Netflix. For me, I would choose clean and natural before toxic methods any day of the week. I do not agree with Mr Peterson because I have seen too much that doesn’t work in our criminal medical and pharmaceutical systems, and so much that does work in the natural world. Watch the documentary.

  • Anonymous

    🙂 !

  • Flame

    A couple of years ago, someone sent me a recipe for insect repellant. It involved packing a large glass jar with stems (both leaves and flowers) of lavender, then covering the lavender in the jar with vinegar. Can’t recall whether they advised distilled white or cider vinegar. I made up a batch and used it to deter ants in the yard. It worked. Then I made another batch that marinated for a year (using distilled vinegar). Just recently decanted that liquid into one fairly large spray bottle and another small (2-3 oz.) personal bottle. I’ve used it in the kitchen to deter fruit flies and sprayed it on myself while working outside. The fruit flies just don’t come around any more, and I wasn’t bothered by little gnats and other annoying creatures while I worked or relaxed outside.

    This doesn’t kill anything, so it’s safe to use on or around pets and children and where food is used, but the critters seem to hate the lavender fragrance (and probably the vinegar’s acidity). I’ve used it on a friend’s dog to deter flies biting her ears, and that seems to work too, except he doesn’t follow up.

    I have a huge invasion of morning glory, which could be called the “blue-flowered western kudzu vine” because it’s horribly invasive and strangling to any desired plant. A recipe I found on line uses vinegar with salt, dish soap, and something else. It will be interesting to see if that recipe works.

    • Espion

      I have a huge invasion of morning glory!

      Lucky you, now go and kill it, and go back to sleep soon!

  • abinico warez

    Had chronic heartburn for years. Read about apple cider vinager, and drank about 1/4 cup. Cured me. Though I would have to take some ACV daily, which I wouldn’t mind, but since that one dose haven’t had any and stomach is fine.

  • kim

    Larry I think it is each of our RIGHTS to do as we please and if we want to try alternative medicine then so be it. I for one prefer to use methods other than PILL POPPING which is way to easy! If there is a natural way to fix a problem then what is wrong with that? Thinking YOU should do some research beforeoyou judge people and their own choices.

  • Larry Peterson

    The problem is Folk medicine will always be Folk medicine without clinical studies. There is no reason to cite studies where it benefited mice-unless you have a pet. Some of the studies had 11 people! Not enough to recommend for the entire population. Certainly,such numbers would not satisfy the stringent requirements of the F.D.A.
    It is not scientific to say,”Everybody knows that Apple Cider will make a good shampoo” that is not science-that is not something that is hereditary knowledge– without some science it is your opinion and everybody may not share it,
    The problem with Alternative Medicine is that it means it is an alternative to medicine. Hence, danger signs should blink. Will people have enough confidence to use it rather than seeing a doctor who has a proven cure? Instead how much will they suffer and why? Because you have taken a doctor’s role by recommending that they sip vinegar instead of medicine. A remedy that you are sure of-but medical science may not share your beliefs with good reason.

    • Bouncedancer

      Mr. Peterson, are you talking about the proven cures that get recalled on a regular basis because they are found to be killing people instead of helping them? Or maybe Enfebril, for rheumatoid arthritis? In the warning, it says: “May cause rheumatoid arthritis.” Huh?!? Most of what is the standard of medicine is bad science–this was reported in Atlantic mag. a couple of years ago, where an MD set out to prove that science as practiced in medicine is good. He found the opposite–at best, 50% of medicine as currently practiced is even scientific! The only ones that can afford to put on studies are moneyed entities, like pharmaceutical companies.

    • Rachel

      I wonder how your ancestors managed to survive countless generations over countless thousands of years without science experiements to guide them! ? They must have been smarter than you.

    • It is I only

      Well, Larry. You don’t have to follow the advice.
      You’re free to ignore it. It is up to you, believer or not believer!

    • Anonymous

      Larry Peterson…You mentioned Doctor, Medicine and Cure in the same sentence…no such thing! The Pharmaceutical industry is big business and Doctors are the equivalent of drug pushers, front men for the industry. There is no profit in cure!!! Medicine only treats symptoms and is not designed to cure!

  • Faheem Lea

    Excellent stuff!

  • Level Eleven

    I’ve read that ACV can also be used externally to remove moles and warts. It says to take cotton swabs apply ACV to the moles/warts by rubbing on them applying moderate pressure for about a minute or so, three times a day and within 3 to 30 days they will fall off and new skin will appear underneath. At first they’ll grow darker then start to lighten up to an ashen color as the mole/wart spreads thin, then they fall off and your done.

    Don’t take this as medical advise but as personal experience, and of course suggested by others who have experienced the same results as mentioned above. Good luck.

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