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Apple Cider Vinegar – Is it Beneficial for our Health?

Apple cider vinegar – healthy or, just merely a yucky sour, acidic drink drunk by health nuts and weirdos? Most people know vinegar is something to be sprinkled on your fish and chips. It has been around for many years and refuses to die out from shops with a hardcore group of supporters gunning for the product to stay and swear by its health benefits. It is even sold in capsules, which is a testament to its longevity and of course, it’s health benefits. So, let us take a closer look at this possible beneficial and positively ill tasting health drink.

What is Apple Cider Vinegar?

Apple cider vinegar is made from crushed apples when this pulp is exposed to yeast. The product is then fermented and then becomes an alcoholic. You then need to add a bacterium to this alcoholic drink to turn the alcohol into an organic acid called acetic acid.[1] Interestingly, this is the same acid that is made in your colon from soluble fibers. This acetic acid is the acid you typically find in vinegar and the level of acetic acid found in apple cider vinegar is at the same concentration as the acid level of standard vinegar (5-6%).[2]

Killing the Bugs

There are many health benefits attributed to apple cider vinegar. One of the premier health attributes of apple cider vinegar is its ability to kill bad bugs. Apple cider vinegar kills probably the top 3 microbes that cause humans grief. And those three microbes are Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus, and Candida albicans. Even at lower doses, apple cider vinegar caused an inhibition in the growth of these potentially dangerous microbes. A recent study has confirmed that apple cider vinegar kills these bad guys.[3]

Sugar Dysregulation

‘Insulin resistance’ affects millions of individuals worldwide. As the insulin in the body becomes less sensitive (the insulin fails to drive down blood sugar levels effectively), the blood sugar levels begin to rise. The only response at this point, the body has to do is to pump out more and more insulin further. This is the only option for the body to drive blood sugar levels down.

Scientists took two groups of individuals and gave one group apple cider vinegar and the other group a placebo what they found that apple cider vinegar improved insulin sensitivity. What this means is that insulin’s functions were improved when people were consuming apple cider vinegar. And, when insulin’s function is improved, blood sugar levels are reduced, thus tempering the toxic effects of elevated blood sugar levels.[4]

More Studies on Apple Cider Vinegar

In another small study, acetic acid (the acid found in apple cider vinegar) was found to be beneficial on blood sugar levels. The way they tested this in the study was very interesting.

One of the most common foods eaten in the Western World is white bread. This is a staple in most households and is consumed by the tonne. Unfortunately, white bread is nasty for our blood sugar levels. In a small study of 5 otherwise healthy people, vinegar consumption reduced the individual’s blood sugar by 31.4% after eating 50 grams of white bread.[5]

In a small study, it was found that apple cider vinegar was beneficial for the reduction of fasting blood sugar levels. The study went on to say that people with sugar dysregulation with higher fasting blood sugar levels benefited when they used apple cider vinegar.[6]

Apple Cider Vinegar and Weight loss?

A 12-week Japanese study found that taking a little vinegar may help you lose a bit of weight. Scientists investigated the effects of acetic acid intake on the reduction of fat mass in obese subjects in a double-blind trial. The obese Japanese subjects were assigned to three groups, and they all began with similar body weight, body mass index, and waist size.

During the 12-weeks of treatment, the individuals in each group ingested half a liter daily of a drink with either 15 ml of vinegar (750 mg of acetic acid), 30 ml of vinegar (1.5g of acetic acid), or 0 ml of vinegar (the placebo). Interestingly and surprisingly, their body weight, body mass index, visceral fat, waist diameter, and blood triglyceride levels were lower in both acetic acid intake groups than in the placebo group. The take-home message is that in conjunction with a healthy diet and exercise program, acetic acid (apple cider vinegar) may help.

The Take-Home Message

It seems there is a place for apple cider vinegar in our lives. It is pretty cheap and easy to take (once you deal with the taste). It won’t turn you trim overnight, but it may help. It also may help in the balancing act of those nasty bugs so this product is one you may want to consider consuming daily. But, as always – please consult with your health care professional before making any changes to your current lifestyle.

REFERENCES

[1] R: Concise Reviews in Food Science  Functional Properties of Vinegar Nilgün H. Budak  Elif Aykin  Atif C. Seydim  Annel K. Greene  Zeynep B. Guzel‐Seydim First published: 08 May 2014 https://doi.org/10.1111/1750-3841.12434

[2] Food Chem. 2017 Apr 15;221:1621-1630. doi: 10.1016/j.foodchem.2016.10.128. Epub 2016 Oct 31. Varieties, production, composition and health benefits of vinegars: A review. hin Wai Ho 1, Azwan Mat Lazim 2, Shazrul Fazry 3, Umi Kalsum Hj Hussain Zaki 4, Seng Joe Lim. PMID: 27979138 DOI: 10.1016/j.foodchem.2016.10.128

[3] Sci Rep. 2018; 8: 1732. Published online 2018 Jan 29. doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-18618-x. Antimicrobial activity of apple cider vinegar against Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus and Candida albicans; downregulating cytokine and microbial protein expression. Darshna Yagnik, Vlad Serafin, and Ajit J. Shah

[4] Vinegar Improves Insulin Sensitivity to a High-Carbohydrate Meal in Subjects with Insulin Resistance or Type 2 Diabetes. Carol S. Johnston, PHD, Cindy M. Kim, MS and Amanda J. Buller, MS. Diabetes Care 2004 Jan; 27(1): 281-282. https://doi.org/10.2337/diacare.27.1.281

[5] Eur J Clin Nutr. 1995 Apr;49(4):242-7. Effect of neutralized and native vinegar on blood glucose and acetate responses to a mixed meal in healthy subjects. F Brighenti 1, G Castellani, L Benini, M C Casiraghi, E Leopardi, R Crovetti, G Testolin

[6] Vinegar Ingestion at Bedtime Moderates Waking Glucose Concentrations in Adults With Well-Controlled Type 2 Diabetes Andrea M. White, PHD and Carol S. Johnston, PHD Diabetes Care 2007 Nov; 30(11): 2814-2815.

https://doi.org/10.2337/dc07-1062

[7] https://www.who.int/en/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/the-top-10-causes-of-death

[8] Br J Nutr. 2006 May;95(5):916-24. doi: 10.1079/bjn20061740. Dietary acetic acid reduces serum cholesterol and triglycerides in rats fed a cholesterol-rich diet. Takashi Fushimi 1, Kazuhito Suruga, Yoshifumi Oshima, Momoko Fukiharu, Yoshinori Tsukamoto, Toshinao Goda. 10.1079/bjn20061740