If you're like me, you've heard apple cider vinegar recommended in the past few years for everything from weight loss to lower cholesterol and better blood sugar control. How many of these claims actually stand up to science? While we haven't yet seen a ton of studies that look at the health effects of apple cider vinegar, the existing research gives some hints about the potential uses of this pungent pantry staple.
Limited Evidence of Long-Term Weight Loss
Harvard Health News reports that while acetic acid, found in apple cider vinegar, boosts metabolism and decreases fat deposits in obese rodents, these effects have not been replicated in human studies. The largest human trial on apple cider vinegar and weight loss to date, conducted in 2009 by Japan's Central Research Institute, showed moderate weight loss in participants who took 2 tablespoons of the vinegar each day. Individuals who took 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar each day saw similar but less dramatic effects. With just 175 study subjects, however, we need more research to determine whether these results hold true with a larger sample size.
A newer but smaller study, published in 2018 in the Journal of Functional Foods, found that the 39 overweight or obese participants achieved lower body weight and BMI with apple cider vinegar administration along with a restricted-calorie diet. These researchers, from the Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran, also reported an association between apple cider vinegar and reduced appetite among individuals in the study.
Rodent studies about apple cider vinegar also suggest that the ingredient can work as an appetite suppressant. A small randomized control trial published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association in 2005 found that individuals who took apple cider vinegar along with a high-carb meal ate 200 to 275 fewer than normal calories for the day. These findings echoed research published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 1998, where study participants reported a more significant feeling of fullness and slower stomach emptying after taking apple cider vinegar along with a starchy meal.
Other Uses for Apple Cider Vinegar
The Japanese study also found that apple cider vinegar had a modest positive effect on participants' blood triglyceride and body fat levels. In the 2018 study, participants also experienced reduced triglyceride levels, along with lower total cholesterol levels and higher levels of HDL (good) cholesterol.
Researchers in the Iranian study also reported that participants had lower visceral adiposity index levels after the apple cider vinegar regimen. VAI is a collection of body measures that can indicate a higher risk for certain types of cancer as well as heart disease and metabolic syndrome.
Apple cider vinegar may also improve blood sugar control among individuals who have type 2 diabetes according to a 2016 study by the Singapore Institute for Clinical Sciences and the National University of Singapore. Rodent studies on the effects of apple cider vinegar also support decreased insulin levels and lower blood sugar levels.
Getting Started With Apple Cider Vinegar
Without additional research, the jury is still out on the true efficacy of apple cider vinegar for weight loss and overall health. If you're curious and want to give this trick a try, apple cider vinegar is safe for most people. However, you should check with your doctor before adding a daily dose to your supplement routine. Individuals who are taking potassium-lowering medications or have diabetes can experience unwanted complications from apple cider vinegar.
In addition, you should dilute the vinegar with water to prevent its acidity from wearing away your tooth enamel. Most doctors recommend diluting one to two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar in a full 8-ounce glass of water and spreading out consumption throughout the day.