Health Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar

In times of economic crisis coupled with an increasing number of health problems, the quest for cheaper alternatives is currently on the rise. One of these alternatives which is becoming more popular is apple cider vinegar or ACV. This type of vinegar is a natural product of two fermentation processes wherein the sugar in the apple cider is broken down by yeast and bacteria into alcohol and then into vinegar.

ACV is used not just in cooking but also in the sphere of health and beauty. For centuries, people has been using it as a health tonic to combat indigestion, pneumonia as well as scurvy. But it wasn’t until D.C. Jarvis published his book entitled Folk Medicine:  A Vermont Doctor’s Guide to Good Health that the apple cider vinegar’s medicinal properties gained traction where he presented its bacteriocidal effects and high potassium content. This mineral makes ACV a potential home remedy since it is essential for normal growth, reduction of free radical formation, vascular muscle cell production, blood clotting, thrombocyte accretion and replacement of worn out tissues such as fingernails. In 1970s, ACV became known once again when supporting studies revealed that apple cider vinegar can aid in weight loss and can speed up metabolism and fat burning when used along with kelp, lecithin and  vitamin B6. It can also be used as a growth supplement for children by giving them a few teaspoon each morning.

For personal care uses, rinsing your hair with ¼ cup ACV mixed with ¼ cup water once or twice a week, fifteen minutes before taking a bath can make it glossy, kill lice and reduce itchiness caused by dandruff. It also aids in callus removal by simply wrapping the callused area with a cloth soaked in an apple cider vinegar overnight. For athletes foot problems, soaking your foot 15-30 minutes in warm water containing ACV every night can alleviate the condition. For acne treatments, 1 part ACV mixed with 3 parts water is then applied using a cotton ball to the affected area of the skin.

To treat common ailments such as sore throat, a teaspoonful of ACV in a glass of warm water is used as a gargle every hour until the condition is improved. For chronic menstrual cramps, mixing 3 teaspoonful of ACV in a glass of water should be taken thrice a day to lessen the pain and to regulate profuse bleeding. For treating nose bleed on the other hand, 2 teaspoonful of vinegar in a glass of water thrice a day is proven effective since vinegar has the capability to make the blood clot.

For more serious health conditions, ACV has the most promising effect on diabetes. A 2007 research published in Diabetes Care journal reveals that ACV can lower blood glucose level in patients suffering from type 2 diabetes. Two tablespoons of cider vinegar administered to 11 diabetic patients before bed were able to reduce their blood glucose levels for as much as 4-6% by morning. Aside from this, ACV also acts as a purifier of internal organs by breaking down fatty, mucous and phlegm deposits within the body and preventing the production of highly alkaline urine. Since ACV oxidates our blood, it prevents it from becoming too thick and gluey thereby lowering the risk of high blood pressure.

Like other types of vinegars, ACV also contains acetic acid, a compound known to effectively reduce cholesterol and triglyceride levels. In a study published in Bioscience, Biotechnology and Biochemistry journal in 2009, obese people were subjected to daily acetic acid intake for 12 weeks. At the end of the study, it was observed that the subjects experienced a  remarkable decrease in body weight and waist circumference. This was followed by another study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry in 2009 which shows that acetic acid indeed can prevent body fat and liver fat buildup. However, the research was tested among mice and hasn’t been backed up by clinical trials performed among humans.

Despite ACV’s numerous applications, limited number of research address apple cider vinegar’s medical properties,  thus consulting your doctor is highly recommended when it comes to using it as a treatment for serious health problems such as obesity and diabetes. Considering ACV’s effect on blood pressure and insulin levels, other physiological effects might arise when it is combined with diabetes and hypertension medications. Furthermore, the use of ACV for an extended period of time can augment the risk of diuretics and cardiac glycoside drugs toxicity.