Although apple cider vinegar (ACV) has been used in holistic medicine for quite some time, its popularity has grown tremendously in recent years as we’ve learned more about its vast health benefits. Research supports many benefits associated with ACV, including lower blood sugar levels, improved heart health, and weight loss.
Let’s take a look at what the research says regarding the health benefits of ACV.
What is apple cider vinegar?
Apple cider vinegar is made by fermenting the juice of apples. The fermentation process turns the sugar from the juice into alcohol. After the initial fermentation, bacteria is added to facilitate the fermentation of the alcohol into acetic acid.
Acetic acid is the compound that gives ACV its distinct smell and flavor. It is the active ingredient in ACV and is felt to be responsible for its health benefits.
Apple cider vinegar can be incorporated into your routine in a variety of ways:
- Mixed with water and consumed as a drink
- Taken as a shot
- Incorporated into a smoothie or shake
- Consumed in gummy or capsule form
The recommended dose for ACV is 1-2 Tablespoons per day. ACV is safe for consumption in moderate doses; large doses may result in side effects including digestive symptoms such as nausea, erosion of tooth enamel, and bone loss. For this reason, it is important to stick to the recommended dosing and avoid consuming it in excess. Those who experience side effects may benefit from reducing their dose, changing to a different form of ACV, or further diluting the product.
ACV and weight loss
Recent research has suggested that apple cider vinegar may help promote weight loss.
For those practicing intermittent fasting, ACV might help you extend the fast and still feel satiated. Because of its low-calorie content, ACV won’t break a fast and can easily be incorporated during the fasting period.
Research does support an association between ACV supplementation and weight loss. When supplemented in Japanese individuals, reductions in both total body weight and body fat mass were observed.
Regulates insulin & blood sugar levels
One study, conducted in rats, demonstrated improved uptake of sugar from the blood by the liver and skeletal muscles with ACV supplementation. This enhanced sugar uptake not only helps regulate blood sugar levels, but also promotes a lower insulin to glucagon ratio. Lower insulin to glucagon ratios may be associated with increased fat burning as a result of the catabolic effect of glucagon.
A second rat study identified a positive impact of acetic acid on metabolism. In this study, acetic acid supplementation stimulated increased presence and activity of AMPK. AMPK is an enzyme that is thought to enhance metabolism by promoting the breakdown of fat stores and suppressing internal production of fat and sugar.
Regulates fat metabolism
When administered in rats, acetic acid has demonstrated an impact on the metabolism of fat. This function is also thought to help prevent obesity and associated diseases such as type 2 diabetes.
Rats that received acetic acid supplementation experienced a significant reduction of fat accumulation in both the liver and adipose tissue. Essentially, acetic acid supplementation prevented the accumulation of excessive body fat in rats despite ingestion of a high-fat diet.
Although more human studies are needed, this research is certainly promising as it relates to metabolism.
Improves heart health
Apple cider vinegar supplementation also appears to have a connection to heart health.
Animal studies have demonstrated improvements in cholesterol and triglyceride levels as well as blood pressure with ACV supplementation. High blood pressure and blood lipid levels are among the top risk factors for heart disease.
Because research is currently limited to animals, further research is needed in human subjects to ensure that this effect translates to humans.
Additional health benefits of ACV
Beyond weight loss, apple cider vinegar has additional research-supported health benefits. These benefits include:
- Antibacterial and antifungal properties
- Lower blood sugar levels and management of diabetes
- Potential improvement in skin health
The bottom line
As you can see, apple cider vinegar offers a variety of health benefits. Studies have suggested that ACV supplementation can help boost weight loss by regulating insulin and blood sugar levels, regulating the digestion and absorption of fat, and boosting metabolism. Beyond that, ACV offers further health benefits such as improved heart health and blood sugar control.
If you’re looking to boost your health, consider giving ACV a try!