What’s all the fuss about Apple Cider Vinegar?

Apple Cider Vinegar will help in weight loss, cure heart disease and prevent osteoporosis. Or maybe not. Read on for the bitter truth on what ACV can do and cannot.

Everyone’s talking about Apple Cider Vinegar (fondly nicknamed “ACV”) and it’s miraculous health benefits. But before we use several dollops of ACV for every home remedy, let’s figure out where it really works and where it doesn’t.

 A glass of apple cider vinegar cc Wikimedia Commons user Phongnguyen1410

A glass of apple cider vinegar
cc Wikimedia Commons user Phongnguyen1410

In Case You Missed It: What is ACV?

It’s an amber coloured liquid made from freshly pressed apple juice which is first fermented into alcohol, followed by a second fermentation process to convert it into vinegar.

Organic ACV has a cob-web like appearance called ‘mother of vinegar’. This is the pure, unpasteurized, unfiltered form and is said to contain all the “good stuff” of ACV. If you choose to buy ACV, make sure you buy this form as it is less processed and contains more nutrients than the temptingly clean, shiny, sparkling ACV found on the shelves.

'Mother of vinegar'- a cloudy substance found in unpasteurized vinegar or ACV cc wikimedia commons Alorin

‘Mother of vinegar’- a cloudy substance found in unpasteurized vinegar or ACV
cc wikimedia commons Alorin

Claims about ACV that you should look out for

Claim #1: ACV helps you lose weight and stay slim

One study conducted on a small group of 29 people revealed that there was a moderate amount of weight loss as a side effect to lowered blood sugar. However, these studies are small and are not compelling enough to link ACV directly to weight loss. At best, ACV prolongs the satiated feeling after eating and prevents you from eating more than necessary, says this physician to Women’s Health Mag. She also says that it’s tangy taste could motivate you to eat otherwise bland food like salads, in turn helping you establish a tasty low carb diet.

Claim #2: ACV prevents osteoporosis

Many fans of ACV say that it is a great source of Calcium. However, nutritional analysis says that you only get 1 mg of Calcium in 1 tablespoon of ACV, which is only a tiny fraction of 1000 mg of calcium required by an adult. There is no recommended dose of ACV, but it’s not wise to consume more than 2-3 tablespoons a day because of it’s acidic nature which could corrode the enamel of your teeth and cause damage to your oesophagus.

Claim #3: ACV prevents heart disease

Another claim is that ACV contains pectin, which binds to cholesterol and removes it from the body, thus reducing the risk of heart disease.

However, no measurable amount of pectin or fibers have been found in ACV. Nor is the percentage of the rest of the ingredients in ACV consistent. For example, laboratory analysis found that acetic acid-the substance that vinegar is made of- is found in a concentration ranging anywhere between 1-10% and citric acid ranges between 0- 18.5%.

It is also to be noted that successful blood cholesterol lowering studies have been performed on animals, but it may not be necessarily true for humans.

Claim #4: ACV is rich in anti-oxidants

However, the USDA found that ACV does not contain vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin C,E,K, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, folate – all of which are vitamins that act as anti-oxidants. Nor does it contain ethyl alcohol, caffeine, beta carotene or theobromine- other compounds responsible for anti-oxidant action against free radicals.

Claim #5: ACV combats cancer

The results of studies linking ACV to cancer are conflicting. One says that it decreases the risk of oesophageal cancer, while the other says that it increases the risk of bladder cancer.

So what’s ACV good for?

Much of the hype around ACV may not be justified but as we’ll see, there is some truth to the claims of its goodness.

#1: It is an effective disinfectant.

This study found that acetic acid found in vinegar can kill even drug-resistant Tuberculosis bacteria, reducing their numbers from 100 million to undetectable levels. It is also lethal to Salmonella (typhoid bacteria).

Thus, it’s a good cleansing agent and can be used in the house and even on your pets to remove fleas and ticks.

flickr cc iris

Apple cider vinegar and a drop of dish soap in a small bowl can take care fruit flies. flickr cc iris


#2: Helps with heartburn

Since heartburn is caused by having too little acid in the stomach, ACV is effective because of its high acetic acid content. Be careful not to drink concentrated ACV. Always have it diluted (1 tablespoon in one glass of water). Drinking undiluted ACV can cause an unprecedented increase in acid levels and damage your oesophagus.

#3: Adds flavour to food

As mentioned above, vinegar makes healthy diets more palatable. It can be used as a substitute for mayonnaise, salt, ketchup, and creamy salad dressings. It has no calories, so it’s a safe option.

#4: Increases Calcium Absorption

While ACV itself does not contain much calcium, acetic acid in ACV boosts the absorption of calcium and other nutrients from your food, making it a worthwhile addition to your diet.

#5: Cures a sore throat

Being highly acidic, and a good antibacterial agent, ACV is a go-to home remedy for sore throat. Remember to use this home remedy in the correct proportions so as not to consume too much acid.

There is also no harm in using it as a hair or skin wash (it works for some, while it doesn’t have any effects for others) as a safer substitute for those sulphate-rich soaps and shampoos.

In conclusion, it may not be the “super-fluid” that it is claimed to be, but it sure does have enough benefits to be a rather useful fluid.

Featured Image flickr cc Mike Mozart

The Natural Beauty and Wellness Hub is our journey into discovering ideas for personal care that are natural, free of harsh chemicals and over-processing, are non-polluting and fair to everyone involved in the process, just as much as it is an inquiry into the idea of beauty and wellness itself. All content on the hub is produced with 100% editorial independence by The Alternative. 

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