Apple Cider Vinegar: Benefits and Cautions

Apple cider vinegar goes way back in terms of folk remedies, with alleged benefits ranging from cures for cancer to arthritis. Despite the fact that most of these cures are unlikely to be effective, ACV does have its uses, and some of them are quite promising. There has been quite a bit of recent research into it as a potential diabetes treatment, and also as a weight loss supplement. Also, anecdotally, it may help with warts.

Weight Loss

The theoretical basis for apple cider vinegar as a weight loss supplement was found in studies on mice, where it was found that consumption of cider vinegar switched on the fat burning abilities of certain enzymes. A test on humans was then performed in 2009 and published in the Japanese journal Bioscience, Biotechnology, and Biochemistry.

155 obese people were followed for four months, and all kept on diets that did not change during the study period. Two tablespoons of cider vinegar was given to 50 participants, one tablespoon to 50 participants, and a placebo to 50 participants. The researchers found that those taking the apple cider vinegar ended the study with lower body/mass indexes, waistlines that had shrunken, lost body weight, and lower cholesterol.

Diabetes

Other studies have been performed on ACV’s ability to possibly control glucose metabolism. Participants who took vinegar along with a carbohydrate meal measured lower in blood glucose immediately after the meal. But the vinegar also seems to have an effect on fasting glucose levels as well, with a drop in glucose levels after taking ACV at night.

Some doctors theorize that this might work because the acid in the vinegar intereferes with enzymes that absorb starch, and thus keep the body from absorbing as much of the carbohydrates.

If you are diabetic and decide to try this, make sure you inform your doctor first. If you glucose levels improve then you may have to alter your insulin dosages.

Warts

There aren’t any scientific studies on this benefit, but there are quite a few anecdotal stories of success in using apple cider vinegar as a wart remover. A small bit of cotton is dipped into cider vinegar, applied to a wart, and taped or bandaided on overnight. Done night after night, in a few weeks the wart should turn black and fall off. Some people report a bit of pain with this method, so be aware. Also, keep in mind that the safety and effectiveness of this method is not established, so use at your own risk.

Safety

Overall, apple cider vinegar is probably mostly safe to take but there are a few precautions. As mentioned above, it may alter metabolism and so diabetics should keep in mind that insulin needs may change. It can also lower potassium levels, and so you may want to include a potassium supplement if you take it long term. Finally, long term use can weaken bones, so if you are prone to bone breakage or osteoporosis, you may want to ask your doctor before using it.

Conclusion

While caution is warranted as far as bones and diabetes goes, there actually is good evidence for some beneficial effects from apple cider vinegar, weight loss included.