When it comes to the health benefits of apple cider vinegar, a number of recent reports exaggerate its advantages. Some have even gone so far as to suggest it can control blood pressure and cure cancer. In reality, the health benefits of apple cider vinegar are not quite as extensive. At the same time, some dangers of drinking apple cider vinegar have been noted, especially when drinking it in excess.
With this case, it’s vital to appreciate what research and experts have said about the health benefits of apple cider vinegar. Drinking it regularly, and in reasonable amounts, does have some advantages. But due to some of the dangers of drinking apple cider vinegar, it is plainly not for everyone. Therefore, knowing the pros and cons of this modern-age tonic is important before including it in your daily routine.
What Exactly is Apple Cider Vinegar?
Interesting enough, the word “vinegar” comes from the French words, vin and aigre, which means “sour wine.” This detail makes sense since vinegar involves a similar fermentation process as wine. For apple cider vinegar, apples are combined with yeasts, which ferment the sugars in the fruit. Bacteria, called acetobacter, is then added to the fermented alcohol, which converts it into acetic acid. It forms the sour taste familiar to all kinds of vinegar.
In addition to acetic acid, which is about 5 percent of apple cider vinegar, the latter also contains minerals and vitamins. In essence, these micronutrients are similar to those found in apple juice—such as B vitamins and polyphenol antioxidants. But while these provide some health benefits of apple cider vinegar, the acetic acid also has beneficial effects. The key is to drink a reasonable amount so you can avoid the long-term dangers of drinking apple cider vinegar.
Proven Health Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar
Though the health benefits of apple cider vinegar do not include lowering blood pressure and curing cancer, some advantages do exist. The following are some of the noted health benefits of apple cider vinegar.
- Weight-loss benefits. Some research does support that apple cider vinegar may help control weight. However, its effects are not generally profound. Weight-loss effects seem to occur in part due to appetite suppression with mild increases in fat metabolism when drinking apple cider vinegar.
- Improved glucose control. Apple cider vinegar has also been noted to reduce blood sugar levels while improving insulin sensitivity. This fact seems to occur as a result of improved digestive control overall.
- Better cholesterol control. Some evidence also exists that apple cider vinegar tends to improve cholesterol levels when taken in healthy amounts. The mechanism by which this case occurs has not been definitely proven.
- Reduced risk of some infections. While apple cider vinegar is not comprehensive in this regard, it can reduce the chance of getting some infections. Specifically, adding apple cider vinegar to your salad may prevent the possibility of you coming down with Salmonella.
The Potential Dangers of Drinking Apple Cider Vinegar
When it comes to apple cider vinegar, more is certainly not better. If taken in excess, or with specific medications, problems may develop. The following are some potential dangers of drinking apple cider vinegar in such situations.
- Gastrointestinal dangers. The most common issues with apple cider vinegar often involve digestive issues. In addition to potentially increasing acid reflux, it may also slow down digestion too much. This situation can lead to bloating, nausea, indigestion and even heartburn.
- Dental dangers. Given the acidic nature of apple cider vinegar, it can negatively affect your teeth’s enamel. The risk of this case is higher with increased amounts, although washing your mouth with water afterward can help. Generally, it is also encouraged to brush after drinking the liquid—but you should wait for 20–30 minutes before doing so.
- Possible Bone Effects. Though less well-proven, dangers of drinking apple cider vinegar may include bone effects. In some cases, loss of bone minerals has been linked to drinking higher amounts of apple cider vinegar. This case may relate to the buffering effects of the acid or due to loss of potassium. Keeping your intake moderate should avoid this potential risk.
- Drug Interactions. Apple cider vinegar has been associated with lower potassium levels. Therefore, any condition or medication that is similarly associated with low potassium could be an issue. Thus, you might need to avoid apple cider vinegar when taking diuretics, some cardiac meds, and certain diabetic medications. Check with your health provider for further guidance.
The Bottom Line Concerning Apple Cider Vinegar
Enough evidence now exists that shows there are clear health benefits of apple cider vinegar. But to avoid the dangers of drinking apple cider vinegar, some best practices should be followed. For one, you should gradually start including apple cider vinegar in your daily diet as tolerated. Likewise, this amount should not exceed 2 tablespoons a day, with lower doses recommended if digestive symptoms develop. Also, water dilution and drinking with a straw can also reduce potential side effects related to your teeth’s enamel.
By taking these approaches, the dangers of drinking apple cider vinegar can be avoided. And in turn, you will be better able to realize the health benefits of apple cider vinegar that are known to exist.