Is apple cider vinegar good for you? It sure is. Even before its recent surge in popularity, the extensive list of apple cider vinegar benefits has been well-known for centuries.
It’s been shown to keep blood sugar in check, amp up weight loss, and even improve the appearance of acne and scarring, among other apple cider vinegar benefits. Plus, apple cider vinegar consumption works great for the keto diet.
Apple cider vinegar (ACV) uses range from soothing sunburns to giving your gut health a boost. It’s also used to relieve cold symptoms and seasonal allergies, help with acid reflux, and support weight management.
With at least 30 potential uses and a host of proven health perks, this is a must-have item in your medicine cabinet.
What Is Apple Cider Vinegar?
Apple cider vinegar is a type of vinegar made from apple cider that has undergone fermentation to form health-promoting probiotics and enzymes, giving it significantly less sugar and fewer calories than apple cider or apple juice. In fact, it only takes one to two tablespoons of ACV to experience the positive effects of apple cider vinegar, and each tablespoon clocks in at just three to five calories and contains minimal sugar.
If you’re concerned about weight maintenance or you’re trying to lose weight, it’s still safe to consume ACV regularly.
ACV has been consumed for thousands of years. In fact, records show that we’ve been fermenting apple juice into vinegar since well before 5000 B.C.
Historically, ACV has been used for a variety of different purposes, such as helping detoxify the liver, purifying blood, cleansing the lymph nodes and boosting immunity. In ancient Greece, Hippocrates even prescribed it mixed with a bit of honey to help treat coughs and colds.
In the 17th century, Europeans began using vinegar medicinally. They started preparing it in syrups and antiseptics and even used it as a gargle to kill off germs.
Today, ACV has re-entered the spotlight and is beginning to gain some well-deserved recognition for its potent health-promoting properties. Not only can it be used as a natural remedy to treat a variety of ailments, but it can also be added to salad dressings and marinades or used as an effective all-natural household cleaner and disinfectant.
Apple Cider Vinegar Benefits vs. Apple Cider Benefits
What distinguishes apple cider from apple cider vinegar, and can they be used interchangeably?
Apple cider is made from fresh pressed apples. It’s similar to apple juice, but it’s not filtered or processed in the same way.
ACV, on the other hand, is actually made from apple cider that has been fermented by yeast and bacteria, which turns the sugars into alcohol. It then undergoes a second fermentation process in which the alcohol is converted into acetic acid.
This fermentation process accounts for the many health benefits of apple cider vinegar and is the reason why ACV is able to help lower cholesterol, keep blood sugar stable and relieve acid reflux. Apple cider, on the other hand, may taste great but doesn’t provide the same wealth of benefits.
Apple Cider Vinegar Benefits
1. Regulates Blood Sugar Levels
The ability of ACV to help maintain normal blood sugar is one of the most well-studied apple cider vinegar benefits and may be useful for people with type 2 diabetes.
In one small study, vinegar consumption was found to decrease blood sugar by an average of 31 percent after eating white bread. Similarly, an animal study out of Iran showed that giving diabetic rats ACV for four weeks was found to significantly reduce blood sugar.
ACV may also increase insulin sensitivity. Insulin is the hormone responsible for transporting sugar from the blood to the tissues, where it can be used as fuel. Sustaining high levels of insulin can cause insulin resistance, which reduces its effectiveness and leads to high blood sugar and diabetes.
A study in Diabetes Care suggests that vinegar ingestion helped significantly improve insulin sensitivity by up to 34 percent in those with either type 2 diabetes or insulin resistance.
To keep blood sugar stable, try diluting one to two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar in eight ounces of water and consuming before meals. Additionally, be sure to moderate carbohydrate intake, increase your consumption of fiber and protein foods, and get in plenty of regular physical activity to drop blood sugar even more.
2. Enhances Weight Loss
ACV has been in the limelight recently with fitness gurus and natural health experts alike recommending an apple cider vinegar diet to help drop unwanted pounds quickly. Is apple cider vinegar good for weight loss, and how much weight can you lose by drinking it?
There is a plethora of research out there confirming the benefits of apple cider vinegar for weight loss. In one study, consuming just two tablespoons per day of ACV over 12 weeks resulted in nearly four pounds of weight loss with no other modifications to diet or lifestyle.
Studies show that ACV may also increase satiety, which can help reduce intake and amp up weight loss. In fact, one study showed that consuming apple cider vinegar actually decreased total caloric intake by up to 275 calories over the course of the day.
However, just because apple cider vinegar helps with weight loss doesn’t mean that it should be used as a quick fix all on its own. In fact, if just drinking it alone, the amount of body weight loss will be minimal.
To really lose weight in a healthy way, be sure to use ACV in combination with a balanced diet and active lifestyle.
3. Lowers Cholesterol
Cholesterol is a fat-like substance that can build up in the arteries, causing them to narrow and harden. High blood cholesterol puts a strain on your heart, forcing it to work harder to push blood throughout the body.
Apple cider vinegar can promote heart health by helping keep cholesterol low. The animal study out of Iran mentioned above showed that supplementing rats with ACV was able to reduce bad LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels, while also increasing beneficial HDL cholesterol.
Besides including a tablespoon or two of apple cider vinegar in your diet each day, other ways to lower cholesterol fast include minimizing your intake of sugar and refined carbohydrates, including a good variety of healthy fats in your diet, and eating a few servings of fish per week.
4. Improves Skin Health
ACV doesn’t just affect your internal health. It has also been shown to treat acne and reduce scarring.
Certain strains of bacteria often contribute to the development of acne. Vinegar is well-known for its antibacterial properties and has been shown to be effective against many strains of harmful bacteria.
ACV also contains specific components like acetic acid, lactic acid, succinic acid and citric acid, all of which have been shown to inhibit the growth of Propionibacterium acnes, the specific strain of bacteria responsible for causing acne.
These beneficial components may also reduce scarring. A study in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology showed that treating acne scars with lactic acid for three months led to improvements in the texture, pigmentation and appearance of treated skin, as well as a lightening of scars.
Adding some probiotic foods into your diet, using healing masks and toners, and keeping your skin well-moisturized are some other effective home remedies for acne as well.
5. Reduces Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart disease. It forces the heart to work harder, causing the heart muscle to weaken and deteriorate over time.
Apple cider vinegar helps improve blood pressure by keeping your heart healthy and strong.
An animal study in Japan showed that giving rats acetic acid, the main component in vinegar, resulted in reduced blood pressure. Another animal study had similar findings, demonstrating that vinegar effectively blocked the actions of a specific enzyme that raises blood pressure.
Other natural ways to lower blood pressure include increasing your intake of magnesium and potassium, upping your fiber intake, and swapping the salt and processed foods for whole foods.
6. Relieves Symptoms of Acid Reflux
Gastroesophageal reflux disease, also known as GERD or acid reflux, is a condition characterized by acid backflow from the stomach up into the esophagus, causing symptoms like heartburn, belching and nausea.
Acid reflux is often a result of having low stomach acid. If this is the case for you, consuming apple cider vinegar may help provide relief from acid reflux symptoms by introducing more acid into the digestive tract to prevent acid backflow.
A case study involving a 73-year-old woman with Parkinson’s disease who suffered from chronic acid reflux and constipation found that a combination of ACV, DGL licorice, and a probiotic and magnesium supplement resulted in a 50 percent improvement in acid reflux after five days and complete resolution of symptoms after one month.
For best results, dilute one to two tablespoons of ACV in an eight-ounce glass of water, and drink just before eating. Additionally, remember to follow an acid reflux diet rich in vegetables, healthy fats and fermented foods to slash symptoms even more.
What Is It Good For? (Apple Cider Vinegar Uses)
Now that you know how healthy ACV is for you, what are the best ways to use apple cider vinegar? Check out these 30 apple cider vinegar uses so you can take advantage of apple cider vinegar benefits:
1. Boosts Gut Health
By opting for organic, raw apple cider vinegar, you can add a healthy dose of beneficial bacteria into your diet. This bacteria can enhance the health of your digestive system and deliver a host of added gut bacteria benefits like increased immunity and an improved ability to digest and absorb nutrients.
Incorporate one to two tablespoons into your diet per day along with other fermented foods, such as kombucha or kefir, for best results.
2. Soothes Sunburns
If you’ve spent a little too much time in the sun, ACV is a great natural remedy for soothing dry, sunburnt skin. Add a cup of ACV plus 1/4 cup coconut oil and some lavender essential oil to a lukewarm bath, and soak to provide sunburn relief.
3. Regulates Blood Sugar
Apple cider vinegar benefits your blood sugar levels and can even increase insulin sensitivity. Try making an apple cider vinegar drink by diluting one to two tablespoons in an eight-ounce cup of water and consuming before meals to keep blood sugar levels steady.
4. Fights Fungus
Fungal infections like athlete’s foot, toenail fungus, jock itch or yeast infections can be easily treated with the help of ACV. Creating an antifungal spray is one of the most effective apple cider vinegar uses.
Combined with other fungus-fighting ingredients, it can reduce symptoms and provide relief fast.
5. Improves Skin Health
Apple cider vinegar benefits for skin include treating acne and reducing scarring. Known for its antibacterial and healing properties, apple cider vinegar benefits skin health by killing off strains of acne-causing bacteria.
Try an apple cider vinegar toner to help enhance skin health.
6. Enhances Circulation
Some studies have found that applying ACV to varicose veins could help reduce symptoms. Try combining with witch hazel and scrubbing in a circular motion to improve circulation and alleviate symptoms.
7. Treats Warts
Want to get rid of a wart that won’t go away? Try soaking a cotton ball in ACV, applying directly to the wart and covering with a bandage overnight.
Though it may take a while, repeating this a few times can cause the wart to eventually fall right off.
8. Soothes Poison Ivy
ACV is a natural remedy that can help soothe an itchy poison ivy rash. This is because it contains potassium, which may help reduce the swelling associated with poison ivy.
Try applying a teaspoon directly to the skin a few times per day until it is healed.
9. Kills Bugs and Fleas
If your dog or cat can’t stop scratching, ditch the chemical-laden flea killers, and try this natural remedy instead. Add equal parts water and apple cider vinegar to a spray bottle, and apply to the fur once per day until fleas are gone.
You can also try making your own homemade bug spray and applying to your skin to fight off pesky insects.
10. Wards Off Seasonal Allergies
Many people use apple cider vinegar as a natural remedy for seasonal allergies. The healthy bacteria found in ACV may promote immunity and support healthy lymphatic drainage to kick seasonal sniffles and allergies to the curb.
Try to drink two tablespoons diluted in water next time your allergies act up.
11. Acts as a Natural Deodorant
The armpits are a great breeding spot for bacteria, which can lead to a worsening of body odor. ACV possesses powerful antibacterial properties and makes an excellent natural deodorant.
One of the simplest apple cider vinegar uses is to dab a bit on your fingers and apply under your arms to help neutralize odor and keep you smelling fresh.
12. Keeps Hair Shiny
For dull or dry hair, try using apple cider vinegar for hair. Making an apple cider vinegar hair rinse prevents dryness, makes it smell great, and helps hair stay shiny and lustrous.
13. Amps Up Weight Loss
ACV can boost satiety and kill cravings to kick-start weight loss. There are plenty of options for how to drink apple cider vinegar, but one of the easiest options is to make an apple cider vinegar weight loss drink by adding a dose of ACV to your favorite green smoothie recipes.
14. Reduces Acid Reflux and Heartburn
Many people experience acid reflux as a result of low stomach acid. ACV can help increase levels of stomach acid to prevent backflow into the esophagus and reduce symptoms of heartburn.
It works best to drink apple cider vinegar right before meals. Dilute a tablespoon or two of ACV in one eight-ounce cup of water, and drink up to fight off acid reflux.
15. Balances Your pH
Although acetic acid, the primary component in ACV, is acidic, it has an alkalizing effect on the body. A few tablespoons of apple cider vinegar per day can keep your pH levels balanced to help optimize health.
16. Acts as a Household Cleaner
Mixing equal parts ACV with water to make an all-natural household cleaner is one of the easiest and most effective apple cider vinegar uses. Thanks to its antibacterial properties, it’s perfect for killing off germs and keeping the house spotless.
17. Whitens Teeth
ACV can even brighten up your smile and naturally whiten your teeth. For best results, try brushing with a bit of ACV and rinsing your mouth out.
Keep in mind that overdoing it can actually erode your enamel, so use a moderate amount, and avoid overdoing it.
18. Relieves Cold Symptoms
If you feel a case of the sniffles coming on, a few tablespoons of ACV may be a useful natural cold remedy to relieve symptoms fast. This is because apple cider vinegar contains beneficial bacteria that can help give your immune system a quick boost, especially when you feel under the weather.
19. Lowers Blood Pressure
Acetic acid, the main component in ACV, has been shown to reduce blood pressure and help improve heart health. For best results, dilute a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in an eight-ounce cup of water, and consume three times daily to help drop blood pressure.
20. Aids Detoxification
ACV can help balance your pH, encourage lymphatic drainage and enhance circulation, making it a great tool when it comes to detoxification. The typical apple cider vinegar dosage is one to two tablespoons mixed with water a few times per day, but you can also try out a secret detox drink to get a concentrated megadose of health-promoting ingredients that can aid in detoxification.
21. Soothes Sore Throat
When you feel under the weather with a scratchy sore throat, you may want to consider reaching for the apple cider vinegar. With its potent antibacterial properties, ACV can soothe your throat to help get you back to feeling your best.
However, be sure to dilute your ACV with water to maximize results and prevent the acidity from burning your throat.
22. May Help Remove Chemical Residue
Many people wash fruits and veggies with ACV instead of water due to its ability to kill off bacteria and prevent foodborne illness. Some also use ACV to remove chemical residue and reduce pesticide exposure, although more research is needed to determine whether this is more effective than water alone.
23. Extends Shelf Life
Thanks to its acidic pH, ACV is often used as an effective food preservative, helping extend shelf life by killing off bacteria and blocking food spoilage. Try using ACV to pickle your favorite veggies, such as cucumbers, carrots, radishes or squash, by boiling the vinegar with water, salt and sugar and then mixing with your favorite herbs and spices.
24. Keeps Dishes Clean
Adding a bit of ACV to your detergent when washing the dishes can be an easy and effective way to kill off bacteria and keep dishes clean. If using a dishwasher, some even recommend adding it directly to the water a few minutes after starting it up to boost the bacteria-busting effects.
25. Adds Flavor to Homemade Salad Dressings
ACV can bring a zesty burst of flavor to your favorite homemade salad dressings and vinaigrettes. Simply mix with some olive oil, salt, pepper and spices for an easy way to dress up your salads.
26. Decreases Dandruff
For an easy alternative to chemical-laden soaps and shampoos used to target dandruff, give ACV a try. Massaging it into the scalp is thought to help inhibit the growth of Malassezia, a specific strain of fungus that contributes to dandruff and the dry, itchy scalp that comes with it.
27. Promotes Oral Hygiene
Some say that apple cider vinegar can help battle bad breath by killing off the harmful bacteria in your mouth. Use it as a mouthwash by diluting one tablespoon in a cup of water and rinsing your mouth one to two times daily.
28. Boosts Bubble Baths
In addition to keeping skin healthy and clear as a natural toner, many also add ACV to bubble baths to increase circulation, support hair and skin health, and fight odor naturally. Ideally, add about one to two cups of apple cider vinegar to your detox bath, and soak for 20–30 minutes. Then, be sure to take a shower to help rinse off any excess vinegar from the skin.
29. Stops Hiccups
For an easy natural hiccup remedy, try combining a teaspoon of sugar with just a few drops of apple cider vinegar. Supposedly, the sour taste of the ACV mixed with the coarse texture of the sugar can help ease hiccups by triggering a specific set of nerves responsible for the contractions that cause them.
30. Kills Weeds Naturally
Great news for gardeners and green thumbs — you can use ACV as a natural, pet-friendly weed killer to help protect plants. There are plenty of resources available for how to make apple cider vinegar weed killer, but it’s typically either used alone or mixed with soap, salt, lemon juice or even essential oils and sprayed directly on weeds.
Be sure to spray carefully, and avoid getting the solution on healthy plants as it can potentially harm the other plants in your garden.
You may be wondering: Can I drink apple cider vinegar every day? Drinking up to two tablespoons per day diluted with water has been shown to be safe and effective for a variety of different conditions.
Some also opt to take apple cider vinegar pills containing a similar amount, although research is limited on the effectiveness of these supplements.
With ACV, terms like “organic” and “raw” are tossed around pretty loosely, making it hard to decipher what you’re actually getting when you grab a bottle from the store.
To maximize the apple cider vinegar benefits, you should pick organic, raw and unfiltered apple cider vinegar whenever possible. It should also be murky with a web-like appearance and the mother still intact to get the most nutritional bang for your buck.
Here’s what those terms actually mean and why you should pick organic, raw and unfiltered ACV whenever possible for the best results:
- Organic Apple Cider Vinegar: If your ACV is labeled as certified organic, it means that it’s free of genetically modified organisms and synthetic additives that can actually do more harm than good in terms of your health.
- Raw Apple Cider Vinegar: Raw apple cider vinegar is unheated and unprocessed. This means that it still has the “mother” intact, which is a cluster of proteins, enzymes and beneficial bacteria often removed during processing. Consuming apple cider vinegar with mother intact ensures that you’re able to maximize the potential health benefits of this powerful ingredient.
- Unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar: For most apple cider vinegar uses, you’ll also want to go for unfiltered apple cider vinegar. When ACV is filtered, it removes the mother as well as any sediment, leaving behind a clear, amber vinegar.
Risks and Side Effects
Although apple cider vinegar consumption is healthy and safe for most people, consuming large amounts can lead to some negative effects on health. What are the side effects of drinking apple cider vinegar every day?
Some of the most commonly reported apple cider vinegar side effects include erosion of tooth enamel, burning of the throat or skin, and decreased levels of potassium. Be sure to always dilute apple cider vinegar in water instead of drinking it straight to prevent negative side effects.
You should also start with a low dose and work your way up to assess your tolerance.
If you take blood sugar medications, talk to your doctor before using apple cider vinegar. Because ACV may help reduce blood sugar, you may need to modify your dosage of diabetes medications to prevent hypoglycemia symptoms.
Although there is limited research available on the effects of apple cider vinegar on bone loss, one case study did find that consuming large amounts caused low potassium and decreased bone formation due to the high acidity. Therefore, it’s important to keep intake in moderation and avoid consuming very high amounts to prevent negative side effects.
Finally, while there are a wide range of apple cider vinegar uses, it shouldn’t be viewed as a quick fix or cure when it comes to your health. Instead, it should be paired with a nutritious diet and healthy lifestyle to really see results and the best apple cider vinegar benefits.
- ACV has become trendy due to its many health perks. It’s made from apple cider that has been fermented, producing healthy probiotics and enzymes and significantly slashing sugar and calories — and those aren’t the only apple cider vinegar benefits.
- Apple cider vinegar helps improve weight loss, reduce blood pressure and cholesterol, stabilize blood sugar for people with type 2 diabetes, enhance skin health, and relieve acid reflux symptoms.
- What is organic apple cider vinegar good for? There are a wide range of apple cider vinegar uses, from making all-natural household cleaners and bug sprays to whitening teeth and aiding in detoxification.
- Opt for raw, unfiltered and organic ACV with the mother still intact as this type of ACV provides the greatest impact.
- Remember to dilute apple cider vinegar in water, use it in moderation, and pair it with a nutritious diet and healthy lifestyle to maximize apple cider vinegar benefits.