Science-Backed Properties of Apple Cider Vinegar

09 October, 2020
Apple cider vinegar has many properties, so it's a rather versatile product. It's quite popular due to its multiple applications in gastronomy and as holistic medicine. After conducting some research, science is now backing some of the health benefits that have been attributed to this substance.

Scientific literature backs many of the properties commonly attributed to apple cider vinegar. While it’s true that many of its uses continue to be the result of hearsay, there’s now evidence of its nutritional content. Its anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial potential has been proven.

To begin with, let’s keep in mind this is a product obtained from the combination of apples and yeast. The latter ferments the sugars and transforms them into alcohol. Later, bacteria convert the alcohol into acetic acid.

This is precisely what gives it its sour taste and strong aroma and also seems to be responsible for its health benefits. Also, apple cider vinegar contains water, traces of other acids, vitamins, minerals, and other compounds that greatly contribute to our wellbeing.

Science-backed properties of apple cider vinegar

Apple cider vinegar, like other varieties of vinegar, contains bioactive compounds with pharmacological potential. According to a review published in Food Chemistry, this product has high concentrations of polyphenols, organic acids, and micronutrients. All of these can greatly impact our health when assimilated by our bodies.

In particular, they have antimicrobial, antioxidant, antidiabetic, and antihypertensive properties. Vinegar is also positively associated with skin health and the prevention of premature aging.

Let’s take a closer look at its science-backed benefits.

A bottle of apple juice.
Researchers studied apple cider vinegar and its health implications and discovered its many properties.

1. Apple cider vinegar has antibacterial properties

This substance is a natural disinfectant and preservative due to its acetic acid content. This is because it inhibits the growth of bacteria such as E. Coli, which accelerates the breakdown of food and causes infections.

In a study published in 2018, researchers determined this vinegar has multiple antimicrobial potentials. This is mainly because it fights pathogens such as E. coli, S. aureus, and C. Albicans. However, there still isn’t enough evidence to determine effective safe doses.

2. It’s a glucose regulator

One of the most popular benefits of apple cider vinegar is it contributes to the regulation of blood glucose levels. This product isn’t a first-line treatment for diabetes, although its consumption in moderate amounts serves as an adjuvant to stabilize glucose.

A small study published in Diabetes Care found that consuming apple cider vinegar diluted in water can improve insulin sensitivity by between 19% and 34%. This was especially the case after a carbohydrate-heavy meal.

Meanwhile, in a review published in Molecular Nutrition and Food Research, researchers concluded that vinegar helps improve insulin function after meals. Thus, in turn, it lowers blood sugar levels.

Learn how to make this Apple Cider Vinegar, Ginger, and Honey Digestive Tonic

3. It may help promote weight loss

Weight varies from person to person as it’s determined by genetics and lifestyle. Apple cider vinegar cannot make you lose weight on its own. However, its consumption is a good complement for those trying to shed some pounds.

Human studies suggest that moderate consumption increases the feeling of satiety. Consequently, caloric intake decreases and weight loss increases. In fact, research published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association found that ingesting vinegar after a carbohydrate-heavy meal increases the feeling of satiety. It even led to the participants consuming 200 to 275 fewer calories during the day.

Similarly, in a study published in Bioscience, Biotechnology, and Biochemistry, researchers observed that daily consumption of apple cider vinegar led to a reduction in abdominal fat in those involved.

4. It may aid cardiovascular health

There’s talk about the health benefits of apple cider vinegar for cardiovascular health in popular medicine. In fact, some people believe its daily intake lowers both cholesterol levels and the risk of heart disease. However, there’s not enough scientific evidence of this.

However, studies conducted in animals did find that this ingredient reduces cardiovascular risk factors, such as the accumulation of cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood. It also seems to be an antihypertensive. Despite this, no solid data is confirming the same effects in humans.

Anyway, as long as its consumption is moderate, you can include it in a well-balanced diet. Consult your doctor if you’re taking medication.

5. It has some skincare uses

There’s still much controversy regarding the application of apple cider vinegar on the skin. Some dermatologists wholeheartedly advise against its use. However, others claim it can greatly contribute to the control of the symptoms of eczema or dandruff when diluted in water.

How do you explain this?

Well, the skin is protected by an acidic barrier, and dryness and inflammation increase when there’s an imbalance in it. The organic acids of vinegar seem to help restore the skin’s pH balance. However, there’s no scientific evidence of this.

In any case, always dilute this substance in equal parts of water to avoid unwanted effects. Ideally, do a small test in the back of your hand before applying it elsewhere. Then, if you notice an unwanted reaction, rinse it with plenty of water and discontinue its use.

Science-backed health benefits of apple cider vinegar.
The dermatological use of apple cider vinegar is under discussion. Ideally, perform a test on your skin before full employment.

Read about how to Reduce Cholesterol and Blood Sugar With Apple Cider Vinegar

How to take advantage of the properties of apple cider vinegar

Just keep it in your kitchen and use it often. It’s great as a salad dressing, as an ingredient in homemade mayonnaise, and many other recipes. You may also dilute one or two teaspoons in a glass of warm water and drink it every morning.

Avoid the use of undiluted apple cider vinegar as it can deteriorate tooth enamel and cause digestive discomfort. Its use is also contraindicated with certain drugs so consult your doctor if you’re under medical treatment.

Apple cider vinegar isn’t a magic ingredient

As you can see, there’s enough scientific evidence of the properties of apple cider vinegar. However, it isn’t a substitute for medical treatments and isn’t powerful enough on its own. You must adopt a healthy lifestyle and consult your doctor if you’re sick. Finally, keep in mind that this ingredient could interact with medication.

  • Ho CW, Lazim AM, Fazry S, Zaki UKHH, Lim SJ. Varieties, production, composition and health benefits of vinegars: A review. Food Chem. 2017;221:1621-1630. doi:10.1016/j.foodchem.2016.10.128
  • Entani E, Asai M, Tsujihata S, Tsukamoto Y, Ohta M. Antibacterial action of vinegar against food-borne pathogenic bacteria including Escherichia coli O157:H7. J Food Prot. 1998;61(8):953-959. doi:10.4315/0362-028x-61.8.953
  • Yagnik D, Serafin V, J Shah A. Antimicrobial activity of apple cider vinegar against Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus and Candida albicans; downregulating cytokine and microbial protein expression. Sci Rep. 2018;8(1):1732. Published 2018 Jan 29. doi:10.1038/s41598-017-18618-x
  • Johnston, C. S., Kim, C. M., & Buller, A. J. (2003). Vinegar Improves Insulin Sensitivity to a High-Carbohydrate Meal in Subjects With Insulin Resistance or Type 2 Diabetes. Diabetes Care, 27(1), 281–282. https://doi.org/10.2337/diacare.27.1.281
  • Lim J, Henry CJ, Haldar S. Vinegar as a functional ingredient to improve postprandial glycemic control-human intervention findings and molecular mechanisms. Mol Nutr Food Res. 2016;60(8):1837-1849. doi:10.1002/mnfr.201600121
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  • Halima BH, Sonia G, Sarra K, Houda BJ, Fethi BS, Abdallah A. Apple Cider Vinegar Attenuates Oxidative Stress and Reduces the Risk of Obesity in High-Fat-Fed Male Wistar Rats. J Med Food. 2018;21(1):70-80. doi:10.1089/jmf.2017.0039
  • Na L, Chu X, Jiang S, et al. Vinegar decreases blood pressure by down-regulating AT1R expression via the AMPK/PGC-1α/PPARγ pathway in spontaneously hypertensive rats. Eur J Nutr. 2016;55(3):1245-1253. doi:10.1007/s00394-015-0937-7