In the natural health world, apple cider vinegar is considered a cure-all, improving digestion, boosting immunity and promoting weight loss. While vinegar has been shown to help control appetite, it's not a miracle cure for obesity. Plus, it's not known whether taking it in pill form has the same effects. If you're struggling to lose weight and seeking alternative aids such as apple cider vinegar, consult your doctor first to discuss options.
Apple Cider Vinegar and Weight Loss
There is very little evidence to support the claims that apple cider vinegar helps with weight loss. When taken as part of a drink mixed with wheatgrass, alfalfa and fulvic acid, along with an oral supplement consisting of various herbs such as cat's claw and pau d'arco, apple cider vinegar helped a group of men and women lose a little more than 8 pounds in 21 days, according to 2013 study published in the Journal of Chiropractic Medicine. The participants, however, also followed a reduced-calorie diet, ranging from 1,200 to 1,800 calories daily. While the participants in the study lost a significant amount of weight in a short period of time, it's difficult to determine if it was the apple cider vinegar, one of the other supplements or the low-calorie diet that helped with the weight loss. And there aren't any weight-loss studies using apple cider vinegar alone.
Vinegar and Hunger Control
While it's not quite certain if apple cider vinegar can help with weight loss, it may help you feel full faster. Highly acidic vinegar taken with bread helped decrease hunger in a small group of volunteers in a 2005 study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Part of the hunger control may be related to its ability to keep blood sugar levels steady. The researchers of this study found that the higher the acidity of the vinegar, the more it lowered blood sugar. Another study published in 2005 in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association reported that vinegar improved post-meal blood sugar and also noted that the participants ate fewer calories. Neither of these studies report what type of vinegar was used, however. The pH of vinegar ranges from 2.4 to 3.4. Apple cider vinegar has a pH of 3.1, which means it's not the most acidic.
If supplementing your diet with apple cider vinegar helps you eat fewer calories, it may help you lose weight. One pound of fat contains 3,500 calories, and if you're eating 250 fewer calories a day by taking apple cider vinegar, you'll lose 1/2 pound per week.
Apple Cider Vinegar Pills
People who take apple cider vinegar typically take it as a liquid. But several supplement makers offer the vinegar in pill form for people who have a difficult time with the acidity and taste of the vinegar as a liquid. These pills contain a powdered apple cider vinegar, and the directions suggest one to three capsules or tablets, taken one to three times a day. Depending on the maker, one pill has 120 to 500 milligrams of apple cider vinegar, with 500 milligrams equal to about 2 teaspoons of liquid, according to one of the makers. As a liquid, 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar is generally equal to one serving.
Safety Concerns With the Pill
Apple cider vinegar in pill form may not contain what it says on the bottle, according to a 2005 report published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association. Due to an adverse event caused by an apple cider vinegar capsule that led to an esophageal injury, tests were conducted to assess acidity, microbial content and pH of a number of different brands of apple cider vinegar in pill form. The tests showed a wide range of variability in all three categories, leading to questions about whether some of the supplements even contained apple cider vinegar, and ultimately to challenge both the quality and claims of apple cider vinegar supplements. Before adding apple cider vinegar pills to your daily regimen, be sure to first consult your doctor for advice.
- Bragg: Apple Cider Vinegar
- GNC: GNC SuperFoods Apple Cider Vinegar
- Drugstore.com: Natural Factors Apple Cider Vinegar
- FamilyDoctor.org: What it Takes to Lose Weight
- Journal of Chiropractic Medicine: Changes in Anthropometric Measurements, Body Composition, Blood Pressure, Lipid Profile, and Testosterone in Patients Participating in a Low-Energy Dietary Intervention
- Journal of the American Dietetic Association: Vinegar and Peanut Products as Complementary Foods to Reduce Postprandial Glycemia
- European Journal of Clinical Nutrition: Vinegar Supplementation Lowers Glucose and Insulin Responses and Increases Satiety After a Bread Meal in Healthy Subjects
- Ray Sahelian: Apple Cider Vinegar Supplement Health Benefit
- Journal of the American Dietetic Association: Esophageal Injury by Apple Cider Vinegar Tablets and Subsequent Evaluation of Products
- University of Sydney: About Glycemic Index