The difference between organic apple cider vinegar and non-organic is the use of pasteurization, filtering and pesticides on non-organic apple cider vinegar. Some evidence does indicate apple cider vinegar (ACV) has several health benefits for you.
Organic vs Non-organic
The term organic refers to the growing process of the produce involved. According to the Mayo Clinic, for a grower to claim the organic label for their produce, they must avoid:
- use of sewage sludge as fertilizer
- use of synthetic fertilizers
- use of most synthetic pesticides
- genetic modifications that prevent disease or pests
- irradiation to preserve the produce or prevent pests
In a recent review of studies published in Environmental Health in October 2017, researchers found some evidence that suggests people who eat organic produce are more likely to have benefits from organic food including:
- living overall healthier lifestyles
- avoiding childhood allergies
- reducing their risk of obesity or being overweight as an adult
The Mayo Clinic also indicates a growing body of evidence suggests there are some health benefits to eating organic as well. They indicate that some of the following are shown in organic produce:
- small to moderate increases in nutrients
- reductions of pesticide residue, though they also indicate that the small amount allowed on produce is well within safe ranges
- reductions in the presence of cadmium, a toxic chemical found naturally in soils that plants absorb
Organic vs Non-organic ACV
There are a few differences between organic and non-organic apple cider vinegar. For example organic apple cider vinegar is unfiltered. This means that the bacteria and yeast used to ferment the apples into vinegar, which is known as "the mother," is still present in the vinegar. This gives the organic vinegar a slightly cloudy appearance.
Another difference is that non-organic apple cider vinegar is pasteurized. This means the manufacturer heats the vinegar above the boiling point to kill off any harmful bacteria and help preserve the product.
Finally, a major difference between organic and non-organic varieties of apple cider vinegar is the use of pesticides, genetic modification and synthetic fertilization. These processes are used in non-organic farming to help preserve the produce, protect it from insects and disease, and help it grow.
There are limited studies looking at the difference between organic and non-organic apple cider vinegar. According to Columbia University, of the studies that exist, there is none providing conclusive evidence that organic versions offer any more health benefits than the non-organic alternatives.
However, this may change in the future. In a study published in Food Technology & Biotechnology in 2016, researchers found that there is a difference in the diversity of good bacteria found in organic versus that found in non-organic apple cider vinegar. They found that the organic variety includes a greater number of different strains of bacteria, and concluded that future research may show organic varieties have greater health effects than non-organic varieties as a result.
Apple Cider Vinegar Benefits
There are several reported health benefits of apple cider vinegar. However, only a few are backed up with research studies.
According to University of Chicago Medicine, one benefit of apple cider vinegar is blood sugar control. They indicate that earlier studies have shown that consuming apple cider vinegar after a meal helps control blood sugar levels.
One study published in Scientific Reports in January 2018 found that apple cider vinegar has a positive effect against microorganisms. The researchers indicated that the microbial effect of apple cider vinegar may have a use in clinical treatments.
Another potential benefit of apple cider vinegar is that it may help promote weight loss. A study published in the Journal of Functional Foods in April 2018 found that participants lost an average of just under 9 pounds compared to about 5 pound average for those who did not use apple cider vinegar. In addition, apple cider vinegar helped to lower the participants' blood sugar levels.
Finally, there is limited evidence that consuming apple cider vinegar may help fight cancer. However, according to University of Chicago Medicine, the majority of studies involving apple cider vinegar and cancer involves pouring apple cider vinegar directly on to cancer cells in a lab setting. Though the vinegar did destroy some of the cells, it is not likely that ingested vinegar will have the same effect.
- Mayo Clinic: "Organic Foods: Are They Safer? More Nutritious?"
- Environmental Health: "Human Health Implications of Organic Food and Organic Agriculture: A Comprehensive Review"
- Columbia University: "Apple Cider Vinegar"
- Food Technology & Biotechnology: "Comparison of Cultivable Acetic Acid Bacterial Microbiota in Organic and Conventional Apple Cider Vinegar"
- University of Chicago Medicine: "Debunking the Health Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar"
- Scientific Reports: "Antimicrobial Activity of Apple Cider Vinegar Against Escherichia Coli, Staphylococcus Aureus and Candida Albicans; Downregulating Cytokine and Microbial Protein Expression"
- Journal of Functional Foods: "Beneficial Effects of Apple Cider Vinegar on Weight Management, Visceral Adiposity Index and Lipid Profile in Overweight or Obese Subjects Receiving Restricted Calorie Diet: A Randomized Clinical Trial"