Apple cider vinegar dosage can be tricky to figure out. On one hand, proponents say that vinegar promotes weight loss and improves glycemic control, so you might be tempted to overuse it. On the other hand, medical professionals warn about its side effects.
Debunking the Myths About ACV
This functional beverage is everywhere in the media. You can read about it in newspapers, health magazines and even medical journals. Yet, there's isn't too much evidence to confirm its benefits.
The advantages and disadvantages of apple cider vinegar depend largely on how you use it. As a food ingredient, it's likely safe. As a medication or natural remedy, it may pose serious health risks.
According to Penn Medicine, apple cider vinegar (ACV) is unlikely to facilitate weight loss. Most studies that show a potential link between this beverage and fat loss are either small or inconclusive. In fact, ACV can do more harm than good when used for therapeutic purposes. This food ingredient is highly acidic and may damage your teeth and esophagus.
The National Capital Poison Control Center states that apple cider vinegar may help reduce blood sugar levels in people with diabetes, but more research is needed to understand its mechanism of action. Furthermore, those suffering from this disease shouldn't self-treat with vinegar.
For example, a small study found that vinegar decreased triglycerides, postprandial (after dinner or lunch) blood sugar levels and insulin levels in people with diabetes. Researchers attribute these beneficial effects to its ability to increase glucose uptake. The results were published in the Journal of Diabetes Research in April 2015. However, the study had only 11 subjects, so it may not be conclusive.
One of the most popular apple cider vinegar uses is for heartburn relief. Again, there is little or no evidence to confirm that ACV can prevent or treat this condition, points out Harvard Health Publishing. Dietary changes, on the other hand, can make all the difference.
Apple Cider Vinegar Dosage
Apple cider vinegar is not a dietary supplement or medicine. For this reason, there are no set recommendations on how much you should take. Most health experts and organizations, including Harvard Health, suggest taking 1 or 2 teaspoons before or during your meals.
According to registered dietitian Sarah Schumacher at the University of Wisconsin Health, a standard dosage is 1 to 2 tablespoons of ACV per day. She recommends diluting it with water or other liquids to reduce its acidity and prevent tooth erosion.
Schumacher also warns that apple cider vinegar may not be safe for those who take diabetes medications or drugs that reduce potassium levels. Large amounts (around 8 ounces) of ACV may further lower potassium levels and cause electrolyte imbalances.
Medical professionals warn about the dangers of overdosing on ACV. The Canadian Digestive Health Foundation, for instance, states that this beverage may irritate the throat, damage the teeth and affect the stomach. The risks are even greater for those with gastric ulcers. To stay safe, mix 1 or 2 teaspoons of ACV in a cup of water and take it with meals, or use vinegar as an ingredient in salad dressings.
Are There Any Benefits?
Apple cider vinegar isn't a cure-all, but it may benefit your health when consumed as part of a balanced diet. A review published in the May 2014 edition of the Journal of Food Science analyzed several types of vinegar and their functional properties. These fermented beverages may have antitumor, antioxidant, anti-obesity and lipid-lowering effects, as the researchers point out. They all possess antimicrobial properties due to their high levels of acetic, lactic and citric acids.
According to the above review, apple cider vinegar is rich in gallic acid, caffeic acid, p-coumaric acid, catechins and other polyphenols. These antioxidants may prevent and reduce inflammation, scavenge free radicals and protect against chronic diseases. Gallic acid, for example, fights oxidative damage and may help in the treatment of heart disease, microbial infestations and neurodegenerative disorders, as reported in a January 2016 research paper featured in the Journal of Applied Pharmacy.
Furthermore, vinegar may help reduce insulin and blood glucose levels after a meal. However, this doesn't mean that it can prevent or treat diabetes. It simply shows that it may improve glycemic control.
For example, you may take a teaspoon of ACV before or after eating a high-carb meal to prevent blood sugar spikes. But you can just as well add more fiber to your meals to obtain the same effect. Dietary fiber, whether it comes from oats, veggies or legumes, slows sugar absorption into your system and promotes satiety. Plus, it has none of the potential side effects of vinegar.
- Penn Medicine: "Does Apple Cider Vinegar Help You Lose Weight?"
- National Capital Poison Control Center: "Vinegar"
- Journal of Diabetes Research: "Vinegar Consumption Increases Insulin-Stimulated Glucose Uptake by the Forearm Muscle in Humans with Type 2 Diabetes"
- Harvard.edu: "Apple Cider Vinegar… for Heartburn?"
- Harvard.edu: "Apple Cider Vinegar Diet: Does It Really Work?"
- UW Health: "Can Apple Cider Vinegar Help Your Health?"
- CDHF: "Apple Cider Vinegar for Digestion. What’s the Deal?"
- Journal of Food and Science: "Functional Properties of Vinegar"
- Frontiers in Nutrition: "The Role of Polyphenols in Human Health and Food Systems: A Mini-Review"
- Journal of Applied Pharmacy: "Gallic Acid: A Promising Lead Molecule for Drug Development"
- Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice: "Vinegar Consumption Can Attenuate Postprandial Glucose and Insulin Responses; A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Clinical Trials"
- Joslin Diabetes Center: "How Does Fiber Affect Blood Glucose Levels?"