Can Apple Cider Vinegar Help Lower Triglyceride Levels?

Along with cholesterol, triglyceride levels are an indicator of cardiovascular health. While there seems to be a connection between apple cider vinegar and triglycerides, more research is needed in this area. This home remedy appears to have beneficial effects on blood lipids and body weight.

Most studies conducted on apple cider vinegar and its lipid-lowering properties are small and require further investigation. Credit: Natalia Klenova / EyeEm/EyeEm/GettyImages

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Most studies conducted on apple cider vinegar and its lipid-lowering properties are small and require further investigation. Researchers suggest that acetic acid, its primary compound, may help improve cholesterol and triglyceride levels, among other cardiovascular risk markers.

Dangers of High Triglyceride Levels

More than 25 percent of U.S. adults had high triglycerides between 2009 and 2012, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Elevated triglyceride levels are a major risk factor for heart disease, stroke, metabolic syndrome, acute pancreatitis and other health conditions. Just like cholesterol, these fats can accumulate in your bloodstream and affect cardiovascular function.

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Triglycerides are the most common type of fat in the human body and serve as a source of fuel. They come from excess calories that are stored as fat or from certain foods, such as butter and oils.

Smoking, drinking, lack of exercise and other lifestyle factors may increase blood triglyceride levels. This condition also tends to be more common in people who are obese or overweight or suffering from diabetes, liver disease or thyroid disorders. Genetics may play a role too, reports the Mayo Clinic.

Most individuals with elevated triglycerides show no symptoms. That's why it's recommended to get regular blood tests, especially if you're at risk for this condition. Triglyceride levels above 150 milligrams per deciliter are considered borderline high and may lead to heart disease, warns the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

Read more: 10 Crazy Cool Facts About Your Heart

Although you can't lower triglycerides in a week or so, you can make lasting lifestyle changes to improve your blood lipids. A diet low in sugar, refined carbs and trans fats, for example, can significantly reduce cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Home remedies like apple cider vinegar (ACV) may help, too.

Apple Cider Vinegar and Triglycerides

Current evidence indicates a potential relationship between apple cider vinegar and triglycerides. Most studies are small, but the results look promising.

For example, a 12-week study published in the Journal of Functional Foods in April 2018 assessed the effects of apple cider vinegar on body weight. Obese and overweight subjects consumed 30 milliliters of ACV daily as part of a low-calorie diet.

By the end of the study, subjects experienced a greater reduction in body weight, body mass index, hip circumference and visceral fat mass than the control group (low-calorie diet, no ACV). Their HDL ("bad") cholesterol and triglyceride levels decreased too, while HDL ("good") cholesterol levels increased. The ACV group also reported better appetite control.

These effects were attributed to apple cider vinegar. However, the study had only 39 participants, so further research is needed to validate its findings.

A June 2019 review featured in the International Journal of Medical Research & Health Sciences reports similar results. After analyzing several studies, scientists concluded that apple cider vinegar may help reduce blood pressure, blood sugar levels, cholesterol levels, triglycerides and body weight. Acetic acid, the active compound in ACV, appears to be responsible for these effects.

With a few exceptions, the studies cited in the above review were conducted on animals. Therefore, they may not be conclusive. Take these findings with a grain of salt and follow your doctor's recommendations to stay on the safe side.

Read more: The Powers of Apple Cider Vinegar Have Been Vastly Overestimated

Nothing Beats a Healthy Diet

When consumed as part of a balanced diet, apple cider vinegar is likely safe. However, no single food will reduce your blood lipids. The key is to change your eating habits and make smart food choices on a daily basis.

Fill up on foods that are low in fat, sugar and simple carbs, recommends the Cleveland Clinic. Swap "white" foods, such as pasta, bread and rice, for whole-grain varieties like wild or brown rice, whole-wheat bread, whole-grain pasta and sweet potatoes. Cut back on alcohol, soda, caffeinated beverages, iced tea and sugary drinks.

If you have a sweet tooth, make your own desserts at home using stevia, cinnamon, raw cocoa, low-fat dairy, almond flour and other healthy ingredients. Beware of hidden sugars, such as those found in fruit juices, deli meats, granola bars, sauces, dressings and flavored yogurt.

Be aware that not all fats are created equal. The American Heart Association recommends limiting trans and saturated fats as they may increase blood lipids. Nuts, seeds, tuna, salmon, olive oil and other whole foods are rich in mono- and polyunsaturated fats may help lower bad cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

Read more: 9 Foods That Do Not Raise Cholesterol

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