Apple Cider & Iodine

Vinegar in glass carafe
Apple cider vinegar is mainly acetic acid. (Image: indigolotos/iStock/Getty Images)

Apple cider is a fermented beverage that can also be made into vinegar. Apple cider vinegar, or ACV, has been used safely on food and as a folk remedy for many generations. American doctor DeForest Clinton Jarvis recommended combining ACV with iodine for health benefits starting in the 1930s. Some health practitioners believe that long-term use of ACV depletes your body of iodine and that taking it with iodine is helpful, whereas others believe that taking them together renders the iodine useless. Currently, no research has been conducted on the effects of ACV on iodine or their combined effects on human health.

Apple Cider Vinegar

As apple cider ferments it slowly turns into vinegar with a high percentage of acetic acid. According to the book “Principles and Practice of Phytotherapy: Modern Herbal Medicine,” consuming ACV has an alkalizing effect on your body, which may help with indigestion, acid reflux and high blood sugar. As such, ACV is a popular folk remedy used for combating digestive problems, diabetes and infections, as well as inducing weight loss. However, ACV is not considered a cure for any disease or condition, so consult with your doctor before supplementing with it.

Benefits of Iodine

Iodine’s primary role in your body is for the healthy functioning of your thyroid gland, which is located in the lower portion of your throat. The thyroid needs iodine to produce its hormones, which control metabolic rate, energy production and weight gain/loss among other processes, according to the book “Human Metabolism: Functional Diversity and Integration.” Iodine is also a germicide, as it kills a variety of pathogenic organisms, such as bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites. A deficiency of iodine leads to goiter formation, hypothyroidism and impaired immune function.

Dr. D.C. Jarvis

Dr. Jarvis was born in 1881 and practiced rural medicine in Vermont, according to the book “Green Pharmacy: a History of Herbal Medicine.” He became interested in folk medicine soon after he started his practice. Dr. Jarvis took particular interest in the benefits of ACV and iodine, which he noted were beneficial to farm animals and hunting dogs. He took the mixture regularly himself and recommended it to his patients for a variety of symptoms and conditions. Specifically, Dr. Jarvis recommended mixing ACV with Lugol’s solution, which is a mixture of elemental iodine and potassium iodide in water.

Controversies

Iodine turns quickly into iodide, which is a less bioactive form, if it is consumed with food, according to the book “Human Biochemistry.” Iodide is still used by your thyroid, but it doesn’t have the same germicidal properties. For this reason, ACV is not recommended to be mixed directly with iodine. Waiting to take iodine an hour or two after ACV consumption may be a better idea. Furthermore, if you are using ACV long-term, there is some concern that it may lower your iodine levels and put you at risk for hypothyroidism according to Michael Weiner, author of the book “Herbs that Heal: Prescription for Herbal Healing." As such, taking iodine supplements or consuming iodine-rich foods, such as kelp, may be a good idea if you consistently ingest ACV.

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