Apple cider vinegar is mostly apple juice, but adding yeast turns the sugar in the juice into alcohol. This is a process called fermentation. Bacteria turn the alcohol into acetic acid. That’s what gives vinegar its sour taste and strong smell.
Apple cider vinegar has a long history as a home remedy, used to treat things like sore throat and varicose veins. There isn’t much science to support the claims. But in recent years, some researchers have been taking a closer look at apple cider vinegar and its possible benefits.
Some people say the “mother,” the cloud of yeast and bacteria you might see in a bottle of apple cider vinegar, is what makes it healthy. These things are probiotic, meaning they might give your digestive system a boost, but there isn’t enough research to back up the other claims.
Apple Cider Vinegar Uses and Dosage
Vinegar is used in cooking, baking, and salad dressings and as a preservative. There’s a lot of acid in it, so drinking vinegar straight isn’t recommended. It can cause problems, like eroding the enamel of your teeth, if you get too much.
If you’re looking to use it for health reasons, most people say to add 1 to 2 tablespoons to water or tea.
Apple Cider Vinegar Benefits
Vinegar has been used as a remedy for centuries. The ancient Greeks treated wounds with it. In recent years, people have explored apple cider vinegar as a way to lose weight, improve heart health, and even treat dandruff.
Research doesn’t back most of these claims. But some studies have found that acetic acid may help with a variety of conditions:
- Japanese scientists found that drinking vinegar might help fight obesity.
- One small study found that vinegar improved blood sugar and insulin levels in a group of people with type 2 diabetes.
Vinegar also has chemicals known as polyphenols. They help stop the cell damage that can lead to other diseases, like cancer. But studies on whether vinegar actually lowers your chances of having cancer are mixed.
Lowering blood sugar
One of the biggest health claims for apple cider vinegar is related to diabetes and blood sugar control. A few small studies found that consuming apple cider vinegar after a meal could lower your blood glucose (sugar). This could be helpful for people with Type 2 diabetes or prediabetes.
But don’t expect vinegar alone to keep your blood sugar levels in check. “Apple cider vinegar might lower your glucose a little, but not enough,” says Czerwony. “To prevent or manage diabetes, follow a healthy diet and exercise plan.”
Calming acid reflux
Gastroesophageal reflux disease, GERD, acid reflux — no matter what you call it, it’s unpleasant. Many people swear by apple cider vinegar as an acid reflux remedy.
There’s no science to back up apple cider vinegar’s anti-heartburn power. But if your doctor says it’s OK, there’s likely no harm, either. Read what a gastroenterologist says about using apple cider vinegar for acid reflux.
If you’re trying to lose weight, every little boost can help. And apple cider vinegar may help with weight loss.
One small study showed that adding apple cider vinegar to a healthy diet might help people lose more weight. But these findings haven’t been proven with large, controlled studies. Find out what a Czerwony says about the apple cider vinegar diet.
To make all purpose cleaner
Apple cider vinegar is often a popular choice for a natural alternative to commercial cleaning agents. This is because of its antibacterial properties.
Mix 1 cup of water with half a cup of apple cider vinegar, and you’ll have a natural all-purpose cleaner.
However, it’s worth noting that although vinegar, including apple cider vinegar, can kill some bacteria, they aren’t as effective at killing harmful bacteria as commercial cleaning agents.
To soothe a sore throat
Gargling with apple cider vinegar is a popular home remedy for sore throats.
It’s anecdotally thought that its antibacterial properties could help kill off the bacteria that could be causing the sore throat. However, there is no evidence to support its use in this way.
If you try this at home, make sure you mix the vinegar with water before gargling.
This is because apple cider vinegar is very acidic and has been known to cause throat burns when consumed undiluted.
As a facial toner
Anecdotally, apple cider vinegar is claimed to help remedy skin conditions and provide graceful ageing support.
As such, many people like to use apple cider vinegar to make a skin tonic.
The general recipe is 1 part apple cider vinegar to 2 parts water. You can then apply this to your skin using a cotton pad. However, if you have sensitive skin, you may want to make a more diluted solution by adding more water.
There’s an insufficient amount of research supporting the safety of using apple cider vinegar for this purpose.
To trap fruit flies
Fruit flies can be pests, and it’s really easy to use apple cider vinegar to make a cheap fruit fly trap.
Simply pour some apple cider vinegar into a cup, add a few drops of dish soap (so that any trapped flies sink), and you’re good to go.
To boil better eggs
Adding vinegar to the water you use to boil or poach eggs can help you produce consistently good eggs. This is because the protein in egg whites firms up more quickly when exposed to a more acidic liquid.
When you’re poaching eggs, you want the egg whites to firm up as quickly as possible so the eggs keep their shape.
Using vinegar when boiling eggs can also speed up the coagulation, or clotting, of the egg whites. This can be useful if the shell cracks while the egg is being boiled.