Health & Nutrition Articles
A Review of Apple Cider Vinegar
A homeopathic remedy that has recently seen renewed interest is apple cider vinegar. It has been used in many different applications, from cooking and cleaning, and even in traditional medicine. Many people have begun supplementing their diets with various forms of apple cider vinegar expecting a wide range of results. What does science say about the purported health benefits of apple cider vinegar? Unfortunately, it isn't quite clear, as there is little to go off with the research that is available. Some of the claimed benefits of this classic supplement include reduction of cholesterol, lower levels of sugars in the blood, alleviating the symptoms of diabetes, and facilitating weight loss. There is very little scientific evidence to confirm any of these claims, and apple cider vinegar should not be used as an alternative for modern medications. Always consult your doctor before supplementing with anything.
What Is Apple Cider Vinegar?
Apple cider vinegar is made by mixing apples into a pulp, or mash, and is then fermented with yeast- not unlike many alcoholic beverages. This process produces alcohol, but the manufacturing process does not end there. After the desired alcohol content is achieved, the mixture has bacteria added to it which breaks down the alcohol in an enzymatic process which results in acetic acid . The acidity of apple cider vinegar is typically 5-6% acetic acid, which is what researchers believe is the compound primarily linked to health benefits . Acetic acid is commonly referred to as vinegar, and just as white, balsamic, and red wine vinegars are made, apple cider vinegar can be made too, by following a similar manufacturing process. One of the characteristic traits of quality apple cider vinegar, according to many who advocate its use for health benefits, is the presence of a material called 'mother'. The mother is made of many particles like bacteria and proteins and gives this liquid a cloudy consistency. Advocates of apple cider vinegar believe that the mother is responsible for the health benefits they desire, but there are no studies that confirm any of these beliefs.
Potassium is the primary mineral found in apple cider vinegar, albeit in minute quantities. There are very few vitamins and minerals in apple cider vinegar, and the benefits some people believe they obtain from this supplement are most likely not due to these negligible amounts. Some of the premium formulations of this product contain antioxidants and amino acids. The almost non-existent research available on the active compounds in apple cider vinegar cannot conclusively state that there is any benefit to consuming it, yet it seems people have used it in a traditional manner for a wide range of applications for many years.
How Is Apple Cider Vinegar Used?
Some people use apple cider vinegar to kill "bad" bacteria and other pathogens, such as cleaning fungal infections of the nails, delousing, easing warts and ear infections. Many health professionals would recommend against applying it to sensitive areas of the skin, such as inside the ear, because apple cider vinegar has the potential to cause chemical burns due to its acidity, especially if not properly diluted with water. Acetic acid has been used historically to kill harmful pathogens and may also help prevent bacteria from reproducing. Vinegar has commonly been used as a food preservative due to these properties. Traditional theory applies this logic to its use in topical treatments, such as a natural remedy for acne, although there is no research which supports this. 
Apple Cider Vinegar and the Effects on Blood Sugar
Some of the more perplexing data surrounding apple cider vinegar comes from research studying its effects on patients with type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is a condition where the body is resistant to insulin, or where the pancreas can no longer produce insulin . Insulin is needed to counter the effects of blood sugar, and blood sugar is one thing that people with diabetes are perpetually trying to control. Some studies have suggested that vinegar may help improve sensitivity to insulin and lower blood sugar significantly . More research is needed before apple cider vinegar can be recommended to diabetic patients, and this serious condition should always be treated by a doctor, and professional guidance strictly adhered to. It's very important that health products, which remain unproven, never replace medical treatment .
People that don't have diabetes can also benefit from normalizing their blood sugar levels, as some health researchers believe that having high blood sugar could be a major factor causing certain chronic diseases and advanced aging. Though it is exciting to read the results of these studies which suggest these benefits, more conclusive evidence is needed to confirm these associations. The evidence of apple cider vinegar's ability to work positively against high blood sugar and enhance the effects of insulin may be one of its most intriguing qualities yet.
As a Weight Loss Supplement
Losing weight seems to be a priority for many people, especially those concerned with their overall health. It may be surprising that one study seems to demonstrate the ability of vinegar to curb over-eating. The study presented findings that consuming vinegar alongside a carbohydrate rich meal led to reduced feelings of hunger, with the participants eating over 200 calories less throughout the remaining day . A different study takes into account the experiences of 175 obese participants who consumed apple cider vinegar daily for 3 months. The data from this second study suggested desired benefits, such as loss of belly fat and weight, could be achieved through consuming 1-2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar . While maintaining a healthy weight through diet and exercise is important to one's overall health, it is important that any weight loss attempts be closely monitored by your doctor, and only take supplements that your doctor approves of as being safe.
Apple Cider Vinegar Gummies
A form of apple cider vinegar that has been steadily gaining popularity among those who consume it as a dietary supplement are gummies. These gummies contain a concentrate of apple cider vinegar, in addition to being fortified with other ingredients such as vitamins, minerals and fruit-based extracts. The idea behind blending these ingredients into a gummy is that consumers seeking the supposed benefits of apple cider vinegar are now able to do so without the harsh taste of drinking it straight. Furthermore, it should be noted that drinking undiluted vinegar can cause erosion of the esophageal lining and tooth enamel over time, as it is acidic. Aside from being a more convenient delivery form, most gummies on the market will state the exact amount of apple cider vinegar in milligrams, so taking the desired amount can be achieved each time with precision. The average amount of ACV per serving of gummy is 500 mg, though it may vary depending on brand. It should be made clear also, that the research findings referenced in this article do not consider gummies in their tests, and only the liquid form of vinegar has been evaluated. Any evidence of health benefits from consuming liquid vinegar cannot be directly applied to taking gummies, and there is still more research that needs to be done before vinegar gummies can be verified as being effective for anything .
Apple cider vinegar supplements are generally regarded as safe and without significant side effects when low doses are taken . Still, safety is subjective and depends on factors unique to your own personal chemistry. Always consult your healthcare provider before adding supplements to your diet, and always seek guidance before attempting to lose weight. Eating well and staying active remain the most effective measures everyone should take to stay fit and healthy.
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