Apple cider vinegar has gotten some good press in the last several years, but is apple cider vinegar really good for you? If they are to be believed, many proponents claim that apple cider vinegar has numerous benefits. So, what exactly are apple cider vinegar benefits for health?
Vinegar use dates back as far as 8,000 years ago when it was used primarily as a preservative and condiment. Around 400 B.C., Hippocrates began prescribing vinegar to treat a number of medical ailments.
As to apple cider vinegar, it had been a traditional home remedy for many years before D.C Jarvis M.D. published his book Folk Medicine: A Vermont Doctor’s Guide to Good Health in 1958. Today, devotees of the acidic drink believe that there are many apple cider vinegar benefits.
Apple cider vinegar is said to be helpful with diabetes and blood sugar control. There is some limited research to suggest that this may be true; however, it is still up for debate. Purportedly, research indicates that drinking diluted apple cider vinegar keeps blood sugar levels in check. True or not, what is certain is that the ingestion of apple cider vinegar does not reverse diabetes.
Another ascertain with regards to the benefits of apple cider vinegar is that it can help improve cholesterol and triglycerides. However, any studies have been primarily done on animals so at this juncture there is no solid evidence to back up this claim. The better way to improve blood fat levels is to exercise and eat nutritionally.
No doubt the current popularity of taking apple cider vinegar for health reasons is due to the claim that it promotes weight loss. Advocates claim that drinking it before meals helps curb appetite as well as burn fat. The fact is that apple cider vinegar does not burn fat, but it may help to curb appetite. The reason for this may have more to do with the associated upset stomach or queasiness after drinking diluted vinegar.
A better way to use apple cider vinegar to reduce weight is to use it in cooking. Replace condiments or dilute purchased salad dressings with apple cider vinegar. Use vinegar to marinade meats and seafood and flavor sautéed veggies with apple cider vinegar and olive oil.
Other purported apple cider benefits include the ability to reduce inflammation and the symptoms of arthritis, reduce eczema flare ups, leg cramps, sinus issues, anti-aging elixir, and even help with split ends.
If you believe that apple cider has health benefits, proceed with caution. Remember that apple cider vinegar is extremely acidic and can erode your tooth enamel. It can also irritate the throat and increase stomach acidity. Some researchers contend that drinking apple cider vinegar puts a strain on kidneys and bones. It may also increase levels of potassium and interact with medication and supplements.
Be sure to talk to your doctor before implementing apple cider vinegar for health purposes and always dilute apple cider vinegar prior to drinking. Also, if you do decide to ingest apple cider vinegar for possible health benefits, use the liquid vinegar, not the pills, which often do not even contain vinegar.
Apple cider vinegar, or cider vinegar, is a vinegar made from fermented apple juice,  and used in salad dressings, marinades, vinaigrettes, food preservatives, and chutneys.  It is made by crushing apples, then squeezing out the juice. Bacteria and yeast are added to the liquid to start the alcoholic fermentation process, which converts the sugars to alcohol. In a second fermentation step, the alcohol is converted into vinegar by acetic acid-forming bacteria (Acetobacter species).  Acetic acid and malic acid combine to give vinegar its sour taste. 
There is no high-quality clinical evidence that regular consumption of apple cider vinegar helps to maintain or lose body weight,  or is effective to manage blood glucose and lipid levels. 
One of the most studied apple cider vinegar benefits is its ability to help maintain normal blood sugar levels.
One interesting study shows that blood sugar levels dropped by an average of 31% when ingesting acetic acid from vinegar and then eating portions of white bread (1).
So if you are going to try apple cider vinegar capsules, it will have an impact on your blood sugar levels. If you have problems with blood sugar, you should consult with your doctor.
Consuming apple cider vinegar is a natural way to protect your heart by reducing the cholesterol (LDL) levels in your blood vessels. If we simplify, there are two types of cholesterol. Bad LDL cholesterol and beneficial HDL cholesterol.
Apple cider vinegar is amazing because not only it directly reduces the bad LDL cholesterol but it also increases the beneficial HDL cholesterol in your body. There has been a study done on rats to confirm this (2).
Apple cider vinegar is so healthy that the benefits aren’t just internal. Your skin is your biggest organ and it directly reflects your internal health.
Apple cider vinegar is rich in vitamins and nutrients that directly help your skin look better . But there is more.
Vinegar is well known for its strong antibacterial effects that to help your body fight against bacteria that causes skin problems like acne (3).
From my experience and researching alternative medicine, I’ve learned that when our liver is overburdened and can’t detox toxins efficiently, it shows on our skin. And this brings us to the next amazing benefit.
Your liver is responsible for removing harmful environmental toxins from your body. It is one of most important internal organs to keep healthy because our environment is so polluted that we can’t avoid toxins.
Stressful lifestyle, poor food quality, polluted water, industrially processed foods, lack of physical activity, environmental pollution (especially in bigger cities and industrial areas), all this is putting a heavy strain on our liver .
Apple cider vinegar is what a lovely natural remedy to help us detoxify our body and improve liver health. To maximize this effect, vinegar is a great combination with foods rich in probiotics.
Gallstones are a problem related to liver health. Apple cider vinegar is a popular home remedy to reduce the pain associated with gallstones and to effectively dissolve the stones for good .
If you have an acute pain (usually in upper right stomach area) seek medical help immediately. Apple cider vinegar is a good natural remedy to help prevent gallstones formation and it may help ease mild pain associated with gallstones. It is NOT a treatment in any way, so consult your doctor if you suspect having a health issue.
Generally, we don’t realize that almost everyone has some form of gallstones formed either in liver or gallbladder. Our liver can’t function properly when there are gallstones present, even if very small and don’t cause noticable problems.
Apple cider vinegar helps dissolve gallstones and this is one of main reasons why it is many times recommended to promote liver health .
Apple cider vinegar was used as a herbal home remedy for centuries to boost energy, when people didn’t know about coffee or modern energy drinks. They actually used apple cider vinegar for that! It refreshes your body and helps remove toxins.
When you take apple cider vinegar capsules, make sure that you drink plenty of fresh water. Just water, no sugary drinks. Apple cider vinegar acts as a general tonic, boosts stamina and helps your body feel lighter, probably because of the combined effects of all the health benefits it provides.
There are so many health benefits of apple cider vinegar, and it was hard for me to chose 7 most important ones. One of the most known benefit is the impact of apple vinegar on weight loss.
In one study researchers confirmed that just two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar daily resulted in average almost 4 pounds of weight loss. This study measured its effects over 3 months of taking apple vinegar with no other change in lifestyle or diet (4).
Apple cider vinegar also helps decrease total caloric intake from food . The direct effect on weight loss is mild, but I think that the combined effect of all the health benefits work together to help your body lose extra pounds.
Apple cider vinegar capsules are a great support for weight loss and health. To achieve best results they are most effective when combined with healthy diet and physical activity .
Not all research showed positive results. Remember to talk with your doctor before adding apple cider vinegar to your diet.
Some people choose to take apple cider vinegar in a pill form. Health experts say that not all vinegar pills are the same. Many don’t include enough acetic acid and others have you taking too much. The authenticity of the pills or brand must be researched and then approved by your doctor before taking.
The claims are everywhere: If you add apple cider vinegar to your daily diet, it will help you lose weight. "Helps maintain a healthy weight range," declares one manufacturer.
"A lot of this is marketing," said registered dietitian and CNN contributor Lisa Drayer. "Consumers get those messages, and they think, 'Oh, this must be the next magic bullet.' But whether it's based on science is another matter."
A lot of the research on vinegar's relationship with weight loss is in animals, mainly mice and rats. Studies show that acetic acid, the main component of apple cider vinegar, can suppress body fat accumulation and metabolic disorders in obese rats. But of course, mice are not men, and rats are not women, so these findings prove little.
Studies in humans have been small, which limits their validity.
"For example, some research suggests that it might promote satiety and make you consume fewer calories throughout the day," Drayer said. "But the research is very limited, with small sample sizes, and is far from conclusive."
A 2005 study of 12 people found participants felt fuller when vinegar was consumed with a meal that included bread. A 2013 study of 16 people found the same result, but only because the vinegar caused nausea when ingested. "On this basis, the promotion of vinegar as a natural appetite suppressant does not seem appropriate," that study concluded.
The most-cited study to explore a connection to weight loss was done in 2009 with 175 "obese" Japanese subjects, ages 25 to 60, who were split into three groups. Considered "obese" by Japanese standards, each subject's body mass index (BMI) was between 25 and 30 in the United States, people aren't considered obese until their BMI exceeds 30. Anyone who had high cholesterol or diabetes or was using medications was excluded from the study.
Over a 12-week period, the groups consumed a beverage each day with either one tablespoon of vinegar, two tablespoons of vinegar or no vinegar at all. At the end of the three months, those who consumed any amount of vinegar had a lower body weight, a smaller body mass index, less visceral fat, a smaller waist measurement and lower triglyceride levels than the placebo group that drank no vinegar.
That sounds fantastic until you look closely at the amount of weight that was lost.
"Only 2 to 4 pounds in three months over a placebo," Drayer explained. "That's only a third of a pound a week. Most diets have a much bigger result. So you would definitely have to do many other things to accomplish any significant weight loss."
Registered dietitian Carol Johnston has been studying the effects of acetic acid on diabetic blood glucose levels since 2004. While she believes the Japanese study's findings make sense because they are in line with animal research, she too is quick to point out that the weight loss in humans was "very, very modest."
"In fact, I would say most people who are on a diet for 12 weeks and only lose a couple of pounds aren't going to be very happy," said Johnston, an associate dean in the College of Health Solutions at Arizona State University.
Some claims revolve around using vinegar supplements to lose weight.
"I remember, probably 15 years ago, covering the apple cider vinegar diet," Drayer said. "When you looked closely, the diet paired apple cider vinegar pills with a low-calorie menu. It's no wonder people lost weight."
Many people prefer to ingest vinegar via a pill because liquid vinegar is acidic and can cause nausea. But commercial vinegar pills do not have the same effect on lowering blood glucose as liquid vinegar, according to research done by Johnston.
If you choose to add vinegar to your diet, Johnston recommends that the tablespoon of vinegar is added to a full glass of water. Properly diluting vinegar is key. Otherwise, it can damage your teeth, throat and stomach lining.
"Vinegar has that strong smell and puckering taste, so if you take a breath, you could inhale it into your lungs and burn those a little, because it's an acid," Johnston said.
Where Johnston's research has shown significant benefits from vinegar, however, is in blood sugar control. Over the years, she's done a number of studies that show vinegar helps control blood sugar spikes for people with Type 2 diabetes and those who are prediabetic, also known as insulin-resistant. She's even seen a slight benefit for healthy control subjects.
"Vinegar had an impact in all groups, but the most significant impact was in the prediabetic group," she said. "In prediabetics, it was too good to be true (blood sugar) fell a good bit and stayed that way. It may be this is the group that could benefit the most."
The theory, according to Johnston, is that acetic acid appears to interfere with enzymes that break down starch molecules. This antiglycemic response can be induced by any sort of vinegar, such as red and white wine vinegars, pomegranate vinegar or even white distilled vinegar. It's the acetic acid in the vinegar, not the type, that produces the result.
"Basically, what acetic acid is doing is blocking the absorption of starch," Johnston said. "If my study subjects eat a starch and add vinegar, glucose will go down. But if they drink sugar water and add vinegar, nothing happens. So if you're having bacon and eggs, don't bother. It only helps if you are consuming a starch."
It's possible that blocking starch absorption may help with weight loss as well, Drayer said.
"So if acetic acid is interfering with the breakdown of starch, what that means is that starch is not being digested," she explained. "And if it's not being digested, it's not being absorbed into the bloodstream, and therefore it's not contributing to calories."
Though the research on acetic acid's benefits looks promising, nothing's definitive. It could be that other elements in apple cider and other vinegars also play a role. Take the trace chemicals in vinegar that vary based on where each brand was fermented, for example.
"It could be that some of those ingredients are important or part of the effect we are seeing," Johnson said. She added that it will take much larger randomized scientific trials to prove any cause and effect between vinegar and weight loss, and especially between vinegar and diabetes or cardiovascular risks.
"Somebody, probably the federal government, is going to have to fund a multimillion-dollar grant and recruit hundreds of people at risk for diabetes and metabolic disorders to truly determine if vinegar is going to make a difference," Johnston said.
But until those occur, Johnston sees no harm in using vinegar to control blood sugars after starchy meals. After all, balsamic and wine vinegars are part of the Mediterranean diet, long associated with heart health and other benefits.
"Even in healthy people, that post-meal surge in blood sugar is a risk factor for heart disease, so in my mind, everyone should take advantage of the benefit that vinegar may provide. But I'd do it the way people have done for centuries, by adding it to their food," Johnston said.
"What I would recommend is adding vinegar to meals as a condiment, as it contains no calories," Drayer said. "When you make a dressing, use three parts oil to one part vinegar. Or reverse it and do one part oil and three parts vinegar."
You can also use it with food preparation, Drayer added.
"Dip your chicken with egg whites and bread crumbs mixed with balsamic vinegar for poultry or fish," she said. "Or you can drink it in water, which may help as water makes you feel full."
But again, never drink vinegar straight, experts say, or you might injure your teeth, throat or stomach.
"Dilute it in water, and drink before you eat or with the first bites of your meal," Johnston said. "You want the acetic acid in stomach before the meal to do the most good," she said. "Mediterranean people ate the salad with vinegar, then they ate the pasta."
You may be better off saving your money. Meshulam and Zeitlin agree that it’s better to buy a bottle of the actual vinegar if you want to incorporate ACV into your diet. “I would always, always, always opt for the actual food version,” Zeitlin says, because you know what’s in it.
But don’t take a shot of raw apple cider vinegar, as it can hurt your esophagus, Meshulam says. Instead, try putting a few teaspoons in your salad dressing, marinades, or sparkling water if your interested in incorporating ACV into a nutritious diet.