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Apple Cider Vinegar, Miracle or Hoax?

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"I want to lose weight, and I came across apple cider vinegar on social media. It’s the most trending weight loss sensation on the internet”. "Please, can you recommend it to me?"

Most nutritionists will agree, that they have faced this question from their weight loss clients on numerous occasions.

Apple cider vinegar, though, has been trending on the internet in recent years, it’s hard to believe it was discovered nearly in 5000 B.C. when the Babylonians were producing vinegar.

Let’s first talk about some Fun facts about Apple Cider Vinegar.

Apple cider vinegar was used for medicinal purposes for thousands of years.
National Apple Cider Vinegar Day is celebrated on September 23.
Apple cider vinegar is not Apple juice.

Have you ever wondered how Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) is produced?

Apple Cider Vinegar is produced through a fermentation process.

Let’s understand Apple Cider Vinegar's commercial production step by step.

Firstly, it is important to produce hard apple cider to make Apple Cider Vinegar.

  • Apples as a whole, including both peels and flesh, are used in the process.
  • Apples are crushed and pressed into apple juice.
  • Apple juice is then combined with a certain amount of yeast.
  • The yeast then converts the sugar present in apples into alcohol called ethanol.
  • The ethanol is further converted into acetic acid, which is considered the second step of fermentation.
  • This acetic acid mixture is called "mother," which consists of Acetobacter Acetic bacteria, cellulose, and enzymes.
  • Finally, they dilute it with water to nearly 5% acidity.
  • They keep it in fermentation jars for nearly 2 weeks before it is ready for consumption.

What is the difference between Apple Cider Vinegar and Apple Cider?

Apple cider vinegar is a fermented product of Apple cider, which is further diluted with water. Whereas, apple cider is more or less apple juice that is boiled to a specific concentration called "raw cider." It can be further filtered and pasteurized to eliminate bacteria.

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What are the benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar?

Acetic acid, which is the main active component of apple cider vinegar, is believed to play a role in promoting maximum health benefits.

1. Aids to Weight Loss

A research study published in a Journal of functional foods (2018) stated that people who were involved in losing weight took 1.5 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar daily and lost more weight compared to those who didn’t.

It is observed that Apple Cider Vinegar slows down the absorption of starches ( one of the contributing factors to weight gain) that come from carbohydrate-rich diets.

Currently, research is being carried out to understand the further role of Apple Cider Vinegar in fat loss, although it has been observed to be effective in helping people lose a substantial amount of weight when apple cider vinegar is combined with a diet compared to those who follow only a diet to lose weight.

Therefore, it can be good news for people who intend to lose weight because they can include apple cider vinegar in their diet.

2. Can help in Diabetes and manage blood sugar levels.

A study carried out on people with diabetes reported that consuming two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar before bedtime reduced fasting blood sugar by 4% the next morning.

Another study conducted among five healthy people showed that vinegar reduced blood sugar by 31.4% after eating 50 grams of white bread.

Other studies too have shown a similar role of apple cider vinegar in lowering blood sugar levels.

Thereby, it can be concluded Apple Cider Vinegar has shown promising results in lowering blood sugar levels and improving insulin sensitivity.

3. Apple cider vinegar may reduce acid reflux.

Acid reflux can be reduced by ACV by increasing the levels of acids in the digestive tract.

This can be more effective if acid reflux is the result of fewer acids in the stomach.

ACV also contains small amounts of magnesium, a mineral that helps promote regular and better bowel movements. However, research studies have not yet concluded the role of Apple cider vinegar in treating constipation.

4. Can kill harmful bacteria

Studies show that ACV inhibits bacteria like E. coli from growing in and spoiling food. The major component, acetic acid, has been shown to be effective in killing harmful bacteria and thereby protecting from bacterial infections.

5. Apple cider vinegar's role in women's health

One study found that 15 g of ACV taken daily for 3–4 months improved insulin resistance and ovulation, which was measured by observing the levels of luteinizing hormone and follicle-stimulating hormone. This observation can be helpful in treating polycystic ovarian syndrome.

However, more research studies need to be focused on expanding the benefits involved in other aspects of women’s health.

6. Apple Cider Vinegar can correct Erectile dysfunction in men.

Men who have type 2 diabetes are more likely to develop erectile dysfunction. Being overweight and obese are other major reasons for men to suffer from erectile dysfunction.

Considering the role of apple cider vinegar in weight loss and blood sugar levels, we can link it to its benefits in treating erectile dysfunction.

7. Apple cider vinegar can have a role in maintaining good heart health.

It was observed in an observational study that women who were given Apple Cider Vinegar in salad dressing had a reduced risk of heart disease. They can link this to Apple Cider Vinegar's role in reducing total cholesterol and triglycerides.

Apple Cider Vinegar can reduce total cholesterol and triglycerides due to the natural antioxidants present in ACV or through AMPK (adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase) pathway activation, which reduces lipogenesis and increases energy expenditure.

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What are the side effects of Apple Cider Vinegar?

  • Delayed gastric or stomach emptying

Apple cider vinegar can delay stomach emptying. It means, the food may not leave the stomach as quickly as it should, which can lead to bloating and nausea.

  • Weakened dental enamel

The acetic acid in vinegar may erode dental enamel and cause tooth decay.

  • Throat burn

Due to the high concentration of acetic acid, it may burn the throat while swallowing. It is advised to drink a substantial amount of water, even if it is consumed in capsule form.

  • Drug interactions

People taking diabetes medicines along with apple cider vinegar can face extremely low levels of blood sugar. It is advised to strike the right balance between both.

What form of apple cider vinegar is available?

Apple Cider Vinegar is available in liquid form, capsule form, and gummies.

Which is the best apple cider vinegar- liquid or capsule form?

The liquid form of ACV is very strong in taste and smell and can be difficult for many people to tolerate. The capsule is a better option along with a substantial amount of water. Both forms are equally absorbable.

Ultimately, It should be an individual’s choice, which forms the best suit him or her.

How much should liquid ACV and Tablet per day be desirable?

Normally in its liquid form 1-2tsp, ACV with 150-200ml of water is recommended. If it’s a Capsule form between 800-1000mg of 2capsules are generally recommended.

Looking at the pros and cons backed by science, Apple Cider Vinegar is definitely neither a hoax nor a miracle discovery but can be considered to promote good health if taken in the right proportion and correct form.

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