6 Health Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar, Backed by Science

Apple cider vinegar is the most popular type of vinegar in the natural health community.

It is claimed to lead to all sorts of benefits, many of which are supported by science.

This includes weight loss, reduced cholesterol, lower blood sugar levels and improved symptoms of diabetes.

It is also an ancient folk remedy, and has been used for various household and cooking purposes.

Here are 6 health benefits of apple cider vinegar that are supported by scientific research.

 

Apple cider vinegar is made in a two-step process, related to how alcohol is made (1).

The first step exposes crushed apples (or apple cider) to yeast, which ferment the sugars and turn them into alcohol.

In the second step, bacteria are added to the alcohol solution, which further ferment the alcohol and turn it into acetic acid — the main active compound in vinegar.

In French, the word "vinegar" actually means "sour wine."

Organic, unfiltered apple cider vinegar (like Bragg's) also contains "mother," strands of proteins, enzymes and friendly bacteria that give the product a murky appearance.

Some people believe that the "mother" is responsible for most of the health benefits, although there are currently no studies to support this.

Vinegar can help kill pathogens, including bacteria (2).

It has traditionally been used for cleaning and disinfecting, treating nail fungus, lice, warts and ear infections.

Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, used vinegar for wound cleaning over two thousand years ago.

Vinegar has also been used as a food preservative, and studies show that it inhibits bacteria (like E. coli) from growing in food and spoiling it (234).

If you're looking for a natural way to preserve your food, then apple cider vinegar could be highly useful.

There have also been anecdotal reports of diluted apple cider vinegar helping with acne when applied to the skin, but I didn't find any strong research to confirm this.

By far, the most successful application of vinegar to date is in patients with type 2 diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes is characterized by high blood sugar levels, either because of insulin resistance or an inability to produce insulin (5).

However, high blood sugar can also be a problem in people who don't have diabetes. It is believed to be a major cause of aging and various chronic diseases.

Pretty much everyone should benefit from keeping their blood sugar levels in the normal range. The most effective (and healthiest) way to do that is to avoid refined carbs and sugar, but apple cider vinegar can also have a powerful effect.

Surprisingly, studies also show that vinegar can help you lose weight.

Several human studies show that vinegar can increase satiety, help you eat fewer calories and lead to actual pounds lost on the scale.

For example, if people take vinegar along with a high-carb meal, they get increased feelings of fullness and end up eating 200–275 fewer calories for the rest of the day (1112).

A study in 175 people with obesity showed that daily apple cider vinegar consumption led to reduced belly fat and weight loss (13):

Heart disease is currently the world's most common cause of premature death (14).

It is known that several biological factors are linked to either a decreased or increased risk of heart disease.

Several of these "risk factors" can be improved by vinegar consumption, but many of the studies were done in animals.

Cancer is a terrible disease characterized by the uncontrolled growth of cells.

There is a lot of hype online about the anti-cancer effects of apple cider vinegar.

In fact, numerous studies have shown that various types of vinegar can kill cancer cells and shrink tumors (212223).

However, all of the studies on this were done in isolated cells in test tubes, or rats, which proves nothing about what happens in a living, breathing human.

That said, some observational studies in humans have shown that vinegar consumption is linked to decreased esophageal cancer in China, but increased bladder cancer in Serbia (2425).