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Apple cider vinegar has been used medicinally for centuries and is touted as a “miracle cure” for everything from candida to varicose veins to weight loss- but does it really deserve its fame? 

What is apple cider vinegar? 

Apple cider vinegar comes from apples that have been chopped, covered with water, and left at room temperature to ferment until the natural sugars form ethanol. The ethanol is then oxidised by bacteria to form acetic acid, which has antibacterial and antifungal properties.

Apple cider vinegar and weight loss… 

Claims that acetic acid is capable of increasing metabolic rate are unfounded, however there is limited evidence that suggests it may aid in weight loss. The only well controlled study of vinegar and weight loss in humans is a double-blind trial in which obese patients consumed 0, 15, or 30mL of vinegar per day for a 12-week period. The 15mL and 30mL group lost an average of 1.2kg and 1.9kg respectively, and both regained some weight 4 weeks after the study’s cessation.

Apple cider vinegar and blood sugar control…

Apple cider vinegar may be beneficial in improving insulin sensitivity in diabetics through slowing the speed at which glucose is able to enter the blood. This may be due to its ability to suppress the rate of gastric emptying. Another small study showed an increase in

Apple cider vinegar and gut health…

It is no secret that fermented foods are beneficial for gut health. Apple cider vinegar with ‘the mother’ has not been pasteurised, and contains live bacteria which when ingested may improve the diversity of the gut microbiome. Apple cider vinegar also demonstrates multiple antimicrobial effects on Candida albicans, Staphylococcus aureus and E.coli by destroying structural pathogenic proteins. There is also a vast amount of anecdotal evidence that claims that apple cider vinegar can exert effects on both low and high stomach acid. It is theorised that, where the stomach acid is too low (hypochlorhydria) the acetic acid can act as a supplement and increase levels of HCl, and when the stomach acid is too high (hyperchlorhydria), the relative weakness of acetic acid in comparison to HCl may have a neutralising effect.

All in all, evidence surrounding apple cider vinegar and its purported benefits is lacking, and while some studies show significant results, much more research is needed.  

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