Apple cider vinegar is pretty common thing in households. It is used in soaps, toners, food, shampoos, and whatnot. It one of the most common ingredients for a home remedy, no matter what the remedy is required for. When conversations about the advantages and disadvantages of ACV are started, everyone always seems to list out the pros. Not many people know its cons.
WHAT IS APPLE CIDER VINEGAR?
ACV is essentially apple juice. The difference between apple juice and ACV is that ACV contains yeast which causes it to ferment. This fermentation is the process of the sugar in the juice converting into alcohol. In a second fermentation step, the alcohol is converted into vinegar by acetic acid-forming bacteria. Cider can be bought at a store and be made at home. There are two acids that combine to give vinegar its sour taste, acetic acid and malic acid.
WHAT IS APPLE CIDER VINEGAR’S HISTORY?
According to National Apple Museum, apples weren’t intended for eating until relatively recent times. They were consumed as boozy hard cider. People would press them for the juice and leave it to ferment, letting it bubble away. Apples weren’t eaten as fruits because they were considered too bitter to just munch on.
In 55 BC, the first Romans sailed to the British Isles. By this time, the locals were drinking a cider-like drink made from apples. It did not take much time for the Romans to start liking this drink. Soon enough, cider spread throughout the Roman Empire and across Europe, becoming popular with people from the Germanic tribes to the Normans, whose conquest of England in the 9th century brought apple orchards and the very word “cider” into the English language.
Colonial New England was quick to develop a liking for cider. This cider was boozy, making it safer to drink than much of the water available and full of nutrition to get them through the hard winters. There was even a less-alcoholic variation brewed for children called “applekin.”
Is ACV really all sunshine and rainbows, like everyone says it is?
Let’s find out.
Advantages of Apple Cider Vinegar
Produces Good Microbes
The process that turns apple juice into apple cider also produces microbes that are good for the gut. It is rich in probiotics. They help to improve digestion, boost the immune system. Some studies also claim that probiotics positively affect mental health. Some people say that the “mother in a bottle of apple cider vinegar is what makes it healthy. This “mother” is a cloud of yeast and bacteria. Hence, it is recommended to buy bottles of ACV with the “mother” intact. Will Cole, medical practitioner said, “apple cider vinegar has also been shown to have antiviral and anti-yeast and antifungal benefits, all helpful in supporting micro biome and overall immune balance.”
Helps in Regulating Blood Sugar
More often than not after eating meals that are loaded with carbs, the body experiences sort of a blood sugar roller coaster. The blood sugar shoots up and then immediately crashes. ACV can help smoothen this roller coaster. It has also been proved to reduce post-meal blood sugar levels by about half in healthy patients. In a similar study, participants with diabetes or insulin resistance saw blood-sugar-balancing benefits from ACV as well.
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Weight Loss Aid
Apple cider is most commonly known for helping with weight loss. There have been various studies on the role of acetic acid, a primary component of ACV, in weight loss. In a study of obese Japanese adults, it was found that subjects who consumed acetic acid for 12 weeks experienced significant weight loss and declines in abdominal fat, waist circumference, and triglycerides compared to those who consumed a placebo. A consequence of consuming acetic acid is a delay in gastric emptying. This means that people who consume foods with acetic acid feel full for longer. Furthermore, ACV consumption has been linked with lower energy consumption.
Helps Clear Skin
Apple cider vinegar has anti-inflammatory properties. It is also acidic in nature. Hence, it helps get rid of dead skin cells while soothing irritation. Although, the acidic nature might also cause irritation, if used in a concentrated form. It should always be diluted with 2 parts water if being used on the skin. This mixture can used with a cotton ball as a toner.
Disadvantages of Apple Cider Vinegar
Erosion of Tooth Enamel
Some studies have proved that consuming large amounts of ACV can damage tooth enamel. In one lab study, enamel from wisdom teeth was immersed in different kinds of vinegar with pH levels ranging from 2.7–3.95. The vinegars led to a 1–20% loss of minerals from the teeth after four hours. Although, this study was conducted in a lab, not in the mouth. This did not include study the impact of vinegar of teeth in subjects’ mouth, where saliva helps buffer acidity.
Studies have shown that acetic acid from vinegar was the most common acid that caused throat burns. It has the capability to cause oesophageal (throat) burns, especially in children. Researchers recommended vinegar be considered a “potent caustic substance” and kept in childproof containers.
ACV causes a delay in gastric emptying, thus decreasing appetite and promoting feelings of fullness. This can lead to a natural reduction in calorie intake. A study reported that people who consumed a drink containing apple cider vinegar reported less appetite but also significantly greater feelings of nausea, especially when the vinegar was part of an unpleasant-tasting drink.
There are various drugs that can cause problems if consumed alongside ACV because of its acidic nature. It can interact with diabetes medication and lead to dangerously low blood sugar or potassium levels. Taking Digoxin (Lanoxin) in combination with apple cider vinegar could lower potassium too much.
Pros and Cons of Apple Cider Vinegar
|Produces good microbes||Erosion of tooth enamel|
|Helps in regulating blood sugar||Throat burns|
|Weight loss aid||Digestive problems|
|Helps clear skin||Drug interactions|