Is Apple Cider Vinegar Worth the Hype?

Harvesting food and plants for medicinal purposes is a practice as old as time. With many claims of improved health aided by the consumption of apple cider vinegar (ACV) seen within mainstream media, society has embraced ACV as the newest health hack. Many praise it for helping them with bloating and digestion, while others praise it for helping with weight loss or clearing up their skin. With a wide variety of promised benefits and miracle remedies based upon consuming ACV, one must question if all these claims are genuine or if it's too good to be true. While little scientific research definitively concludes what the proven benefits of ACV are, anecdotal evidence suggests a truth to the benefits. Is the popularity of ACV growing for a good reason?

The fundamental component of ACV that is scientifically believed to be the powerhouse behind all of the vinegar’s health benefits is acetic acid. This acid is the main active compound in vinegar and it is developed during the production process. Healthline explains that when crushed apples are exposed to yeast, the natural sugars ferment and turn into alcohol. Bacteria are then added to the alcohol to further ferment it; thus, turning it into acetic acid. The acid is responsible for the classic pungent sour smell and flavor vinegar possesses. Acetic acid is widely believed to help ACV consumers with bloating and indigestion. Since bloating is a consequence of low stomach acid levels, the acetic acid in ACV is hypothesized to be what relieves those post-meal food babies. Other healthy substances found within ACV include proteins, enzymes and friendly bacteria. These substances are derived from the mother contained within organic, unfiltered ACV. Good quality bottles of ACV may also come along with amino acids and antioxidants.

Research suggests that ACV intake may help those with diabetes because it displays the possibility of improving insulin sensitivity and lowering blood sugar responses after meals. Studies on ACV consumption also demonstrate that vinegar has the potential to help people lose weight by increasing feelings of fullness; thus, decreasing caloric intake. ACV can additionally help improve the quality of your skin. The natural acidity and antimicrobial properties of ACV make it a common remedy for dryness and eczema. ACV helps reinstate balance to the natural pH of the skin, which strengthens the skin’s protective barrier. ACV’s antibacterial properties suggest that it may help with skin infections; however, this is only a theory and not a suggested use of the vinegar. I would not recommend putting undiluted ACV directly on your skin because it can easily burn or damage it. If anything, dilute it in water, toner or facial cleanser. A major drawback to all of these health benefits is that none of them are scientifically proven or approved; ACV use is simply a healthy suggestion or option.

mason jar with lemons Photo by Milo McDowell from Unsplash Bloating and digestion are the two issues that I take apple cider vinegar for. I have had an overwhelmingly positive experience with taking it regularly. I've been taking ACV for about three years now; therefore, my advice and experience hold an extent of merit, but also, I am very much far from being a doctor so proceed with caution. My closest friends would attest that chugging a shot of ACV mixed with water is a rarely skipped step in my daily morning routine. My friends would also attest that they’ve seen me gag at the horrible smell and taste of ACV, but I promise the disgust is worth it. On days in which I take my ACV shot, I have observed that my body digests food significantly better than on days I did not take the shot. My hunger cues and normal rates of metabolism are exceptionally more balanced and manageable when I consume ACV in the morning on an empty stomach. 

To start your morning with a healthy gut, a large glass of cold water is the best chaser for your ACV shot. With all this, ACV is only one of many remedies I use to help with bloating and indigestion. As there are many causes of these bodily discomforts, there are also many possible cures. While ACV may work for me to an extent, it may not work for you or it may not be the exact cure you need; everybody is different. 

So, is apple cider vinegar worth the hype? Scientifically speaking, no. Personally speaking, yes. While many ACV consumers virtually praise its benefits for the skin, digestion, blood sugar and more, many of those benefits are not scientifically backed or proven. Few studies suggest a possible positive correlation between ACV consumption and health improvements. There is still an inadequate amount of evidence for any ACV-based treatment to be fully recommended or prescribed. For all the hype ACV gets from skinny celebrities and health-based social media accounts, it could be considered overrated for the use of the average human. Although some have had a positive experience with ACV, it should be taken with a grain of salt as it is not for everyone. As long as it is consumed in healthy amounts, ACV is technically safe. The best daily dosage ranges from one to two tablespoons of ACV; it should be diluted in water or used in cooking.

The most important thing is to not fall under the spell of false advertising. If you want to try ACV, use an organic, unfiltered brand. ACV gummies that claim to possess all the goods of the vinegar are usually just a marketing ploy to get consumers to pay more money for things that do not work; just use the real stuff. Publix brand ACV is $2.19! Do your research and experiment with yourself and your body’s limits to find the best remedies for you.

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