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Apple Cider Vinegar and Weight Loss, a Remedy for Diabetes?

Apple cider vinegar has been looked at as an aid for weight loss, and as a remedy for type 2 diabetes. This article separates fact from fiction.

Richard Johnson
Reading time: 
6
minutes
Published: 
May 31, 2022

Not all Apple Cider Vinegars are the same.

Many of the health benefits attributed to taking Apple Cider Vinegar are a result of the production process; specifically, the bacteria added to the fermented, crushed apple mix to convert the alcohol (produced by adding yeast) into acetic acid. Choose Apple Cider Vinegar products that retain the “Mother”, which is a term used to describe the beneficial probiotic bacteria mentioned above, and which causes the product to have a cloudy appearance.  

The production methods that retain “mother” are the traditional methods, that were used long before mass manufacturer removed the mother in the name of purity.  

Other things to look for are terms like “Cold-pressed”, and “Unfiltered”, these are terms that imply that the product is in its most beneficial state. Note that most products found in the supermarket are not as described here and are best avoided.

Some manufacturers have returned to keeping the “mother” while keeping large scale manufacturing, even so, cold pressed, and unfiltered, do make a costlier manufacturing process and therefore the best apple cider vinegars are more expensive, so expect to pay a premium.

But is it worth it?

Weight Loss and Possible Side Effects.

Apple cider vinegar has been touted as an effective natural remedy for weight loss and, if true, it would also benefit prediabetic people, those who are trying to lose weight; however, there is little to no evidence that this is true, it is NOT effective for weight loss, not by itself, not directly. There is evidence however, that the ACV weight loss effect that many report, may be a result of appetite suppression and/or a reduced rate at which food leaves your stomach.  

There are good reasons not to indulge in this particular remedy.

  • Apple cider vinegar is NOT alkaline; in fact, it is fairly acidic. It can cause throat and stomach irritation if you have a sensitive stomach or drink it often or in large amounts.
  • Apple cider vinegar may interact with certain supplements or drugs, including diuretics and insulin. This may contribute to low potassium levels.

If your only reason to try Apple Cider Vinegar is to lose weight, then there are far more effective ways of doing so; that being said, there are some reasons why people with type 2 diabetes might want to consider using it.

Suppose you, as a diabetic, are trying to moderate your weight and cholesterol levels with a restricted-calorie diet. In that case, Apple cider vinegar might well be of assistance as part of the diet (for more, see the link).

Beneficial Effects of Taking Apple Cider Vinegar

Lowers Blood Glucose Levels

One small review reported that apple cider vinegar caused a small but significant reduction in HbA1c results after 8–12 weeks. Another study looked at the mechanisms of action and found that it increases Insulin-Stimulated Glucose Uptake and, therefore, it might well be useful to moderate blood glucose levels during and after mealtimes by augmenting your meal time drink with ACV. 

In another study, researchers found that individuals with insulin resistance had a slower increase in blood sugar after eating starchy carbohydrates when they drank diluted cider vinegar before eating. Their vinegar was about 1½ tablespoons in ¼ cup of water. It appears the effect is due to decreased absorption of the carbohydrate into the blood or a slowed breakdown of the carbohydrate into sugars; reduced stomach emptying is one potential mechanism as mentioned above.

Another small study found that ACV improved insulin sensitivity

A combined calorie restriction diet with Apple cider vinegar also improved participants' cholesterol profile (increased LDL Cholesterol and reduced high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) concentration).

Does Apple Cider Vinegar Reduce Inflammation?

There is no evidence that Apple Cider Vinegar is effective in treating Rheumatoid Arthritis in humans; never the less, the myth persists.

There is insufficient evidence for anyone to know for sure that AVC is effective at treating inflammation. The evidence that there is based on decades old animal research. One study based in rats in the 1980s actually found worse inflammatory outcomes, as measured by rheumatoid arthritis symptoms, in the group who consumed ACV.

According to Stanford Chiropractic Centre, benefits of apple cider vinegar for those with arthritis include:

Mineral deficiencies in the body can make joint pain worse. Because Apple Cider Vinegar contains the calcium, magnesium, potassium, and phosphorus your body needs, it helps as a supplement and therefore reduces pain.
The magnesium in apple cider vinegar helps bones absorb calcium, which is essential to bone strength.
Apple cider vinegar also contains antioxidants, beta-carotene, and acetic acid. Antioxidants block the damaging effects of free radicals, preventing the cell and tissue damage commonly found with degenerative conditions like arthritis.

Apple Cider Vinegar A Home Remedy for Type 2 Diabetes?

Although there does seem to be some evidence to support its use for diabetes, great care should be taken. Common problems with home remedies include a lack of instructions, often general information about dosage can be incorrect, and then there is a quality control issue. Lastly, there is a lack of information about potential side effects or contraindications with other medications, potentially causing harm if combined.

Summary

Apple cider vinegar is acidic, and some experts are concerned that drinking vinegar increases the acidity of your body, putting a strain on your kidneys and bones. Furthermore, it can decrease potassium levels in your body, and yet the myth persists, that ACV is a remedy. There is no credible scientific evidence that it increases alkalinity in the body, reduces inflammation or improves insulin sensitivity.

As with all home remedies, until it is sufficiently researched and the exact mechanism of action identified (with regards to inflammation), you are accepting the risk that it may be doing nothing or potentially be doing more harm than good.

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