Apple cider vinegar, or cider vinegar, is a food vinegar made from cider or apple must.
Medium to light amber in color when unpasteurized or raw, it contains “vinegar mother,” a filamentous sediment that gives the vinegar a cloudy, thick appearance, consisting of a true bacterial colony.
Apple cider vinegar is widely used in cooking to dress raw vegetable salads, marinate meats or fish, in vinaigrettes, as a food preservative and in chutneys.

Apple cider vinegar boasts several healthful properties, including antimicrobial and antioxidant effects. In addition, some recent studies suggest it may offer health benefits, such as promoting weight loss, reducing cholesterol, lowering blood sugar levels, and improving symptoms of diabetes.

Apple vinegar: how to use it and quantities

The best way to incorporate apple cider vinegar into the dietary regimen is to use it in cooking. It is a simple addition to foods as a condiment. For some people it is thirst quenching when diluted in water (1 teaspoon in a large glass of water) and drunk as a beverage. Dietitians and nutritionists recommend using organic, unfiltered apple cider vinegar.

Common dosages range from 1-2 teaspoons to 1-2 tablespoons (15-30 mL) per day.

It is best to start with small doses and avoid taking large amounts. Too much vinegar can cause side effects, including erosion of tooth enamel and potential drug interactions.

Properties of apple cider vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is produced through a two-step process. Crushed apples ferment, the sugars are converted into alcohol. Next, starter bacteria are added for a second fermentation to convert the alcohol into acetic acid, the main active compound in vinegar.

Acetic acid gives vinegar its lingering odor and sour taste. Researchers believe this acid is responsible for the health benefits of apple cider vinegar. Cider vinegars contain 5-6% acetic acid.

Antibacterial and antifungal properties

Apple cider vinegar can help attack pathogens, including bacteria. Traditionally, apple cider vinegar has been used for cleaning and disinfection, treatment of onychomycosis (fingernail and toenail fungus), lice, warts, and ear infections.

Vinegar is also a food preservative and studies show that it inhibits bacteria such as E. coli from growing and spoiling in food.

Glycemia and diabetes

To date, one of the most compelling applications of vinegar is in the treatment of type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is characterized by elevated blood sugar levels caused by insulin resistance or the inability of the pancreas to produce insulin. Apple cider vinegar contains chromium, which can alter blood insulin levels. For this reason, it is recommended that people with diabetes mellitus type 1 consult their physician before making significant and systematic use of apple cider vinegar in the diet. On the other hand, the beneficial effect of apple cider vinegar benefits those with hyperglycemia or type 2 diabetes mellitus. It does not block the absorption of starch 100%, but significantly reduces its entry into the blood by moderating blood sugar.

However, people without diabetes may also benefit from keeping blood sugar levels in the normal range, as some researchers believe that high blood sugar levels are a major cause of aging and various chronic diseases. Although the most effective and healthiest way to regulate blood sugar levels through diet is to avoid refined carbohydrates and sugar, apple cider vinegar may have a beneficial effect.

Research suggests that vinegar offers the following benefits for blood sugar and insulin levels:

    • Vinegar can improve insulin sensitivity by 19-34% during a high-carbohydrate meal and significantly reduce blood sugar and insulin response: in a small study of 5 healthy people, vinegar reduced blood sugar by 31.4% after eating 50 grams of white bread.
    • Numerous scientific studies have shown that vinegar can improve insulin function and lower blood sugar levels after meals.

It remains critical that people do not replace medical treatment with similar products. If you are taking medication to lower blood sugar levels, consult your doctor before personally increasing vinegar consumption.

Weight loss

Apple cider vinegar contains only about three calories per tablespoon and may help people lose weight. It is unclear whether the mechanism hypothetically responsible for this property may be chemical, metabolic or nervous in nature. Researchers suggest that apple cider vinegar may activate certain genes involved in fat breakdown.

The only study that attempted to test possible slimming effects of apple cider vinegar was developed in Japan. Researchers examined 175 obese, healthy people who were divided into two groups following a similar dietary regimen: one took apple cider vinegar, the other water every day for 12 weeks. At the end of the study, those who used vinegar lost slightly more weight than those who consumed only water. On average, the group consuming apple cider vinegar lost 450-900g over the 3-month trial. However, the weight was recovered abruptly after discontinuation.

That said, simply adding or subtracting individual foods or ingredients rarely has a noticeable effect on weight. It is the entire diet or lifestyle that creates long-term weight loss.

Skin care remedy

Apple cider vinegar is a common remedy for skin conditions such as dry skin and eczema. The skin is, of course, slightly acidic. Topical use of apple cider vinegar may help rebalance the skin’s natural pH, improving the skin’s protective barrier. On the other hand, alkaline soaps and detergents could irritate eczema, worsening symptoms.

Given its antibacterial properties, apple cider vinegar could, in theory, help prevent skin infections related to eczema and other diseases. Apple cider vinegar diluted in a facial cleanser or toner could act as an antibacterial and reduce skin spots and discolorations. Before applying vinegar to the skin (never apply pure vinegar) consult your dermatologist, especially if you have damaged and hyper sensitive skin. Topical use undiluted may cause skin burns.