Apple Cider Vinegar for Digestion and Detox: Key Benefits and the Easiest Way to Supplement
Apple cider vinegar is a household staple - you likely have a bottle in your pantry right now. It has long been used as a home remedy for a variety of ailments, like sore throats. But did you know that this type of vinegar has loads of benefits - including weight loss, detox, improved digestion, and more? Here’s what apple cider vinegar can do for you and how to get the best results.
What is Apple Cider Vinegar?
Apple cider vinegar is a type of vinegar made from crushed apples. The juice of the apples is then mixed with yeast and the yeast eats the sugars in the juice, turning them into alcohol. Then, bacteria turn the alcohol in the juice into acetic acid. In other words, the apple juice is fermented. This process is why apple cider vinegar has such an intense smell and sour flavor.
Some people also note the importance of “the mother” when talking about apple cider vinegar. “The mother” is the cloudy haze you can see floating in the vinegar, and it's the result of the yeast and bacteria. Some people believe that the benefits of apple cider vinegar are a result of “the mother,” as it is essentially a probiotic, containing good bacteria, enzymes, and proteins. A good quality apple cider vinegar contains antioxidants, amino acids, and potassium.
Generally, people keep apple cider vinegar on hand for cooking, baking, cleaning, or for quick home remedies to low-level ailments. Within the last decade, however, apple cider vinegar has gotten a new reputation for its many health properties - making it even more useful.
Apple Cider Vinegar Detox
Some people use apple cider vinegar as a way to detox, removing toxins from their bodies. You might choose to do a detox when you need a fresh start, like to help kickstart a new diet. This is a great way to reset both your body and your eating habits.
Some of the benefits of an apple cider vinegar detox include:
- Increased potassium
- Increased enzyme consumption
- Weight control
- Immune system support
- Better digestion
- Removal of toxins from the body
- Better pH balance
- Calmer, healthier skin
Apple Cider Vinegar for Healthy Digestion and Anti-Bloat
People find themselves feeling bloated all the time - it’s a normal part of eating and digesting your food. However, bloating can be uncomfortable and in some cases abnormal. Most of the time, bloating is caused by a buildup of gas in the intestines or stomach as a result of the bacteria in your body fermenting the carbohydrates in your food. This creates two gases - methane or hydrogen.
You might become bloated from eating too fast, too much, or foods that are hard to digest. Bloating can also occur as a result of other, more severe gut issues. While there’s no direct cure for bloating, the feeling that comes along with it can be really uncomfortable and even painful.
Apple cider vinegar can help with bloating, depending on the cause. Since it’s naturally acidic, it helps increase the levels of acidity in the stomach for people who have naturally low levels. The increased stomach acid can then aid with faster digestion, and in turn, help prevent bloating and gas. Apple cider vinegar can also kill bacteria in the stomach and intestines since it is an antimicrobial substance. If you have excess bacteria, especially in the upper intestines, the vinegar can help get rid of the bacteria, stopping the release of gas, and ultimately leading to less bloating.
Apple Cider Vinegar for Glucose Management
It’s incredibly important to properly manage our blood sugar, as a lack of control can cause blood sugar levels to be chronically impacted, leading to more severe issues. While it can’t cure these severe issues once they occur, apple cider vinegar can reduce the glycemic index of food, effectively aiding in glucose management.
Several studies have covered the effects of apple cider vinegar on glucose. In one 2004 study, participants were given orange juice and a bagel with butter. After eating the meal, they were given either 20 grams of apple cider vinegar or a placebo. The people who took the apple cider vinegar had significantly lower post-meal blood glucose levels than the people with the placebo.
A study done in 2007 found that people who took apple cider vinegar before going to bed had more normal blood sugar levels upon waking up than those who did not take apple cider vinegar. Another study in rats found that apple cider vinegar lowered their A1C and LDL levels.
Apple Cider Vinegar Supplementation for Weight Loss
Weight loss is one of the most common uses of apple cider vinegar today. It’s likely effective because consuming it makes people feel full, which leads to eating less, ultimately leading to weight loss. Apart from promoting satiety, apple cider vinegar also reduces insulin levels and lowers blood sugar, which may also impact weight.
In one study, participants who took apple cider vinegar with a high-carb meal felt increasingly full, which led them to eat 200 to 275 fewer calories during the rest of their day. Since there are approximately 3,500 calories in one pound of fat, a calorie deficit like the one the participants experienced would lead to a pound of weight loss within 12 to 17 days. Over time, this deficit adds up to multiple pounds lost.
In another study, this one on 175 people with weight issues, taking apple cider vinegar daily caused a reduction in both belly fat and weight. The amount of apple cider vinegar consumed also impacted the results. People who took 1 tablespoon of vinegar lost 2.6 pounds, while people who took 2 tablespoons lost 3.7 pounds.
Better Heart Health with Apple Cider Vinegar
Heart health is complex, with both biological and lifestyle factors coming into play. There is some evidence that apple cider vinegar supplementation may help decrease risk factors for more serious heart issues, thus improving heart health.
Studies have shown that there’s a link between consuming vinegar and lower triglyceride and cholesterol levels. Other studies have shown that blood pressure is reduced as a result of consuming apple cider vinegar, which is important for both the heart and kidneys. In a Harvard study, a woman who ate salad dressings containing vinegar had a reduced risk of more severe heart health conditions.
Healthier Skin and Apple Cider Vinegar
The acetic acid in apple cider vinegar has antifungal and antibacterial properties, which are great for your skin. It may help to address acne, wrinkles, and skin irritation, like sunburns or eczema. People use apple cider vinegar topically in their face wash, toners, and spot treatments.
Using apple cider vinegar as a toner specifically can help to tighten the cells, strengthen the skin, and prevent wrinkles from taking shape. Using it as a toner can also aid with removing any built up oil and bacteria. Its antimicrobial properties can destroy baceria on the surface of the skin, helping reduce acne. This same process can help remove dead skin cells, chemically exfoliating the face and making room for new skin cells to flourish.
When Should You Take Apple Cider Vinegar?
According to Thomas DeLauer, celebrity trainer and health expert, apple cider vinegar is great to take all the time, but there are three situations in which it’s extra beneficial.
In one study, people traveling from the United States to Israel experienced a big shift in their gut bacteria during the long journey. This negative shift could be caused by various aspects of traveling - the stress of the airport, airplane food, anticipation, or other reasons. Whatever the cause, most people experience some amount of stress while they’re traveling, and that can be damaging for your gut. It can both harm the balance of bacteria in the gut, as well as cause inflammation in the body and the gut.
Apple cider vinegar supports your existing gut bacteria in two ways. First, it contains pepsin, a prebiotic fiber that feeds the bacteria in your intestines. Second, the acetic acid in vinegar changes the pH of your gut - a change that makes pepsin more available to your body. This means that when you consume apple cider vinegar and change your gut pH, you’re also making the pepsin from the vinegar (and other foods you've eaten) easier to digest for your gut bacteria. This allows the good bacteria in your gut to grow better and break down the pepsin into butyric acid, a short chain fatty acid. Butyric acid is direct fuel for the gut and essentially heals the cells of your gut.
In simple terms, when you take apple cider vinegar before and after a flight, you’re fueling your gut and protecting your gut bacteria.
Apple cider won’t break your fast. In fact, it improves the results of your fast in several ways. One study found that acetic acid in a fasted state upregulates a receptor protein called PPAR-alpha. This receptor protein is normally activated when you’re fasting, but taking apple cider vinegar increases your levels of the protein even more. PPAR-alpha allows the body to release and create more uncoupling proteins which turn white fat into brown fat. In other words, it helps the body burn more fat.
Additional benefits of consuming apple cider vinegar while fasting:
- PPAR-alpha has anti-aging benefits.
- PPAR-alpha stimulates more ketones for people on the keto diet.
- Acetic acid in apple cider vinegar upregulates AMPK (an energy sensor) in the body, which tells your body to start burning stored body fat and activate autophagy, a cellular recycling process.
- Acetic acid also turns AMPK down in the brain, making you feel less hungry, while your body burns more fat.
After Eating a Carbohydrates-Heavy Meal
Eating a lot of carbohydrates can cause a spike in your blood sugar, which can in turn cause weight gain. The acetic acid in apple cider vinegar drives down glucose, or blood sugar. With less glucose in the bloodstream, more of it stays in the gut and continues to pass through you, doing its job without a spike.
To support this, a European study found that consuming acetic acid after a carb-heavy meal led to a 34% decrease in glucose. By taking vinegar after a carb-heavy meal, you can essentially control your body’s response to the carbs and mitigate their effects on your body. Apple cider vinegar helps your body metabolize and excrete the carbs better.
How to Take Apple Cider Vinegar
In general, people should take one to two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar diluted in water. It’s best to take it before meals or before going to sleep, as this is when it does the best work on your blood sugar. You should avoid taking undiluted apple cider vinegar, as it’s very acidic and can be irritating for the throat.
With that said, it’s well known that apple cider vinegar has a very sour, bitter flavor on its own. For many people, even diluting it in water doesn’t help. Others try to cover the flavor of the apple cider vinegar in smoothies or protein shakes. This distinct flavor can be hard to get used to, which makes it hard for people to be consistent with their apple cider vinegar supplementation. Yet consistency is key to enjoying the bevy of long-term benefits.
Herbatech’s apple cider vinegar gummies don’t have this problem - in fact, you’ll have to stop yourself from eating more than the recommended dose! The delicious apple-flavored gummies can be taken with or without food - though it’s best to take them after meals or before bed for maximum results. You just need two per day - simple! No more choking down diluted apple cider vinegar water. Just chew a couple of gummies thoroughly, and you’re set.
Remember, apple cider vinegar is a natural product full of potassium, antioxidants, amino acids, and acetic acid. It can help with many aspects of the body - from the skin on the outside to the digestion, heart, and gut health inside. Whether you want to maximize your fasting results and detox, regulate your gut during travel, or mitigate a carb-heavy meal and improve weight loss, apple cider vinegar can support your goals.