Apple cider vinegar has been touted as a cure-all for decades. Vinegar, which comes from the Latin for “sour wine,” has been with us for thousands of years. Most people consume it somewhere in their meal plan for the week — if not every day — often as part of salad dressing or sauce. Apple cider vinegar contains acetic acid, vitamin C, and B vitamins. Acetic acid can increase the body’s absorption of important minerals from the foods we eat. I’ve seen claims that it can do everything from halt hiccups to whiten teeth, and even banish dandruff. If it’s capable of all those things, there is some solid research to back up apple cider vinegar as a healthy elixir, as long as you use it correctly.One promising benefit: It seems to help regulate blood sugar. A study published in Diabetes Care looked at men and women with type 2 diabetes. The researchers found that when the participants downed two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar before bed with a snack (one ounce of cheese), they had lower blood sugar levels the next morning, compared to when they ate the same bedtime snack paired with two tablespoons of water.
Another study published in the same journal compared the effects of apple cider vinegar on healthy adults, people with pre-diabetes, and people with type 2 diabetes.
Study participants in all three groups had better blood glucose readings when they consumed less than an ounce of apple cider vinegar with a high-carb meal (a white bagel with butter and orange juice), compared to when they the had the same meal and drank a placebo.
People with pre-diabetes improved their blood glucose levels with vinegar by nearly half, while people with diabetes cut their blood glucose concentrations by 25%.
Apple cider vinegar may also be a boon to digestive health, based on the results of a study done on mice with ulcerative colitis. The researchers found that when acetic acid was added to their drinking water, they had higher levels of good bacteria in their guts, such as Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria, and reduced symptoms of the gastrointestinal disease. While the evidence behind apple cider vinegar seems promising, there are a few things to keep in mind before you start downing the stuff. First off, I don’t recommend drinking straight vinegar. Undiluted shots have been known to wear away tooth enamel, and damage the esophagus. Also, too much apple cider vinegar may lower potassium levels in the body.