6 Health Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar Debunked + Explained

By now, apple cider vinegar (ACV) has probably made its way into your life. It’s suggested on your meal plans, sworn by on influencer’s Instagram accounts, and pinned and repinned on the Pinterest boards of people you follow.

These promotions tout all sorts of health benefits of apple cider vinegar. Many claim that by using this pungent acid, it can help with everything from shedding pounds to curing the common cold, treating skin conditions, and revitalizing your hair.

Though some of these suggested uses ring true, the health benefits of apple cider vinegar aren’t all-encompassing. ACV isn’t necessarily the cure-all it’s made out to be. It’s time to set the record straight. Let’s start with how these apple cider vinegar uses have gained footing in the first place.

The History of Apple Cider Vinegar Uses

A research article from the Journal of Food Science breaks it down succinctly in their introduction:

”The earliest known use of vinegar dates to more than 10,000 years ago. References in the Old Testament and from Hippocrates indicate vinegar was used medicinally to manage wounds.

Sung Tse, who is credited with developing the field of forensic medicine in the 10th century in China, used sulfur and vinegar as hand washing agents to prevent infection. Early U.S. medical practitioners used vinegar to treat many ailments.”

The health benefits of apple cider vinegar aren’t all-encompassing.

It continues by breaking down the uses of vinegar as an antibacterial, to treat high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease, to add antioxidants to a diet, and to lower the effects of diabetes.

It’s no wonder that we hear claims for the myriad apple cider vinegar uses (and not just ACV but other types of vinegar, too) in our wellness routine when so many educated people from our past can vouch for it. But without the standard of modern-day science, these claims cannot be backed at face-value.

So, which health benefits of apple cider vinegar are legit and which are not really supported by evidence?


Myth Buster: What Are the Real Health Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar and Which Apple Cider Vinegar Uses Are Not Scientifically Supported?

When it comes to the health benefits of apple cider vinegar, specifically unfiltered, organic ACV with the mother, here’s what some research has to say:

1. TRUE: Improves Cardiovascular Health

Studies have proven that ACV can help with heart health and preventing one of the top causes of death in our country: cardiovascular diseases. So, when it comes to helping to prevent one in four deaths in the U.S., you can benefit by applying ACV into your treatment plan.
apple cider vinegar and weight loss

2. TRUE: Aids Digestion and Weight Loss

In humans, consumption of vinegar prior to a meal containing carbohydrates has been shown to reduce blood glucose response by approximately 20 to 30 percent.

There is also some evidence that vinegar consumption can potentially increase satiety. Therefore, individuals who are diabetic or who may be trying to lose weight may notice some benefit to consumption. (Consult your doctor.)

In animal studies specifically, acetic acid in ACV may promote fat loss. It was shown to reduce fat storage, increase fat burning, reduce appetite, and improve blood sugar and insulin response.

If you want to incorporate apple cider vinegar into your diet, about one to two tablespoons (15 to 30 ml) of apple cider vinegar per day is recommended to obtain full weight loss benefits.

For best results, mix with water and some lemon, and drink. You can also try adding it into your diet as a salad dressing by mixing it with olive oil and some basic seasonings.

3. TRUE: Chock Full of Antioxidants

Antioxidants are the substances that may protect your cells against the effects of free radicals and oxidative stress.

And as far as antioxidants go, the health benefits of apple cider vinegar ring true. This is attributed to ACV’s acetic acid content, as well as apple pectin and other phytochemicals such as polyphenolic compounds and flavonoids.

In other words, apple cider vinegar is chock full of antioxidants.

4. Myth? Excellent for Skin Care

As stated in most articles on the benefits of ACV, vinegar has been credited for helping rashes and acne. However, little evidence exists to prove these claims one way or the other.

One thing is for sure: if you do choose to try apple cider vinegar for skin care, be sure to dilute it and do your own research first so you don’t harm your skin or worsen an existing skin condition.

Looking for a legit skin care routine? This Is the Secret Hack for Beautiful Glowing Skin

5. TRUE: Contains Antibacterial Qualities

Highly diluted acetic acid, an active ingredient of household vinegar, has been shown to prevent infection and kill bacteria found in burn wounds.

The team from the University of Birmingham emphasize that people should not self-apply vinegar in the case of a burn and should go to the hospital instead. Because while applying diluted apple cider vinegar to a wound may stave off infection, it’s not a substitute for antibiotics, and it won’t cure an existing bacterial infection.
apple cider vinegar hair care

6. Myth? Great for Hair Care

As of yet, there hasn’t been any research directly testing the health benefits of apple cider vinegar for hair care but many people swear by it to cure dandruff and other scalp issues.

While it could help balance the pH levels of your scalp – which in turn can help with hair smoothness and strength – the benefits of apple cider vinegar for your hair have not been proven.

Still, many people use ACV as an affordable, natural hair rinse. If you want to try it for yourself, mix a few tablespoons of ACV with two to three cups of water and pour evenly over your scalp after washing and conditioning.

Massage gently and leave in for a few minutes before you rinse it out. You can also add a few drops of lavender essential oil.

Myths About the Health Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar: The Bottom Line

There are still huge gaps when it comes to research on the health benefits of apple cider vinegar. From the little evidence available, ACV could be useful for many people and is a good candidate for some experimentation if you’re interested in it.

At the very least, apple cider vinegar seems to be safe as long as you don’t take excessive amounts. You are your number one health advocate. So, if bringing ACV into your wellness or beauty routine sounds interesting to you, then try it!

Find out for yourself if it feels appropriate for your body. Start a log or a journal to document your journey, become more connected to your body through the experience, and always talk to your doctor before starting a new healthcare routine.



The Takeaway on the Health Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar and Apple Cider Vinegar Uses

In general, ACV could be effective in improving cardiovascular health and maintaining blood glucose levels to aid in weight loss. It is also filled with useful antioxidants which help reduce the impacts of external stress. It can also be used as a mild antibacterial for wound care, specifically burns.

Although many people claim that it helps with dandruff, scalp health, and acne or blemishes, there simply isn’t enough data to back that up.

That being said, you know more about what your body needs than you think. If apple cider vinegar has been calling to you, then you should try it! Note that not all apple cider vinegar is created equal. Look for a quality, organic option that

You know more about what your body needs than you think.

Always dilute ACV. Due to it’s high acetic acid content, it could damage skin and other sensitive organs like the esophagus. Dilute it in water and start with small doses – never exceeding a few tablespoons per day.

Let this knowledge empower you to make your own decisions about your health. Be informed, but most of all, pay attention to your body! What works for one person may not work for you. And what works for you might not be tried-and-true tested yet. Be safe and feel good!

All included information is not intended to treat or diagnose. The views expressed are those of the author and should be attributed solely to the author. For medical questions, please consult your healthcare provider.

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Teresa Adele

Teresa is a 200hr RYT, writer, and a certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach. As a teacher and coach, she focuses on self-love, body positivity, and embracing challenges. She loves writing about the science behind holistic healing modalities, creative sequencing, and making whole-body wellness more accessible for everybody.

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