Even if you haven’t been down the rabbit hole of nutrition trends, you’ve likely heard about how people have been consuming apple cider vinegar for its health benefits. While there is some evidence that shows taking apple cider vinegar as a dietary supplement can support your health, that evidence is limited and researchers are still working to understand these findings.
Because many benefits of apple cider vinegar have been blown out of proportion (for example, there is no evidence to support that apple cider vinegar contains gut-healthy prebiotics as some have claimed), people may be supplementing with this acidic liquid more than they should. If you’ve been taking ACV regularly, you should be aware of some of the more lesser-known side effects of consuming it. Read on to learn more, and for more on how to eat healthy, don’t miss 7 Healthiest Foods to Eat Right Now.
ShutterstockConsuming even small amounts of apple cider vinegar—less than an ounce—may cause some digestive distress, as shown by one study. In a controlled trial published in the International Journal of Obesity, participants either consumed a drink containing 0.88 ounces of apple cider vinegar or a non-vinegar control drink alongside a mixed breakfast. The upside is that those who consumed the ACV drink reported a lower appetite, but the downside is that they also had significantly greater feelings of nausea and indigestion than those who skipped the ACV.
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ShutterstockThose with diabetes may have heard that taking apple cider vinegar may help manage blood sugar levels and recent research backs that claim up. A 2018 Journal of Evidence-Based Integrative Medicine analysis looked at 12 independent studies to determine the side effects of taking apple cider vinegar. The researchers noted that vinegar has been found to slow gastric emptying, thereby slowing the digestion of complex carbohydrates and consequently flattening the peak of postmeal blood glucose. However, the researchers underscore that current evidence is still insufficient to provide definitive proof of the effectiveness of using vinegar to manage diabetes, so it is always best to work with a doctor to come up with a treatment plan.
ShutterstockIt’s widely known that acidic drinks can degrade tooth enamel. And that holds true for both unhealthy drinks like soda but also healthy drinks like sparkling water. While these carbonated beverages may erode tooth enamel due to their high levels of carbonic acid and citric acid, some studies have found that acetic acid—the predominate acid in ACV—may also have the same effect. A Clinical Laboratory lab study found that when enamel from wisdom teeth was immersed in different kinds of vinegar, the teeth lost anywhere between 1% and 20% minerals after just 4 hours. As this study was performed in a lab and may not directly translate to the same findings if done in a human mouth, it does show that there is an erosive potential of different vinegar varieties on tooth enamel.
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ShutterstockWhile the focus on taking apple cider vinegar as a supplement tends to be on detoxification, there is one side effect that has a bit more science to back it up. Some studies that looked at how taking ACV can affect human health have found that the ingredient may improve cholesterol levels. One animal study found that when animals consumed vinegar for four weeks, they displayed reduced triglyceride levels. The researchers noted that this may have been a side effect of the weight loss the animals experienced during the trial and that ACV may not directly impact cholesterol levels. Separately, a more recent animal study hypothesizes that ACV’s cholesterol-lowering powers may be linked to its high concentration of antioxidant polyphenol compounds.
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