“Doctor, my friend told me I should drink apple cider vinegar to lower my blood pressure, is that true?”
I get this question about once per week. Here is my confession: I cringe when I get this question. Until doing some research for this post, I had no idea if it’s a good idea to drink apple cider vinegar for health.
I first heard about taking apple cider vinegar from one of my patients when I started practice 10 years ago. I trained in internal medicine. Like most physicians I received no formal training in complementary remedies. We receive very little training in nutrition as well. After learning Reiki, and developing a real sense of holistic care, I have started taking an interest in tying diet into my recommendations.
I have been aware of patients doing this remedy, but if a patient needs treatment for something like high blood pressure or diabetes, I will recommend appropriate medical treatment, which may include some changes in nutrition.
I did a search on two of my favorite sources for information. In a previous post, I discussed consults from Dr. Google. Search engines are amazing, but when it comes to information on health related topics, I want to make sure my source is safe and trusted. If my information source is commercial, I want to understand what they are selling and why.
I rely on PubMed to search journal articles. This website is open to everyone, but the information is coming from research articles and geared towards other researchers so the information is not written for consumers. I was able to find about 6 articles addressing health benefits of apple cider vinegar.
One of my other favorite sources is Nutrition Facts which is a great source of information and is non-commercial. I was able to find several relevant video post on this topic there.
Here is a brief summary of what I found.
Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar
“…vinegar ingestion appears to enhance sugar disposal by lowering insulin resistance, which is the cause of type 2 diabetes, and indeed, vinegar ingestion does appear to improve the action of insulin in diabetics.” ¹
Apple Cider Vinegar may help with blood sugar control in diabetics, but for many of my patients, there will be so many other health interventions we need to address, I’m not likely to make this recommendation.
Risks of Apple Cider Vinegar
ACV [apple cider vinegar] exhibited toxicity even at concentrations as low as 0.7%²
This particular study found that apple cider vinegar can kill yeast, but even in a very diluted form, could prove harmful to living cells.
Esophageal burns have been caused by use of vinegar tablets (also see www.nutritionfacts.org)
There are likely thousands of online posts concerning the benefits of apple cider vinegar. I’m thankful that I’ve had a chance to decide how I will advise patients. There likely is some benefit to apple cider vinegar, but to be on the safe side, it’s probably best to use it as a condiment, and avoid consuming it by itself. If you are being treated for high blood pressure, it won’t likely replace your current medication.
Thanks for visiting. I am so thankful that this blog is giving me space to dig deeper into these kind of issues.
Also, I welcome comments if there is any topic you would like me to address.
- Gopal J, Anthonydhason V, Muthu M, Gansukh E, Jung S, Chul S, Iyyakkannu S. Authenticating apple cider vinegar’s home remedy claims: antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral properties and cytotoxicity aspect. Nat Prod Res. 2017 Dec 11:1-5.