Investigating The Health Hype Around Apple Cider Vinegar

Some say it will help you lose weight. Others promise it will brighten, tighten and better your skin. But, what does apple cider vinegar really do?

Investigating The Health Hype Around Apple Cider Vinegar

by Lucy Morris |
Published on

A litre of apple cider vinegar – or ACV as the Goop set call it – may cost mere pocket change but supposedly (if you believe the hype) it will deliver untold health benefits. Weight loss, bright skin, acne cures and shiny, strong hair have all been promised, but can this grocery good really deliver?

Though adding a droplet of ACV to your shampoo may do little-to-nothing for your hair, it’s key to note that all kinds of vinegar (apple or otherwise) have an active ingredient called acetic acid. Whether pasteurised, unpasteurised, organic or flavoured, all types of vinegar contain antioxidants, which promote good health, decrease inflammation and help fight disease. But, for some untold reason, this store cupboard standby gets all the press. Using the World Wide Web to its best ability, we investigate…

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What Is Apple Cider Vinegar?

Stupid question gets stupid answer: it’s a vinegar made from the juice of apples. It’s amber coloured and can be purchased from health food stores and supermarkets for somewhere between £3-15.

What Are The Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar’?

So what is apple cider vinegar good for? Supposedly it decreases bloating, increases the benefits of vitamins and minerals in your diet and promotes weight loss, as the vinegar counteracts the enzymes in your stomach, so your body doesn’t absorb all the calories00547-X/fulltext){href='' target='_blank' rel='noopener noreferrer'} in carbs you’ve eaten. Blogs promise that it dilutes sugar-highs and sugar lows, that it will keep you feeling full for longer and help your muscles recover from exercise. People also think it can lower blood pressure, stop bad breath, work as an antibacterial agent, balance the body’s pH levels and make it more alkaline and stop heartburn.

What apple cider vinegar won’t do is clean dirty open wounds (remember it’s an acid, and that will hurt like hell and probably create an infection), whiten teeth (instead it will erode the enamel), relieve sunburn, cure acne or detoxify your body.

What is Apple Cider Vinegar’s Used for?

Some people suggest dabbing it on cotton wool to use as a facial toner and topical cleanser to dry out spots, but this can be quite harsh on the skin if you’re sensitive or the pore is infected and open. Others recommend adding a dash to water before you exercise to act as an antidote to lactic acid and combat mid-workout exhaustion. Though let’s be honest, it's most commonly used in cooking as a marinated or salad dressing.

What Vitamins Are In Apple Cider Vinegar?

Though pectin, biotin, folic, niacin and and pantothenic acid are commonly found in apple cider vinegar, most people turn to it for vitamins B1, B2, B6 and C. These vitamins help reduce digestion problems, boost the immune system, increase energy keep bones and skin healthy, and help fight memory loss.

Can Apple Cider Vinegar Treat Acne?

Sadly, apple cider vinegar won’t cure your acne. In fact, the acid might aggravate open wounds and irritate your skin more.

What Happens When You Put It In Your Hair as a detangler?

Think about it: it’s vinegar so it can act as a de-gunker. It will cut through your product buildup and leave your hair feeling smoother and softer. People recommend spritzing your hair with it before shampooing.

What’s It Do To Your Blood Sugar Levels?

In a nutshell, apple cider vinegar should level out your sugar highs and lows. It will increase your insulin sensitivity and help lower blood glucose levels when you’ve eaten a lot of sugar and carbs. This should explain why it’s a popular elixir with people suffering from pre-diabetes.

Can You Use Apple Cider Vinegar As A Toner?

Yes, but tread carefully as sensitive skin can find the acid too stringent. Start by dabbing it as a watered down topical treatment and see if your skin becomes more or less inflamed by the solution. But, do not, DO NOT, use it on spots unless you want to make your skin worse.

Can It Actually Treat A UTI?

The internet is full of mixed messages because one side says that consuming apple cider vinegar could increase the acidic environment of your urinary tract, which discourages the growth of the bacterias that cause UTIs. But, the flip side says there is nothing worse that consuming ACV when you have a UTI as the acid will exacerbate the symptoms and actually create a more violently burning sensation. So, don’t even think about drinking or bathing in the vinegar to relieve symptoms.

Can You Take Apple Cider Vinegar For A Diet?

Not on its own. However, it will make you feel more full, and it will help reduce your calorie intake from carbs, which in turn may help you lose weight. Though it may make you feel full faster and will stop your body from digesting all the carbohydrates you’ve consumed, it requires having several tablespoons of the stuff on a regular basis and eating a considered diet. No miracles here.

Do People Really Use It To Help IBS?

Yes, they do. As there has been a conflation of the ideas that eating a low-FODMAP (low-fermentable oligo-di-monosaccharides and polyols) diet will help manage IBS symptoms and the fact that apple cider vinegar is low-FODMAP people think that adding ACV to their diet may help. But, TBH there is no scientific proof to back this up.

Will Apple Cider Vinegar Treat Bloating?

You’re in luck, because apple cider vinegar will reduce the feeling of the bloat as well as any gassiness. A little teaspoon of this potion diluted in water may help target heartburn as well.

Can You Use Expired Apple Cider Vinegar?

It essentially never expires. Obviously, it depends on how you store your apple cider vinegar and whether it is pasteurised or not, but the very nature of it means that it’s self-preserving. Though, it’s probs best to avoid any that are 10 or more years old because the flavour may be compromised.

These Are The Best Homemade Apple Cider Vinegar Food And Drink Recipes On Pinterest…

Hawaiian Apple Cider Vinegar Cocktail


A zippy, sun-kissed detoxing drink to kick off your day with.

Perfect Vegan Pancakes

Fluffy pancakes to give you that Sunday feeling every day.

Apple Pecan Feta Spinach Salad

A super simple lunch box recipe that ticks your greens and ACV boxes.

Sweet Potato And Chickpea Stew

Filling, budget-friendly and quick to make. Win-win.

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Follow Lucy on Instagram @lucyalicemorris

This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

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