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What Is Apple Cider Vinegar?

Apple Cider Vinegar also known as ACV is a type of vinegar which is a popular food ingredient for a range of salad dressings, vinaigrettes, marinades, chutneys and other food items but has also been touted as a weight loss and health support product. In addition, it is also commonly used for a variety of other useful applications such as a deodoriser, a substance to help remove dandruff and soothe a sore throat just to name a few. It has been a trending ingredient in the last couple of years and still remains popular as a multi purpose ingredient, sort of like sodium bicarb.

Where Does Apple Cider Vinegar Come From?

Apple Cider Vinegar is made from cider or apple must. Cider is a fermented alcoholic beverage which is made from the juice of apples while apple must is a freshly pressed juice which is made from all parts of the apple including seeds and stems. All types of apples can be used and the vinegar can be pasteurised or unpasteurised. It’s easy to make at home and simply requires a long fermentation process, whereby bacteria turns sugars into alcohol and then other bacteria turn alcohol into vinegar.

Apple Cider Vinegar Benefits

ACV is often used for a variety of different household and cosmetic purposes such as removing odours, cleaning, clearing skin and to soothe sunburns, but has also been shown to have a variety of health benefits, mostly in relation to glucose control. Apple Cider Vinegar may be able to decrease the speed at which glucose enters the bloodstream1, which is seen as beneficial for diabetics wanting to improve their insulin sensitivity. It is thought that this effect is mediated by its ability to slow down gastric emptying or the rate at which food leaves the stomach2.

There have also been studies which examine Apple Cider Vinegar’s effects on blood lipids and cholesterol. In mice fed high cholesterol diets, ACV supplementation was shown to lower blood lipids, triglycerides and VLDL3; an unhealthy lipid. It is thought that the ingredient may also exert antioxidant effects.

Apple Cider Vinegar Benefits for Bodybuilding

Perhaps the most common nutritional use of Apple Cider Vinegar however is for fat and weight loss. It has long been traditionally used in North African and other cultures to help achieve weight loss4. One study looking at vinegar supplementation found that weight was lost in a dose dependent manner with those consuming 30mL’s a day losing about 2lbs. In addition supplementation resulted in lower BMI, visceral fat area, waist circumference and serum triglycerides5. Another animal study showed that vinegar consumption can upregulate the expression of genes of fatty acid oxidation enzymes, which can essentially suppress fat accumulation6.

Apple Cider Vinegar Side Effects, Negatives & Safety

Apple Cider Vinegar has very few side effects if taken at respectable doses, however no long term studies on different doses have been conducted. It was shown that a cup (250mL) of Apple Cider Vinegar a day may lead to certain negative side effects such tooth erosion4, lowered potassium levels7 and osteoporosis7. There has also been an incidence in which an ACV pill was caught in a person’s throat which lead to oesophageal burns8.

Apple Cider Vinegar Recommended Dosage & Ingredient Timing

Apple Cider Vinegar has been shown to be effective for weight loss at doses as low as 15mL and 30mL5. As such, there’s no real need to drink any more than that. Ideally you want to stay away from taking extremely high doses over 100mL, to prevent development of any of the aforementioned side effects. As for the timing, one can take Apple Cider Vinegar anytime throughout the day, but as it is considered a good appetite suppressant, you might want to take it before main meals or just after meal, as it has also been shown to promote satiety or fullness. Another good tip is to always brush and rinse after consuming the vinegar as it is highly acidic and may be damaging to the teeth.

Apple Cider Vinegar Supplements

ACV is generally available as a standalone supplement, but future applications would see it be combined in fat loss support supplements or fat burners for best effect.

Stacking Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple Cider Vinegar can be stacked with most other supplements, but since it is most often used as a fat loss supplement, it’s best to combine it with other similar products such as fat burners, fat loss proteins and fat metabolisers.

1. Brighenti F, et al. Effect of neutralized and native vinegar on blood glucose and acetate responses to a mixed meal in healthy subjects. Eur J Clin Nutr. (1995)
2. Hlebowicz J, et al. Effect of apple cider vinegar on delayed gastric emptying in patients with type 1 diabetes mellitus: a pilot study. BMC Gastroenterol. (2007)
3. Nazıroğlu M, Güler M, Özgül C, Saydam G, Küçükayaz M, Sözbir E. ‘Apple cider vinegar modulates serum lipid profile, erythrocyte, kidney, and liver membrane oxidative stress in ovariectomized mice fed high cholesterol.’ J Membr Biol. 2014 Aug;247(8):667-73.
4. Gambon DL, Brand HS, Veerman EC. ‘Unhealthy weight loss. Erosion by apple cider vinegar.’ Ned Tijdschr Tandheelkd. 2012 Dec;119(12):589-91.
5. Kondo, Tomoo, et al.; Kishi, Mikiya; Fushimi, Takashi; Ugajin, Shinobu; Kaga, Takayuki (2009). "Vinegar Intake Reduces Body Weight, Body Fat Mass, and Serum Triglyceride Levels in Obese Japanese Subjects". Bioscience, Biotechnology, and Biochemistry 73 (8): 1837–1843.
6. Tomoo Kondo; Mikiya Kishi; Takashi Fushimi; Takayuki Kaga (2009), Acetic Acid Upregulates the Expression of Genes for Fatty Acid Oxidation Enzymes in Liver To Suppress Body Fat Accumulation, J. Agric. Food Chem. 57 (13): 5982–5986,
7. Lhotta, Karl; Höfle, Günther; Gasser, Rudolf; Finkenstedt, Gerd (1998). "Hypokalemia, Hyperreninemia and Osteoporosis in a Patient Ingesting Large Amounts of Cider Vinegar". Nephron 80 (2): 242–3.
8. Hill, L., et al. (2005). "Esophageal Injury by Apple Cider Vinegar Tablets and Subsequent Evaluation of Products". Journal of the American Dietetic Association 105 (7): 1141–1144.
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