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people who should try apple cider vinegar: making acv drink

Who Can Benefit The Most From Apple Cider Vinegar?

Few elixirs rival the multifaceted prowess of apple cider vinegar. From promoting healthy blood sugar to firing up digestion to supporting weight management, ACV can be an ally for all sorts of people with all sorts of health needs and goals. 

Could you benefit from this pungent liquid? It’s highly likely! Here, experts break down who might consider adding apple cider vinegar to their wellness routine, plus how to get the best results.

How Does Apple Cider Vinegar Work?

Apple cider vinegar is a type of vinegar made from fermented apple cider. When the apple cider undergoes fermentation, yeast and bacteria inside the apples turn the sugars into alcohol and then into vinegar that contains beneficial compounds, explains Dr. Josh Axe, D.C., D.N.M., C.N.S., a doctor of natural medicine and the co-founder of Ancient Nutrition.

At the heart of ACV’s benefits for digestion, appetite control, and more is its rich composition of acetic acid, enzymes, probiotics, and polyphenols, explains Axe. These bioactive compounds synergize to assist in digestive and metabolic processes, including a balanced production of stomach acid and enhanced sensitivity to insulin.

Here’s a quick look at ACV’s key compounds—and the various ways in which they support health:

  • Acetic acid: This is the primary component of vinegar and the one that research suggests may modulate carbohydrate metabolism, contributing to improved insulin sensitivity and reduced postprandial glucose levels. In other words, it can help attenuate blood sugar spikes following meals, possibly leading to steady energy and fewer cravings for sweets or stimulants as quick “pick-me-ups.”
  • Enzymes and probiotics: Apple cider vinegar’s ‘mother’—a cloudy sediment containing beneficial bacteria and enzymes—houses a treasure trove of probiotics and enzymes that assist in gut health. Studies indicate that probiotics present in ACV, such as Lactobacillus and Acetobacter strains, may promote gut microbiota diversity, which is linked to enhanced gastrointestinal function. 
  • Polyphenols: These antioxidants, including flavonoids and phenolic acids, exert potent antioxidant effects and combat oxidative stress. The polyphenols in ACV (like gallic acid, catechins, and epicatechin) may contribute to ACV’s cardioprotective properties by promoting healthy cholesterol levels and lipid profiles.

ACV is used in cooking and as a natural remedy for various health issues. Popular ways to use it include adding a tablespoon or two to juice or salad dressings, although some choose to simply take it by mouth with some water, just like a traditional supplement (more best practices for that later).

Who Can Benefit The Most from ACV?

1. People With Blood Sugar Concerns

For people grappling with blood sugar fluctuations, ACV can be a stabilizing remedy. “ACV helps mitigate post-prandial glucose spikes, or surges in blood sugar following meals,” says naturopathic doctor Dr. Chelsea Azarcon, N.M.D. Research has also shown it to help lower fasting blood glucose levels.

ACV aids in managing blood sugar levels by slowing gastric emptying and enhancing satiety,  making it particularly supporting for those with concerns about metabolic health and weight management, she explains.

2. People Struggling with Indigestion and Heartburn

ACV is also commonly used as a soothing tonic for indigestion, offering some people respite from gastrointestinal woes, including heartburn. 

Azarcon suggests that ACV’s pH-balancing properties and probiotic potential may help alleviate upper GI issues, such as discomfort stemming from low stomach acid. Plus, because fermented ACV contains probiotics, it introduces beneficial bacteria into your gut microbiome, potentially assisting in gut lining integrity and other functions.

Read More: The Right Type Of Gut Health Supplement For Every Goal

Anecdotal evidence underscores ACV’s ability to manage digestive complaints, although study results have been somewhat mixed and limited. Overall, it seems that incorporating ACV to improve digestive comfort comes with little risk, so it’s worth trying!

3. People Seeking Weight-Management Support

If you’re pursuing weight loss, ACV may be a valuable ally, as it stimulates the breakdown of fats for energy and can help manage appetite by slowing gastric emptying, or the rate at which food exits the stomach, according to Azarcon. 

It can be especially helpful for increasing satiety (fullness) when taken with “white” or refined carbs, such as bread, due to how it slows sugar absorption into the blood, suggests Axe. As mentioned above, steadier blood sugar is associated with fewer cravings, making it easier to stick to a healthy diet.

One study, although small, found that drinking vinegar with meals reduced caloric intake by 200 to 275 calories throughout the day, which could be very helpful for people focused on weight loss.

One randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study even found that overweight adults who consumed ACV for 12 weeks experienced reductions in weight, body mass index, waist and hip circumferences, and body fat ratio. The conclusion of the study: ACV could be a promising weight-management supplement that does not produce any side effects.

4. People Looking To Support Healthy Cholesterol

Not only can ACV support metabolic function, but it also shows promise in promoting healthy cholesterol and triglyceride levels. 

One meta-analysis found that ACV helped decrease total LDL cholesterol among participants. This suggests it to be a useful tool for supporting cardiovascular health, particularly among people with heart health concerns.

Tips and Best Practices for Using ACV

When shopping for ACV, spending a bit more for a quality product is worth it. Both Axe and Azarcon agree that it’s important to purchase organic, unfiltered ACV with the “mother,” ensuring its complete array of beneficial enzymes and probiotics remain intact. 

Whatever your specific health goal or need, Azarcon typically recommends incorporating ACV into your day the same way: by mixing a tablespoon of it into an ounce of water (or coconut water, if you really can’t tolerate the sour flavor) before each meal. Axe also suggests trying a combination of one or two tablespoons of ACV, about a teaspoon of honey, and one tablespoon of olive oil before meals for a greater filling effect.

Read More: Your Skin Issues May Be Starting In Your Gut

Just keep in mind that ACV is most likely to lead to appetite suppression and weight loss when used along with a healthy, low-glycemic diet and other metabolic-boosting habits, like exercise and adequate sleep.

Otherwise, you can add ACV to water, coconut water, fresh juices, tea, or sparkling drinks (Azarcon is known to serve ACV-spiked sparking water at big holiday meals). You can even mix it into salad dressings (it goes great with lemon and honey).

If you’re on the go and away from your kitchen most of the day, Azarcon recommends adding three tablespoons of apple cider vinegar to your water bottle and sipping on it throughout the day. 

If you’re concerned about how the acidity of ACV might impact your tooth enamel, consider:

  • Diluting your ACV by mixing it with water or another liquid
  • Using a straw when drinking anything containing ACV to minimize direct contact with your teeth
  • Rinsing your mouth after consuming ACV to help neutralize acidity and reduce its impact on tooth enamel
  • Maximizing alternative methods of consuming ACV, such as adding it to recipes and salad dressings where it’ll be diluted

Key Takeaways on Who Should Use ACV

Apple cider vinegar is a convenient, inexpensive, and low-risk remedy for supporting digestion and metabolic health. It makes a great accompaniment to a healthy, balanced diet, which is the cornerstone of weight loss, gut health, and blood sugar control.

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