Is Apple Cider Vinegar really good for your health?

Apple cider vinegar is a delicious ingredient used to make all types of sauces and dressings. In recent times, some scientists found its use might have been beneficial to treat some conditions. In just a few years, apple cider vinegar became a true panacea to treat everything, from dandruff to obesity and diabetes.

However, although science backed up many of these health claims, using too much of this ingredient is not devoid of dangers. If you consume too much apple cider vinegar, you may experience some nasty side effects. In this article, we will take a look at apple cider vinegar’s potential adverse reactions if used in large quantities. We will also give you some hints and tips on how to consume this seasoning safely.

A brief overview of Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar (ACV) is a helpful tonic made with the fermented juice of crushed apples. Yeast and bacteria turn the fruit sugar into alcohol and then into acetic acid. Because of this, ACV vinegar is an extremely acidic substance with a sour smell and taste.

Vinegar has been used as a food preservative since 5000 BC. According to a legend, a courtier in Babylonia discovered that unattended grape juice formed it. Several thousand years later, Hippocrates used vinegar to treat wounds, and Japanese Samurais drank it as a strengthening tonic. Cleopatra even dissolved some pearls in it to make the famous love potion she gave to Anthony.

Back in the 18th century, many American doctors used it to cure all types of ailments, from stomachaches to poison ivy and dropsy. Civil war surgeons used it to disinfect battle wounds because of its antibacterial properties. Many expert practitioners from that age agreed with modern doctors in thinking it is a good  food for diabetic patients to treat their illness.

More than 200 years later, apple cider vinegar is now under the spotlight again. Recent studies, in fact, identified it as a potential anti glycemic agent. It didn’t take long before experts across the world would start popularizing as a natural health remedy for a lot of different diseases. Today you can even buy apple cider vinegar tablets if you don’t like its sour taste.

Apple Cider Vinegar side effects

Apple cider vinegar can cause some annoying (or serious) side effects if used in large quantities or too often. Let’s have a look.

1.      Tooth Damage

All acidic substances may damage your tooth enamel when consumed orally, and apple cider vinegar is among them. Although tooth enamel is the hardest tissue in your body, some chemicals may corrode it, especially if acidic. Many foods and beverages can slowly damage it.

Small amounts of this natural remedy may increase your dental sensitivity. In the long run, dental erosion may occur, leading to cavities. Apple cider vinegar can also paint your teeth yellow making them look quite ugly!

The simplest way to prevent this seasoning from making direct contact with your teeth is to consume it using a straw. You can also rinse your mouth with water after drinking it. Beware though! Don’t brush your teeth immediately after consuming it or you can damage your enamel even further. The wisest choice is to ask your dentist how to reduce apple cider vinegar tooth damage.

2.      High Acidity

Apple cider vinegar contains high quantities of acetic acid. Because of this, its pH is really low, meaning that it is a very acidic substance. Many side effects that we will talk about later are caused by its strong acidic nature.

Many people follow an alkaline diet to reduce their risk of cancer and heart disease. Acidic foods may, in fact, increase the acidity of your blood. This effect has been associated with potential liver and kidney damage. To avoid this side effect, you should consume small amounts of vinegar, usually no more than two tablespoons per day.

3.      Throat burns and skin irritation

Apple cider vinegar’s high acetic acid content can potentially burn your esophagus and throat. Prolonged use may cause a nasty sensation of a sore throat as it damages your esophageal wall.

Be careful to keep it out of children’s reach! Your kids may accidentally ingest it and suffer from a throat burn. That’s why it should always be kept in childproof containers. You can dilute it with water or juice before consuming it to reduce exposure.

When applied directly to the skin, vinegar can cause irritation, rashes, or allergies. Stop using it immediately if you experience an allergic reaction. However, if it simply makes your skin burn or tingle, you can blend it with water, honey or baking soda.

4.      Digestive problems

Apple cider vinegar is used by diabetic patients to reduce high blood sugar. It acts mostly by slowing down the rate at which food leaves the stomach and it is then absorbed into the bloodstream.

This seasoning may also promote feelings of fullness, reducing food intake. This effect is usually associated with weight loss, but it is not always pleasant. Vinegar may, in fact, reduce your appetite because it causes indigestion. Consuming vinegar may cause many unpleasant sensations such as bloating, nausea and heartburn.

A serious side effect of apple cider vinegar is gastroparesis, a common ailment if you have type 1 diabetes. Stomach nerves might get irritated, causing food to stay in the stomach for too long. If you are a diabetic patient, you might find challenging to properly time insulin with meals if digestion becomes so slow and unpredictable. The best way to avoid this side effect is to limit apple cider vinegar consumption to less than two tablespoons (30 ml) per day.

5.      Drug Interactions

Apple cider vinegar might interact with several medications including diuretics, insulin and laxatives. First, because of its low pH, it may reduce the availability of some drugs which are assumed orally (such as tablets or pills).

Since this remedy can lower blood sugar and increase insulin levels, its effect may add up with diabetes medications. This may lead to dangerously low blood sugar levels. ACV also lowers potassium levels. Medicines such as digoxin or some diuretics also have this effect, with life-threatening consequences. Before consuming this seasoning, you should always consult your doctor or pharmacist to avoid any drug interaction.

Conclusion

Using a little apple cider vinegar now and then is not going to cause you any problem. As with any form of alternative medicine or complementary remedy, prudence is your best friend. Always talk with your doctor or pharmacist before using this seasoning in larger quantities. He may help you understand the risks and side effects of apple cider vinegar.