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Apple Cider Vinegar: Benefits, Uses, and Risks

Apple cider vinegar, or ACV, is a popular, versatile ingredient with a variety of uses. This acidic, strong-smelling ingredient can be used for cooking, cleaning, skin and hair care, and even in medicinal home remedies. 

Perhaps you’ve heard the anecdotal evidence from a friend or family member but, like many, are finding yourself wondering about the science-backed evidence. Maybe you ARE that friend or family member, and you’re eager to learn all you can about your favorite multipurpose ingredient! 

Whichever category you fall into, keep reading to learn more about the benefits, uses, and risks of apple cider vinegar as a home remedy. 

What is Apple Cider Vinegar?

If you’ve ever tasted plain apple cider vinegar, you may be surprised to learn that it consists mostly of juice from crushed apples… because it certainly doesn’t taste like apple juice! 

This is because apple juice is fermented; it contains yeast that turns the sugar into alcohol, which bacteria then turn into acetic acid. That acid is what gives apple cider vinegar its signature sour, strong taste and smell. 

What is the “Mother” in Apple Cider Vinegar? 

When you glance at your bottle of apple cider vinegar, you may notice a cloudy, unfiltered glob floating around. Some people mistakenly take that as a sign that the ACV has gone bad—but don’t fret! This unappealing glob is actually perfectly normal and healthy. 

It has a name, too: the “mother.” The “mother” is made up of all of the yeast and bacteria that make your ACV healthy. Basically, it’s the source of all the good stuff. It also contains probiotics, which can give your digestive system a boost

Apple Cider Vinegar Health Benefits

With its antimicrobial and antioxidant properties, apple cider vinegar boasts a variety of health benefits. It can even be used as a natural disinfectant and preservative, making it somewhat of a “one-stop-shop.” 

Apple cider vinegar has been used for centuries: as a wound treatment, as a way to improve heart health, and as a way to reduce dandruff, to name a few. 

While researchers are still studying the extent of ACV’s health benefits, we have a few favorites. For example: 

Weight Loss

Weight loss is one of apple cider vinegar’s most touted benefits, though research findings are relatively minimal. That said, one study found that daily ACV consumption did in fact lead to small amounts of weight loss, particularly when it came to belly fat.  

This may also be due to the fact that vinegar can contribute to feelings of fullness, so it may indirectly reduce one’s likelihood of overeating. 

If you’re diligently consuming apple cider vinegar, you’re likely working on a healthier lifestyle and taking better care of yourself overall. If this is what contributes to digestive health, apple cider vinegar can definitely take some of the credit!  

Skin Health

Another benefit of apple cider vinegar is that when applied topically, it can help to balance the natural pH levels of your skin. ACV can be used in face washes, toners, or as a spot treatment, either as a home remedy or with commercial products. 

With its antibacterial properties, it may also help to kill bacteria, making it a popular home remedy for those with eczema. Some have even reported that apple cider vinegar can practically work miracles when it comes to wart removal!  

When applying directly to your skin, be sure to always dilute your apple cider vinegar with water to avoid damage. 

Lowered Blood Sugar

Apple cider vinegar is commonly used in home remedies for those with type 2 diabetes, as vinegar can be used to regulate blood sugar levels and improve insulin function. 

Of course, anyone can benefit from regulated blood sugar levels. If you struggle with high blood sugar, try taking a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar before a meal and/or bedtime.  

That said, ACV should only be used as a supplement to proven medical treatments, rather than as a replacement.  

How to Use Apple Cider Vinegar

With its high acidity and strong, bitter taste, you won’t want to drink apple cider vinegar straight. Instead, mix 1-2 teaspoons or tablespoons with a glass of water or cup of tea depending on your flavor preference. 

Other ways to consume apple cider vinegar include:  

  • Dilute 1-2 spoonfuls with warm water, honey, and lemon to make your own tea. 
  • Use it for jarring and pickling. 
  • Addit to sauces, salad dressings, and stews for a tangy flavor boost. 
  • Try Go Organic’s Apple Cider Vinegar Gummies which contain all of the benefits with none of the vinegar taste.

As mentioned above, you can also apply diluted ACV topically to your skin and hair. 

Risks of Apple Cider Vinegar

Even if the taste of apple cider vinegar doesn’t turn you off to consuming large quantities, you should avoid consuming too much at a time as the high acidity can damage your teeth, throat, and stomach. 

Additionally, you may want to avoid apple cider vinegar if you have low potassium levels or take medications including insulin and diuretics. 

As a precaution, it’s always a good idea to consult with your doctor before adding new ingredients to your diet.