Apple cider vinegar is mostly apple juice, but adding yeast turns the sugar in the juice into alcohol. This is a process called fermentation. Bacteria turn the alcohol into acetic acid. That’s what gives vinegar its sour taste and strong smell.
Some people say the “mother,” the cloud of yeast and bacteria you might see in a bottle of apple cider vinegar, is what makes it healthy. These things are probiotic, meaning they might give your digestive system a boost.
Apple Cider Vinegar Uses and Dosage
Vinegar is used in cooking, baking, and salad dressings and as a preservative. There’s a lot of acid in it, so drinking vinegar straight isn’t recommended. It can cause problems, like eroding the enamel of your teeth, if you get too much.
If you’re looking to use it for health reasons, most people say to add 1 to 2 tablespoons to water or tea.
Apple Cider Vinegar Benefits
Vinegar has been used as a remedy for centuries. In recent years, people have explored apple cider vinegar as a way to lose weight, improve heart health, and even treat dandruff.
Some studies have found that the acetic acid may help with a variety of conditions:
Japanese scientists found that drinking vinegar might help fight obesity.
One small study found that vinegar improved blood sugar and insulin levels in a group of people with type 2 diabetes.
Vinegar also has chemicals known as polyphenols. They help stop the cell damage that can lead to other diseases, like cancer. But studies on whether vinegar actually lowers your chances of having cancer are mixed.
Apple Cider Vinegar Risks and Side Effects
Because of its high acidity, drinking a lot of apple cider vinegar can damage your teeth, hurt your throat, and upset your stomach.
Study of people with diabetes found that apple cider vinegar slows the rate food and liquids move out of your stomach to your intestines. Slower digestion makes it harder to control your blood sugar level.
It might cause some medications to not work as well. These include diabetes and heart disease drugs as well as diuretics (medicines that help your body get rid of water and salt) and laxatives.
And of course, its strong taste might not be for everyone.
In short, apple cider vinegar probably won’t hurt you. You can try it because it’s calorie-free, adds lots of flavor to food, and has health benefits.