Apple cider vinegar: A complete guide and review of 17 potential benefits and uses

If you want a complete guide on apple cider vinegar, then you are at the right place. In this guide, we will be discussing 35 potential benefits and uses. All the information you need about ACV in one place.

apple cider vinegar
Photo credit: Oksana Mizina/ Shutterstock

What is Apple Cider Vinegar?

Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) is apple juice that have been fermented. It has been used for centuries as preservative, as a cure for cold and flu.

How is apple cider vinegar made?

It is made by exposing apple ‘must’ to yeast. This process ferments the sugars in the crushed apple and turns it into alcohol. When the alcohol reacts with bacteria, acetic acid which is the major active component of vinegar is formed. It is this acetic acid that gives vinegar its strong sour taste and smell. Scientists believe this acetic acid is responsible for the health benefits of apple cider vinegar.

What is apple cider vinegar with mother?

The ‘Mother’ in Apple Cider Vinegar also known as Mycoderma aceti is cloudy, murky and brownish substance that can be found floating in some bottles containing unpasteurized ACV or bowls containing organic unfiltered apple cider vinegar.  

The ‘mother’ is believed to be rich in health-boosting natural protein, digestive enzymes and acetic acid bacteria which develop when the alcohol is fermented. These healthy bacteria turn the alcohol into acetic acid.

The ‘mother’ is also believed to be responsible for most of its health benefits, however there are currently no evidence that supports this.

apple cider vinegar with mother
Picture shows Apple cider vinegar with mother, Photo credit: Sasimoto/shutterstock

All ACVs are not created equal

Most apple cider vinegar in supermarkets are pasteurised. Pasteurisation kills bacteria including the helpful bacteria which means pasteurised ACVs may not offer same benefit as ACVs that contain the ‘mother’.

  • Pasteurised ACV: This is usually is clear and would not contain The ‘mother’ as it would have been filtered out.
  • Unpasteurised ACV: This is usually cloudy. The ‘mother’ may be present, but it would usually not be very dense.
  • Locally or homemade ACV would usually have very dense ‘mother’ that would look like slices of soft liver as seen in the picture below.

Commercial forms of ACV

  • apple cider vinegar gummies
  • apple cider vinegar capsules
  • apple cider vinegar tablets
  • apple cider vinegar shots

Apple cider vinegar dosage

We always get question like

  • how much apple cider vinegar for weight loss?  
  • how much apple cider vinegar?
  • how much apple cider vinegar per day?
  • how many apple cider vinegar tablets should I take a day?
  • how much apple cider vinegar should I drink a day?

The recommended daily dosage of apple cider vinegar is two tablespoons with water.

How to drink apple cider vinegar

ACV is acid so drinking it without diluting it may cause problems. Hence most people dilute it with water.

Is apple cider vinegar good for you?

The internet may have you thinking ACV is the cure for every ailment. ACV may offer some health benefits and can be used for a variety of things from being used as food dressing, cosmetics or cleaning. People who want to use ACV can try it as it does have some proven health benefits. We are going to discuss some of these benefits limitations in an honest and straightforward way and in details.

Benefits of apple

ACV retains some of the benefits of apple so it is worth talking about the benefit of apples. According to everyday health, apples can help;

  • Lower high cholesterol
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Can help with digestion
  • Can boost your immune system
  • may inmprove blood sugar level thereby help in diabetes
  • Can support health weight loss
benefits of apples
ACV retains some benefits of apple/ Image by Larisa Koshkina from Pixabay

Health Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar

Some popular and potential health benefits of apple cider vinegar include:

  • Boosts metabolism which promotes weight loss.
  • Acne
  • Sore throats
  • Sinus infections
  • Gout
  • Arthritis.
  • Bladder stones
  • Urinary tract infections (UTI)
  • Kidney
  • Acid reflux
  • Hight blood pressure
  • Varicose veins
  • Ovarian cyst
  • Fertility
  • Cholesterol levels
  • Type 2 diabetes

Uses of Apple Cider Vinegar

  • Cosmetic uses (hair, face, skin)
  • House cleaning and laundry
  • Food- main ingredient of many salads and recopies

Apple cider vinegar for weight loss

You may have read from a lot of holistic health personnel and read on blogs and social media that apple cider vinegar (ACV) can help you lose weight and now want to know if it actually works for weight loss. Is there evidence that ACV can really help you squeeze into a smaller size of clothes?

The studies carried out on obese mice and rats indicate that acetic acid improves metabolism while also preventing fat deposition. Two studies carried out on humans have been widely quoted to support the claim that ACV helps reduce weight. The first study was conducted in 2009 on 175 people who drank 0, 1, or 2 tablespoons of vinegar daily. Those who drank vinegar experienced small weight loss after 12 weeks.

The second study and most recent one was carried out on 39 people on a restricted-calorie diet for 12 weeks. One group was just on a restricted-calorie diet while the other group was on a restricted-calorie diet plus ACV.  They found that those in the group that consumed ACV lost 8.8 pounds in 12 weeks compared to participants in the group that did not consume ACV who lost 5 pounds.

These studies were carried out on a small number of participants and over a short period of time but the consistent results showing weight loss in the trial group who consume ACV indicates that ACV may be beneficial in reducing body weight.

Fact: The evidence that ACV can help you lose weight is not compelling.

Apple cider vinegar and blood pressure

You may have read from other sources that ACV can be used to control blood pressure. A relatively small study conducted on rats showed a reduction in blood pressure in rats fed with a diet that includes acetic acid compared to rats who was not fed with diets containing acetic acid but these there were no studies to evaluate if ACV reduces blood pressure in humans.

High blood pressure that is not well controlled can cause a lot of complications of hypertension. There is simply not enough evidence to support the use of ACV for controlling blood pressure and would encourage patients who are diagnosed with high blood pressure to stick to their medication and management plan.

Apple cider vinegar and diabetes (blood sugar)

Apple cider vinegar can help control blood sugar and help control diabetes. In 2004, the American Association of diabetes conducted a study where participants who had type 2 diabetes were given a meal containing a white bagel, orange juice, and butter. Following which they were given either the meal, 20 grams of ACV or a placebo. The blood sugar levels of the participants were then checked after half an hour and an hour. Their result showed that ACV significantly reduced blood sugar levels.

ACV will not cure diabetes, but it may fairly reduce blood sugar levels. It should be noted however that it cannot be used to replace your antidiabetic medication. Uncontrolled diabetes can lead to complications of diabetes, so it is important that you maintain blood sugar level control. That said, it may be safely added to your treatment plan.

Apple cider vinegar on the immune system, cold and as probiotic.

ACV with the “mother,” contains a combination of bacteria and yeast that act as probiotics. Research conducted In 2018 showed that probiotics immune-boosting qualities that can fight influenza-like respiratory diseases and cold.

ACV contain polyphenols which helps with cold symptoms.

To treat cold, people combine apple cider vinegar with honey.

Apple cider vinegar for acid reflux, heartburn and gastroesophageal reflux disease

The symptoms you experience when you have heartburn occur when stomach acid comes up into the oesophagus. There is no evidence to suggest that ACV helps with heartburn. An unpublished study conducted as part of a master’s thesis to determine the efficacy of ACV with ‘mother’ on alleviation of the heartburn symptom related to Gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD). Participants diagnosed with GORD were given chilli with ACV and another group chilli without ACV. Apple cider vinegar did not seem to help.

As already stated, ACV is acidic so it does not make sense using it to treat a condition whose symptoms are brought on by acid coming up the guts. It’s like adding acid to acid. That is not going to help with acid reflux, heartburn or GORD. If anything, it may make the problem worse.

Apple cider vinegar for kidney stones

There is not much scientific evidence proving that apple cider vinegar can cure kidney stones as much of the evidence currently supporting its use for treating kidney stones is based on personal stories. That said, ACV has potentials for use in the treatment of ACV.

ACV contains acetic acid, and this acetic acid is believed to break up, soften, dissolve kidney stones and prevent new kidney stone formation. It is also believed to helps to reduce the pain and inflammation associated with kidney stones.

ACV contains tiny amounts of potassium and according to the study in 2016, diets that are high in potassium could help with kidney stone prevention but do not go drinking gallons of ACV as too much of it could reduce potassium levels.

A study in 2017, evaluated the effect that different diets had on kidney stones showed that fermented vinegar could help prevent kidney stones as it was linked to be significantly lower risk of kidney stone formation.

Pour 2 spoonfuls of apple cider vinegar into a glass of water and sip it gradually. Do not drink more than this in one day as too much ACV can lead to the side effects mentioned later in this post.

Apple cider vinegar pregnancy

There is no study that proves whether ACV is safe or unsafe during pregnancy. If you decide to take ACV while pregnant, it is recommended that you take pasteurised ACV. Pasteurisation kills bacteria including the helpful bacteria which means pasteurised ACVs may not offer same health benefit as ACVs that contain the ‘mother’. That said, pasteurised apple cider vinegar still contains acetic acid and its benefits.

Apple cider vinegar for leg cramps

Low potassium can cause leg cramps and it is believed that ACV contains potassium. If you decide to use ACV to relieve leg cramps then you can mix 2 tablespoons of ACV and one teaspoon of honey in a glass of water. Do not take too much apple cider vinegar as too much can cause low potassium.

Apple cider vinegar salad dressing

Salad dressings require acidic elements which give the dressing some flavour, brightness, tanginess and sour taste. Most dressings get their acidity from some kind of vinegar such as ACV.

Apple cider vinegar can be used in salad dressing for other purposes different from adding flavour and taste. It may help reduce the levels of bacteria on your salad. A study was conducted in 2005 to assess the anti-microbial properties of ACV. To do this, they injected fresh salad vegetables with Salmonella and treated them with either ACV, lemon juice, or a combination of both to see if these could decrease bacterial growth.

Their result showed that both ACV and lemon juice reduced the growth of Salmonella with the ACV/lemon combination decreasing the Salmonella to undetectable levels

Substitute for apple cider vinegar

What is the substitute for apple cider vinegar? or what is the apple cider alternative? Are you trying to cook and its recipe calls for ACV but you don’t have it? You can substitute it with the following

  • White wine
  • Red wine
  • Champagne vinegar
  • Rice vinegar
  • Sherry vinegar
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Lemon juice

Apple cider vinegar for hair

ACV contains acetic acid and is acidic. Hair that is fragile and break easily, appear dull and  frizzy are likely alkaline which means that an acidic solution, like ACV, would help restore hair health back into the right PH balance.

ACV has antibacterial and antifungal properties, which may help reduce or control micro-organisms like bacteria or fungi that can cause scalp and hair problems.

Apple cider vinegar as shampoo

Some people have wondered if with all the benefits of apple cider vinegar on hair if it is worth using it as a shampoo. According to Purewow, using apple cider vinegar as shampoo can make your hair feel cleaner, shinier, softer and leave it with less dandruff but it may leave the apple cider salad-dressing smell at least at first.

Apple cider vinegar for dandruff

Does apple cider vinegar help dandruff? ACV also rich in vitamins and minerals like vitamin B and C, alpha-hydroxy acid which helps exfoliate scalp skin. Its anti-inflammatory properties combined with its antimicrobial and antifungal properties may help with dandruff by reducing or killing dandruff-causing yeast on the scalp.

How to use apple cider vinegar for dandruff

  • Mix equal parts of ACV with water.
  • Apply to your scalp with cotton ball.
  • Gently massage your scalp.
  • Wrap your hair with a towel.
  • Leave the mixture for about 10-15 minutes.
  • Wash off with warm water.
apple cider vinegar for dandruff
Apple cider vinegar for dandruff. Credit: Olena758/shutterstock

Apple cider vinegar and baking soda

The ACV plus baking powder rinse was popularized by the “no-poo” method. The “no-poo” method is any way of washing hair that does not involve using tradition shampoo. the baking soda hair fad is meant to replace commercial shampoos. Proponents of this method claim that baking soda when dissolved in water, can make your hair soft, shiny and help get rid of surplus oil and build-ups but these claims are controversial as some people have reported getting their hair damaged by this method.  

There is no evidence to support the claim that baking soda softens hair or restores shine. On the contrary there are studies to support that baking soda damages hair and scalp.

The human scalp and skin have an average pH level of 5.5, while the average pH level of the hair shaft is 3.67 and for healthy hair, it is important that this pH balance is maintained. Baking soda has a pH level of 9. Sources indicate that alkaline products (products with high pH levels) can cause hair frizz, breakage and damage to the cuticles. A study showed that an alkaline soap with a pH level of 9.5 considerably reduced the amount of fat contained on the skin and also irritated the skin.

ACV may be effective at getting rid of build-ups, but it can also dry out the scalp, reducing the amount of fat contained on the skin and irritate the scalp.

Apple cider vinegar for skin

The proponents of ACV claim that ACV fights acne by reducing the number of bacteria on the skin. There is evidence that ACV  treats skin conditions. As explained above, healthy skin has an average pH of 5.5 and the skin requires that ideal balance between acidity and alkalinity. Apple cider vinegar has a pH of between 2 and 3. When the skin is exposed to this amount of acidity, it becomes inflamed and can damage your skin.

ACV for acne

As ACV is acidic, it may seem logical that its astringent properties can help unblock clogged up pores and treat oily skin. The risks ACV poses when used for treating acne may outweigh the benefit.

Although sebum (oils on our skin) is involved in acne, it also acts as a protective barrier and prevents microorganisms like bacteria from penetrating the outer layer of the skin. ACV strips away these protective oils and may allow bacteria to enter the skin and cause inflammation, infections and in some cases, worsening of acne.

Apple cider vinegar eczema

In 2019, a study was conducted where people with eczema soaked one forearm in diluted ACV (0.5% acetic acid) and the other forearm in water every day for two weeks. There was no improvement in the skin barrier integrity but participants who soaked their forearms in ACV reported skin irritation.

Apple cider vinegar on warts

While there is no scientific evidence to prove that ACV can treat warts, some people have tried apple cider vinegar on warts with promising results. Some people believe the acetic acid in ACV kills the viruses and bacteria when it comes in contact with warts while others believe ACV burns and destroys in the same way that salicylic acid works.

The recommended method to treat warts with apple cider vinegar.

  • Mix two parts of ACV with one-part water.
  • Absorb some of the mixtures with a cotton ball.
  • Apply it directly to the wart and cover it with a bandage overnight.
  • Repeat this every night until the wart falls off.

There is a risk of having a chemical burn when placing ACV directly on the skin. There are two cases involving a 14-year-old girl and another 8-year-old boy who got a chemical burn from using apple cider vinegar on skin.

To reduce that risk, people sometimes use apple cider vinegar bath or the method below.

  • Mix one part apple cider vinegar with one part water large container.
  • Soak the region affected with warts for about 20 minutes daily.
  • Then rinse the area with water.

Apple cider vinegar bath

Some people believe that an Apple cider vinegar bath can help relieve dry skin, fight dandruff, acne, and warts and neutralize foot odour. If you decide to have one, start by adding one cup of ACV to a hot bath and increase the amount to the recommended 2-3 cups.

Apple cider vinegar cleaning

Can you use apple cider vinegar to clean? Some people use ACV as a natural alternative to commercial cleaners. While ACV has antibacterial activities, it is important to not that they are not as effective as commercial cleaners in killing bacteria.

Can I use apple cider vinegar to clean coffee make?

Yes you can use apple cider vinegar to clean your coffee machine. Use one part ACV to one part water. If build up is severe, use two parts ACV to one part water.

Apple cider vinegar detox

Some common question we get asked include;

  • Can apple cider vinegar clean out your arteries?
  • Can you use apple cider vinegar colon cleansing?
  • Does apple cider vinegar cleanse liver?

Apple cider vinegar for cholesterol

Studies have shown that ACV can help reduce your level of cholesterol.

Potential side effects of apple cider vinegar

  • ACV has very acidic. If you take too much or take it without diluting it, cause stomach problems and damage to teeth and throat.
  • It may make your digestion slow. This may be a problem for those who have diabetes as it may make blood sugar control more difficult.
  •  It may reduce your level of potassium. Potassium is required in the body for a number of functions.
  • It may interact with some medication and make them work differently from the way they would usually work.
Shopping Basket
Scroll to Top