If you believe the hype then apple cider vinegar is the ultimate panacea, an amazing substance that can apparently do everything from whiten your teeth to improve your skin and help you to lose weight. But contrary to these claims, ACV is not a miraculous substance.
There are some interesting studies that suggest it could help with some ailments and the benefits with regards to weight loss are promising, but if you came here looking for confirmation that ACV was some kid of natural cure-all, then you’re about to be very disappointed.
The truth is that no single compound is able to cure you quite the way that proponents claim ACV can. To benefit from several effects at once you need a superfood like DetoxOrganics (which brings together the benefits of many superfood compounds) or a diet rich in vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, and the many extracts that science suggests can benefit our health.
But before we destroy your dreams entirely, it’s worth noting that there are some things that apple cider vinegar can do, and as mentioned above, its effects on weight loss are promising.
There are some superfoods out there that can do a number of things. As with ACV, they are not cure-alls as such, but they are powerful, beneficial compounds and you can read more about them here:
- Foods to Prolong You Life (including resveratrol and turmeric)
Apple Cider Vinegar for Weight Loss
In 2016 the BBC ran a human study to determine whether ACV could aid with weight loss and they found that there we no changes in weight in the group that had been given this vinegar. Similar studies have been conducted and similar results have been found.
So does that mean that ACV can’t help with weight loss and if so, why does this theory endure?
Well, not quite. The truth is, this one is still up in the air. A lot of animal studies have shown positive results with regards to weight loss and blood sugar and there are human studies that suggest apple cider vinegar can delay gastric emptying, leading to prolonged feelings of fullness, which in turn may reduce calories consumed over the course of a day.
It does seem that the sites promoting ACV use are quick to ignore the inconclusive human studies and focus on the animal studies, but as skeptical as we are, we’re happy to admit that there could be something here.
If it does help with weight loss, however, it seems likely that it will be the result of the subjects reducing their calorie intake (in controlled human weight loss studies, all subjects are asked to consume the same amount of calories, so this will have not played a role in the aforementioned human studies) because of appetite suppression.
What Apple Cider Vinegar Can’t do
Nutritional science is based on probabilities, not certainties.
A lot of what we know, or think we know, about superfoods comes from laboratory studies, animal studies and a few human studies. If we give Product A to 100 obese, middle-aged women as part of a double-blind study and the majority show a decrease in body fat, we can hypothesize that it helps with weight loss, but we can’t say for sure.
We wouldn’t know, for instance, if the same effects would be seen across all demographics, nor would be know for certain why everyone in that group didn’t lose weight. And then you have to consider that most supplement studies are on done on animals, and we just don’t know if the same results will be seen on humans.
But if a particular “benefit” goes against all common sense concerning what we know about the human body, it cannot be replicated by real scientific evidence and is only backed up by anecdotal evidence (basically, people saying, “This happened to me”) then at the very least we need to be suspicious about it.
And if it causes more harm than good, as is the case with some of the following so-called ACV benefits, then we need to avoid them entirely:
Apple Cider Vinegar as a Teeth Whitener
To understand why apple cider vinegar is not effective as a teeth whitener, you need to understand two things:
- There are two types of dental discoloration: extrinsic and intrinsic. The former occurs on the outside of the tooth and is the result of food stains and plaque. It can be whitened with dental polishing and regular brushing. The latter is on the inside and can only be whitened with bleach.
- Acidic substances can erode the surface of the enamel, making your teeth weaker, thinner and potentially more exposed to harm.
ACV is not a bleach. It may be able to reduce the plaque on the enamel and the bacteria in your mouth, but that brings us to point number two: it is highly acidic. In other words, while it may have an impact on extrinsic stains, it will also damage your teeth.
Apple Cider Vinegar for Acid Reflux
This one defies belief a little.
Acid reflux is a condition that causes stomach acid to rise out of the stomach and into the esophagus and even the throat. It can cause burning and scarring and is very unpleasant. It may be the result of leaky valves (there are sphincters between the stomach and throat that can malfunction) stomach ulcers, or simply an excess of stomach acid.
Whatever the cause, the absolute worst thing you can do is drink an acidic substance.
There is absolutely no evidence supporting the use of ACV for reflux. There are theories that suggest it works by helping to break down fats or somehow balancing the Ph levels of the stomach. But whatever the anecdotal reports say, common sense says it would be a bad idea.
If nothing else has worked, by all means try it. But dilute it first, and if your reflux is the result of an ulcer or other condition, or you are taking medication for it, consult with a doctor prior to doing anything.
Apple Cider Vinegar is Loaded with Nutrients
This is simply not true. There are trace amounts of nutrients at best. Just because it contains calcium, iron and other nutrients doesn’t mean it contains them in doses you can actually benefit from.
After all, your average bottle of water contains half a dozen minerals, but you’d be putting yourself at risk of hyponatremia if you drank enough to get your RDA of most of them.
Apple Cider Vinegar Prevents Cancer
There have been a lot of studies on herbs, spices and extracts that have led to genuinely promising results in the field of cancer prevention. But the term “anti-cancer” is overused in the supplement industry.
The problem is that marketing teams take the slightest bit of positive information and then spin their magic before watching as it gets out of hand like a game of Chinese Whispers.
With ACV, that initial information can be traced back to a suggestion that consumption may lead to a reduction in esophageal cancer. But at the same time, additional studies suggest that it could increase the risk of bladder cancer.
If you believe one, you should believe the other.
Apple cider vinegar certainly has its uses, but just because something can do one thing—or multiple things—well, doesn’t mean it can do everything. It is not a cure-all, nothing is, and it’s time to stop pushing ACV as the miraculous savior of mankind.
At best it results in people getting their hopes up and wasting their money. At worst it results in people assuming it can treat their cancer, whiten their teeth or fix their reflux.
Listen to the science and to the things we know to be true. If you want to live longer and live well, consume a diet rich in plant-based foods (or take a shortcut with DetoxOrganics superfood greens), get plenty of exercise and don’t let stress and the ills of modern life wear you down.