EndurElite Chief Endurance Officer Matt Mosman dives in to the research on apple cider vinegar to see if the claims being made about it are true or complete nonsense.
The Research On Apple Cider Vinegar. Beneficial Or Complete BS?
Give me an A. Give me a C. Give me a V. What's that stand for, asinine claims about vinegar, more specifically, apple cider vinegar. Now, a little history about this magical elixir of the God. It was first created by a wizard who harvested apples out of the Garden of Eden and then he sourced some vinegar from the ancient Romans. He cast a magic spell on it, and kablam, apple cider vinegar. And then he went on to sell it because of all the miraculous things that can happen as far as controlling blood glucose, losing weight, preventing cancer. Hell, it can even help you have a baby. But do all these claims have any truth behind them or is it just a bunch of bullshit? And that's what we're really gonna go and discover today.
Now before all you apple cider vinegar lovers say, "Well, my Aunt Gertrude back in Iowa, she drinks gosh-darn 18 gallons of apple cider vinegar a day and she hasn't been sick in over 180 years. She is gosh-darn immortal," just know that if you like it, hey, I have no problem with it. If you feel like it works really good for you, hey, awesome. What we're gonna do is what we always do. We're gonna look at the evidence instead of just the opinions you might see all over the internet.
Now, if you wanna debate this with me, awesome. But if you start quoting Dr. Axe or Dr. Oz for your research, I will ban you. So, let's just dive right into it. I have about 18 research studies pulled up as far as the various claims that apple cider vinegar makes. Now, these studies include both apple cider vinegar and vinegar as a standalone. But they all come together and basically are the same thing as far as the benefits that have been being claimed. So, enough of my blabbing. Let's just dive into all of these claims. This is gonna be a little bit of lengthy video so just sit tight.
Apple Cider Vinegar And Blood Glucose
So the first claim made about apple cider vinegar is that can help with blood sugar control. Now, there's actually a little bit of truth to this. So, in this study, in humans, consumption of vinegar prior to a carbohydrate-containing meal has been shown to reduce blood glucose response by approximately 20 to 30%. However, it should be noted that total area under the curve for blood glucose two hours after a meal was not different between a group that consumed vinegar and the one that did not. So basically, the vinegar just blunts the blood glucose response. But at the end of the day after two hours, it's about the same thing. What else here? Basically, the point with the blood glucose thing is it may be helpful in people that are diabetic. But in a non-diabetic population, this claim really has no substance to it at all.
Apple Cider Vinegar And Weight Loss
Oh, the second claim, weight-loss. Now, I know a lot of people take the apple cider vinegar for weight loss. But I'm fully convinced that this is because apple cider vinegar tastes so horrible that it makes you nauseous and that you don't wanna eat at all. There's only been one study to date in humans with apple cider vinegar in humans. And what happened is a guy named Kondo, a Japanese guy, recruited 155 obese Japanese individuals and assign them to either 15 milliliters of apple cider vinegar, 30 milliliters of apple cider vinegar, or a placebo. What they found is the 15 milliliter group lost 1.2 kilograms, the 30 milliliter group lost 1.9 kilograms, and the placebo group remained the same. Now, on the surface, this looks like awesome. Apple cider vinegar works awesome. But it should be noted in studies like this with obese subjects, their nutrition as far as what they report is usually pretty inaccurate, and that also this study was published back in 2009 and it hasn't been replicated yet. The point with this study is although vinegar consumption may increase satiation or the feeling of fullness to some extent, a lot more research needs to be done in terms of if apple cider vinegar can cause weight loss.
Apple Cider Vinegar And Cardiovascular Disease
Next claim, apple cider vinegar can help prevent cardiovascular disease. Main point here. No study to date has been performed examining the effects of regular vinegar consumption on outcomes such as cardiovascular events or mortality. Therefore, more research needs to be done. Now, there's some pretty convincing research in rats, but that necessarily doesn't cross over into humans.
Apple Cider Vinegar And Cancer
All right. Next claim, apple cider vinegar can prevent cancer. Hold on. Hold on. I'm gonna need this to get through this. Hold on. Okay. Now, as far as preventing cancers, there is a small animal study showing the anti-cancer effects of vinegar. However, observational studies in human have been a mixed bag of results. Some have shown that people who consumed vinegar have decreased rates of cancer while some have increased rates of cancer. So again, mixed bag, claim could not be supported at this time.
Apple Cider Vinegar And Skin Health
Will apple cider vinegar make your skin glow? Ah, no. It's not. And I'm looking at this study. This is kind of funny. It says, "Moreover, chemical burns have been attempted...or have been caused by apple cider vinegar when you apply it on your skin to, like, remove a mole." I wouldn't drink it for a skin care. Again, it's not gonna do a gosh darn thing for your skin.
Apple Cider Vinegar And Oral Health
All right. On to the next claim. Can apple cider vinegar give you some pearly whites? Let's see. Apple cider vinegar has been claimed to whiten teeth and improve bad breath. Well, count me in. However, no evidence to support these claims, and vinegar is very acidic so you would think it would ruin your teeth. But the good news is there is one research study showing that apple cider vinegar can help clean your dentures, awesome.
Apple Cider Vinegar And Allergies
Oh, the next one. Can apple cider vinegar help with allergies? Claims for this and the evidence are very, very weak. Today only one study on vinegar and allergies has been performed in humans. This study, seven subjects with food allergies to eggs, chicken, lentils, were subjected to skin prick tests and which foods were prepared with or without wine vinegar. The foods prepared with vinegar resulted in a reduction in reaction during the skin prick test. But it should be noted that vinegar is acidic and likely denature proteins similar to the denaturation of proteins that occur in the stomach as part of the dietary protein digestion. So, basically, the point is it's very unclear if it does anything with allergies.
Apple Cider Vinegar And Inflammation
Okay. Next one. This is probably one of the more popular ones. Apple cider vinegar helps prevent inflammation, specifically from arthritis or other inflammatory conditions. However, no evidence to support this claim. In animal model of colitis, large doses of vinegar reduced inflammation, improved gut bacterial population, and attenuated body weight loss. To date, this data has not been replicated in humans, and there is no human data supporting these claims. Again, just because it shows something in rats doesn't mean it's gonna work in humans.
Apple Cider Vinegar And Fertility
All right. On to the next claim. Can apple cider vinegar help you have a baby? Hell, you could even name it Apple if it does like that weird celebrity that named her baby Apple. The only human study along these lines to date was a small study of seven Japanese women with PCOS that did not have a normal menstrual cycle. After consumption of 15 grams of vinegar daily for 90 to 110 days...oh, Lord, that sounds terrible...four of the seven women regained their menstrual cycle, and this was thought to be due to vinegar's effect on normalizing insulin resistance commonly associated with PCOS. However, a lot more research with a lot more subjects needs to be done to support this claim.
Apple Cider Vinegar And Detox
Oh, here's one of my favorite. Apple cider vinegar can help detox your body. Two main points here. You have a liver and a kidney for a reason. No supplement, magical drink, blah, blah, blah, blah, yadda, yadda, yadda, yadda, is gonna detox your body. So, no, just no, it's not gonna detox you on the cellular level. God, these kind of videos drive me crazy because you see these crazy-ass claims about stuff. You know, like, who buys into this?
Apple Cider Vinegar And Alkalinity
Okay. Next one, pH balance in the body. Lot of claims have made about apple cider vinegar making your body more alkaline. But your body highly regulates acidity in the body between about 7.35 and 7.45. I mean, there's nothing you can really do to that. But if you did, even slight variations in this acidity can result in severe illness. Fortunately, there is no evidence that human diets have a significant effect on blood pH in individuals with normal kidney function. And there is no evidence to support the claim that apple cider vinegar can help with pH. Now, that's the kind of the majority of the most quoted claims.
Apple Cider Vinegar And Other Claims
Now, there's other claims too that it helps with acid reflux, osteoporosis prevention, dandruff treatment, energy booster, reduction in cramps, hiccups...hiccups, that's a weird one...and many other claims. But today, really, there's no evidence to support these claims.
The Bottom Line On Apple Cider Vinegar
So, enough of my rambling. What's the take-home point here? The take-home point is a majority of the claims made about apple cider vinegar really don't have the evidence to support them. The only claim maybe that we can support with apple cider vinegar is it reduces the glycemic response to a meal and potentially increases satiation or the feeling of fullness, and so therefore individuals who are diabetic or who may be trying to kind of combat some of the effects of being a diabetic, you might realize some benefits from the apple cider vinegar.
Second main point. If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. And this is the case with apple cider vinegar as well.
Main point number three. Do your research, people. Look for evidence-based claims about all these fads and trends and everything you're hearing about. An awesome resource is examine.com. This will have accurate information about supplements, these diet trends, nutrition trends, and everything in between, well referenced, good information. You really can't go wrong with going to examine.com.
Fourth main point. Hey, if you really like apple cider vinegar and you feel like it works really well for you, keep on taking it. Who am I to say? I realize that evidence from a scientific perspective and personal experience kind of go hand in hand. What I do is I just look off the evidence because, I mean, without it it's just really one person's opinion. And your opinion may work for you as far as it relates to these trends and diets.
And last main point. Just put your critical thinking cap on when you see all these trends. As a society as a whole, and I'm gonna get on my soapbox here for a second, we tend to take things at face value nowadays. We don't actually research at all. We see some fitness expert on the internet claim something and we hold it as truth as opposed to doing the research. And this is the same with supplements too. Hell, I hope you question and research everything I'm saying as well. I mean, that's just doing your homework and not spending money on things that are worthless or are just built on a bunch of hype.
So, that is all I have for apple cider vinegar for today. Thank goodness. If you have a buddy that's on the apple cider vinegar train, please share this video with them. If you want other videos on endurance training, general nutrition, and supplementation, subscribe to the EndurElite YouTube channel or head on over to the EndurElite blog at www.endurelite.com. Get social with us on Instagram and our Facebook training and nutrition club page. Until next time, my endurance friends, stay fueled, stay focused, stay fast, and stay informed.