Many people believe that apple cider vinegar has anti-inflammatory properties, and some sources say that it can relieve the symptoms of arthritis.
Arthritis is a group of conditions that cause pain and swelling in the joints. It can restrict mobility and impact a person’s ability to carry out daily tasks.
Arthritis medications are usually effective, though some people also look to alternative treatments to relieve their symptoms, including apple cider vinegar.
Apple cider vinegar is a traditional home remedy that some people use to treat various conditions, from nausea to skin conditions. But does it work for arthritis, and is it safe?
Some people say that drinking a small amount of diluted apple cider vinegar helps relieve their arthritis symptoms. However, there is not enough evidence to suggest that it works.
The Arthritis Foundation includes apple cider on their list of food myths about arthritis.
Here are some ways that people say apple cider vinegar might work for arthritis symptoms, and information on any related scientific research:
Inflammation in the joints is the primary cause of pain, swelling, and sometimes, permanent joint damage in rheumatoid arthritis (RA). There is also
Many people use standard anti-inflammatory medications, such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs), to control inflammation. Some people also include specific anti-inflammatory foods in their diet to manage their symptoms.
There is no scientific evidence that apple cider vinegar is an effective anti-inflammatory agent in humans or that it can help treat arthritis symptoms.
Apple cider vinegar also contains pectin. Some people think that pectin can absorb specific toxins that have built up and contributed to their symptoms.
However, according to the Arthritis Foundation, no research shows whether pectin can help with arthritis pain.
People with arthritis may find relief in their symptoms by avoiding overweight, as this reduces the pressure on their joints.
According to an article published by the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, some research has suggested that vinegar, including apple cider vinegar, can help control blood sugar levels and contribute to weight loss. However, studies have produced mixed results, and further research is needed.
A 2009 study involved 155 Japanese people with obesity, some of whom consumed 15 milliliters a day of vinegar, diluted with other liquids. Those who consumed the vinegar experienced reductions in BMI, body weight, triglyceride levels, and other measures, suggesting that vinegar may have metabolic benefits. However, they did not use apple cider vinegar.
One way apple cider vinegar could help a person lose weight is for them to use it as flavoring, as it contains only 3 calories per tablespoon.
While the benefits of apple cider vinegar are unclear at this stage, it is relatively safe to drink, as long as a person dilutes it first.
Apple cider vinegar may interact with certain types of medication, such as diabetes medications.
For many people taking apple cider vinegar, the risk of adverse effects is low but side effects can include:
- digestive issues
- erosion of tooth enamel
- skin problems
- throat irritation
Other ways of consuming apple cider vinegar include combining it with honey or baking soda or sprinkling it on salad.
Many people find that regular exercise, which keeps the joints active and improves joint flexibility, can have wide-ranging effects on their arthritis symptoms.
People with inflammatory arthritis may also benefit from following an anti-inflammatory diet.
Along with these lifestyle changes, people can try alternative home remedies. Some of these home remedies for arthritis have more evidence than apple cider vinegar to support them. These include:
Cherries contain a range of antioxidants that could be useful for controlling inflammation in arthritis.
In a small-scale 2012 study, 20 women with inflammatory OA consumed a tart cherry juice or a placebo cherry drink twice a day for 21 days. The researchers found that those who drank the tart cherry juice had significantly reduced levels of one of the markers that indicate inflammation.
A 2013 study also found that drinking tart cherry juice each day for 6 weeks improved osteoarthritis symptoms. However, there was no significantly greater difference between the tart cherry juice group and the placebo group.
Another natural alternative to apple cider vinegar is yoga.
Some people believe that apple cider vinegar improves their arthritis symptoms, though there is no current research to support its use.
However, other natural approaches, such as yoga, also have benefits for people with arthritis.
Although diluted apple cider vinegar is relatively safe to consume, people with certain conditions, such as diabetes, should talk to their doctor before drinking apple cider vinegar.