Apple cider vinegar pills: Health claims and evidence
Apple cider vinegar (ACV) pills contain a dehydrated form of the vinegar. Some brands of ACV pills may include other ingredients, such as cayenne pepper or ginger.
This article outlines the scientific research on apple cider vinegar (ACV) for a range of different ailments. We also discuss the risks and potential side effects of ACV.
There is little research into the health benefits of ACV pills.
Proponents of ACV claim that it offers numerous health benefits. We list some of the most popular claims below.
However, people should note that most research into ACV involves the vinegar in liquid form.
Very little information is available about ACV in pill form, and any findings relating to liquid ACV may not translate to ACV pills.
Controlling yeast and other fungi
People who promote ACV claim that it may help treat certain types of fungal infection, such as Candida infections. Candida is the fungus responsible for vaginal yeast infections and oral thrush. Candida inside the mouth can also infect dentures.
A 2014 study found that a denture soak containing 4% ACV could prevent Candida from sticking to dentures.
The 30-minute denture soak also did not affect the surface roughness of the dentures, nor did it change their color. This suggests that a denture soak containing ACV may be a safe and effective way to prevent fungal infections of dentures.
However, there is no evidence to suggest that ACV pills would have this effect.
Lowering cholesterol and reducing heart disease risk
Lipids are fatty substances in blood and body tissues. High levels of specific lipids in the blood can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Supporters of ACV claim that it can lower the levels of blood lipids that damage health, such as triglycerides and low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, or "bad" cholesterol.
A 2011 animal study investigated the effects of ACV in rats that ate a high cholesterol diet. Researchers found that ACV lowered the rats' triglyceride levels. However, ACV also raised levels of LDL cholesterol and high density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, or "good" cholesterol.
So far, studies on ACV and heart disease have focused on animals. It is therefore not possible to conclude the effects of ACV on human health.
However, current research suggests that the benefits do not outweigh the risks. Many experts believe that lifestyle changes and medication are probably more effective.
Treating or preventing bacterial infections
A 2018 study found that ACV has antimicrobial properties that are effective against various strains of bacteria. This suggests ACV may be useful as a bacterial disinfectant. However, using ACV to treat wounds can irritate and even burn the skin.
Controlling blood glucose and diabetes
Consuming ACV at mealtimes may help people with metabolic disorders.
Some people claim that ACV can cure diabetes. While there is no evidence to support this claim, several small studies suggest that ACV may help to control blood glucose.
ACV may, therefore, be useful alongside standard treatments for diabetes. However, scientists need to carry out further research to confirm these effects.
Supporting weight loss
Some smaller studies suggest that ACV may improve weight loss. A 2018 randomized controlled trial found that taking ACV could increase weight loss among people consuming a reduced calorie diet (RCD).
Researchers divided the participants into two groups. The first group consumed a RCD along with 30 milliliters (ml) of ACV per day, and the second group followed the RCD only. After 12 weeks, the researchers compared the two groups.
Participants in the first group showed significant reductions in body weight, hip circumference, appetite, and the amount of fat surrounding the internal organs.
This data does not point to ACV alone as a remedy for weight loss. However, it does suggest that it might help people following an RCD lose more weight.
Reducing blood pressure
Supporters of ACV claim that the vinegar may lower blood pressure. One small animal study investigated this claim. The study involved feeding either ACV or acetic acid to rats with high blood pressure. Acetic acid is the main therapeutic component of ACV.
The rats that received the acetic acid showed more significant reductions in blood pressure compared with the other rats. These rats also had lower levels of renin in the blood. Renin is an enzyme that is involved in increasing blood pressure.
The researchers suggest that the acetic acid in the vinegar was responsible for reducing renin levels, which in turn, caused the drop in blood pressure.
ACV may indirectly lower blood pressure by helping people lose weight. However, there is no evidence that ACV alone causes weight loss.
As a result, people who are concerned about weight or blood pressure should focus on dietary and lifestyle changes. People can also talk to their doctor about medical treatments.
Risks and side effects
For most people, ACV is safe in moderate doses. However, being an acid, drinking ACV may erode tooth enamel. It may also cause stomach discomfort, especially in people with a history of reflux or ulcers. Very high doses can injure the throat.
Because ACV can affect blood glucose levels, some people, including those who take insulin and those with a with a history of low blood sugar, should check with a doctor before taking ACV.
Most of the evidence for ACV side effects come from individual case reports rather than well controlled clinical trials. For this reason, doctors cannot be sure about which side effects a person might experience, or at what dosage.
As a result, it is essential to start with a low dose and monitor any side effects. People with chronic health conditions should see a doctor before trying ACV.
ACV supplements are available in a range of concentrations.
Most research on ACV has focused on its liquid form, and not on pills. As such, the ideal dosage is unclear.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have not approved ACV. Different manufacturers may sell the supplement in a range of concentrations. It is essential to follow the manufacturer's instructions and do not exceed the recommended dosage.
Many studies have looked at ACV dosages of around a tablespoon per day. Much higher dosages may increase the risk of side effects and injury.
ACV pills are generally safe for healthy people to use. They are not a replacement for medications to lower blood pressure or cholesterol. However, they may complement prescription medications and increase the effects of a healthful diet.
ACV also possesses antibacterial and antifungal properties, which may protect against certain bacterial and fungal infections.
As with all supplements, talk to a doctor who is knowledgeable about supplements before trying ACV pills.
Apple cider vinegar pills are available to purchase in stores and online.