Apple cider vinegar (ACV) shots are small drinks that contain a mixture of ACV with another liquid. Some shots also contain other ingredients, such as spices or sweeteners.

Some research suggests that ACV has health benefits, such as promoting healthy cholesterol and blood glucose levels. However, drinking concentrated ACV can erode tooth enamel and irritate the esophagus, or food pipe.

To prevent side effects, people should limit their intake of ACV to 15 milliliters (ml) per day — equivalent to 1 tablespoon — and dilute it in a tall glass of water.

Keep reading to learn more about the benefits and risks of ACV shots, as well as how to take them safely and make them at home.

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ACV shots are small drinks that contain ACV, usually with a small amount of another liquid, such as a fruit juice or water.

It is possible to make ACV shots at home or purchase ready-made varieties in stores. Commercially available ACV shots sometimes contain other ingredients, which may include:

ACV is apple juice that has undergone fermentation twice. The first fermentation involves mixing apple juice with yeast and a carbohydrate. This changes the carbohydrates into alcohol. The second fermentation turns the alcohol into acetic acid, which gives ACV its acidity.

While there is some research about the potential health benefits of ACV in general, there is no research on the advantages of taking ACV as a shot. It is likely that it is no more beneficial than consuming ACV in other ways, such as in a glass of water or as an ingredient in foods, such as salad dressings.

For people who do not like the taste of ACV, it may be easier to drink as a shot.

ACV, more generally, may have some useful health benefits. Research suggests it may:

Improve cholesterol and glucose levels

High cholesterol and blood glucose are risk factors for several cardiovascular diseases. These conditions are a leading cause of premature death.

A 2021 review evaluated nine studies on the effects of ACV and found that the vinegar may promote healthier blood lipid and glucose levels. This may help people reduce the risk of cardiovascular conditions in combination with other interventions, such as a healthy diet.

However, the review notes that due to some limitations, people should interpret these findings with caution and that further research is necessary to confirm the effects. ACV is not a replacement for medical treatment.

Boost immunity

Bacterial strains are increasingly becoming resistant to antibiotics, so scientists are looking for alternatives to boost immunity and fight bacterial infections. With this intent, research in 2018 examined preliminary animal and test-tube studies on the antimicrobial effects of ACV.

It concluded that the vinegar has antimicrobial effects against Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus, and Candida albicans, as well as reducing inflammation during an infection. More research is necessary to understand if ACV can help reduce these microbes in humans.

Promote weight loss

One older study suggests that ACV may help promote weight loss. The small clinical trial from 2009 compared the effects of consuming 15 and 30 ml of the vinegar per day with taking a placebo.

Analysis of the results indicated that daily consumption of ACV may reduce weight, body mass index, belly fat, and waist circumference. Much more research is necessary to prove that ACV affects body weight in a larger population.

A 2020 review assessed the side effects of ACV intake and concluded that it is likely safe to take it within recommended limits. A 2021 paper states that the optimal intake is 15 ml per day (1 tbsp), which is the amount in many, but not all, shot recipes.

However, consuming ACV as a shot carries several health risks because of the high concentration of vinegar they contain. Small amounts of ACV with adequate dilution is necessary to avoid the following:

Erosion of tooth enamel

Research in 2020 assessed the effects of twice-daily consumption of 2 tbsp of apple cider vinegar mixed with 1 cup of water. At the conclusion of the 8-week experiment, the researchers found that the drink can erode tooth enamel.

Tooth enamel erosion is permanent and irreversible, so it is crucial to avoid practices that could cause it wherever possible.

Damage to esophagus

A 2019 case study documented a case of a teenager drinking an undiluted fermented vinegar drink every day for 1 month. This drink was strongly acidic, leading to acid burns in the esophagus.

While this is an isolated case, the authors of the study highlight that undiluted vinegar drinks are corrosive. Drinking them too frequently may damage the gastrointestinal tract.

Development of osteoporosis

Some evidence suggests that excessive ACV consumption can contribute to weak or brittle bones.

For example, an older 1998 case study reported that a female who drank 250 ml of ACV per day lost bone mineral density to the extent of developing osteoporosis.

While this is an extreme case, it is best for people to drink no more ACV than doctors recommend to avoid the risk of complications.

Although participants in the 2021 review consumed between 15–770 ml of ACV per day, the researchers determined that 15 ml per day is the optimal dose. This is equivalent to 1 tbsp.

For minimal risk, people should dilute 1 tbsp of ACV in a tall glass of water. Diluting in fruit juice is not as effective since fruit juice is also acidic.

For additional protection of the teeth, individuals can drink the ACV water through a straw. Rinse the mouth with plain water afterward.

Below are two ACV shot recipes people may wish to try. To protect the teeth, it is advisable to follow the instructions above for consuming ACV safely.

Apple and ginger

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp ACV
  • ¼ cup unsweetened fruit juice
  • a pinch of freshly grated ginger

Mix the ingredients together in a bowl or blender until incorporated.

Honey and spices

Ingredients:

  • 4 tbsp warm water
  • 1 tbsp honey or maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp ACV
  • pinch ground cinnamon or turmeric

Add the warm water and honey or maple syrup to a Mason jar and shake until it dissolves. Then add the other ingredients and stir.

ACV shots consist of vinegar mixed with another liquid, such as water or fruit juice. They are small in size and may have other ingredients, such as spices or sweeteners.

Some research indicates that ACV has some health benefits. It may help to reduce high cholesterol and regulate blood glucose levels. However, there is no particular benefit to taking ACV as a shot. Doing so may damage the teeth or throat due to the acidity of the mixture.

People who want to try ACV for its health benefits can minimize the chance of side effects by mixing no more than 1 tbsp of ACV in a tall glass of water. They may also wish to drink it through a straw.