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What Are the Side Effects of Apple Cider Vinegar?

Do you believe apple cider vinegar is a home remedy that can cure many ailments? My grandmother did. I still cringe when I think about that stuff because I hated the taste of it. She thought it was a cure for almost everything. I didn’t believe her. But I recently found out that her home remedy has a long history and a lot of believers.

Apple cider vinegar has been used for hundreds of years for a variety of reasons, including wartime wounds, regulating blood pressure and even to prevent dandruff. Some of these uses have proven to be beneficial and some claims are bogus.

What Is It Used For Today?

Today apple cider vinegar is used alone or with honey for weak bones, weight loss, leg cramps and pain, upset stomach, sore throats and sinus problems. It is also used for high blood pressure, arthritis, to help rid the body of toxins, stimulate thinking, slow the aging process, regulate blood pressure, reduce cholesterol, and fight infection.

So if you have one of these issues, you might want to try it. However, there are very few research based studies that can prove that it works.

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What Exactly Is Apple Cider Vinegar?

Apple cider vinegar is usually fermented juice from crushed apples. Like apple juice, it probably contains some pectin; vitamins B1, B2, and B6; biotin; folic acid; niacin; pantothenic acid; and vitamin C. It also contains small amounts of the minerals sodium, phosphorous, potassium, calcium, iron, and magnesium. Apple cider vinegar can also contain significant quantities of acetic acid and citric acid.

How Does it Work?

Apple cider vinegar might help lower blood sugar levels in people with diabetes by changing how foods get absorbed from the gut. Apple cider vinegar might prevent the breakdown of some foods.

Side Effects Depend Upon How Much You Take

According to Webmd.com, taking small amounts of apple cider is probably safe. But larger doses or long-term use of apple cider vinegar could have risks. Taking apple cider vinegar at full strength could erode the enamel of your teeth and burn your mouth and throat. It noted that women with osteoporosis should be wary of apple cider vinegar.

Used regularly, apple cider vinegar could reduce bone density. Because it can alter insulin levels, people with diabetes should not use apple cider vinegar without telling their doctors first. Also, people taking laxatives, diuretics, and medication for heart disease and diabetes should check with a doctor before using apple cider vinegar supplements.

Other Side Effects

Franziska Spritzler is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator who wrote recently in Authority Nutrition, an unbiased, independent scientific website. She noted these side effects:

Gastroparesis Symptoms Worsen:

Apple cider vinegar delays food leaving the stomach so it worsens the symptoms of Gastroparesis. Many diabetes patients suffer from this condition in which the nerves in the stomach don’t work properly. Symptoms of gastroparesis include heartburn, bloating and nausea.

Digestive Side Effects

Apple cider vinegar may help reduce appetite, but may also cause feelings of nausea, particularly when consumed as part of a drink with bad flavor. (I can attest to this personally.) Human and animal studies have found that apple cider vinegar and acetic acid may decrease appetite and promote feelings of fullness, leading to a natural reduction in calorie intake.

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Erosion of Tooth Enamel

Acidic foods and beverages have been shown to damage tooth enamel. The acetic acid in vinegar may weaken dental enamel and lead to loss of minerals and tooth decay.

Throat Burns in Children

Apple cider vinegar has the potential to cause esophageal (throat) burns and has caused throat burns in children. Acetic acid from vinegar was the most common acid that caused throat burns in children. Researchers recommended vinegar be considered a “potent caustic substance” and kept in childproof containers.

Skin Burns

Due to its strongly acidic nature, apple cider vinegar may also cause burns when applied to the skin. There have been reports of skin burns occurring in response to treating moles and infections with apple cider vinegar.

Drug Interactions

Some medications may interact with apple cider vinegar, including insulin, digoxin and certain diuretics.A few medications may interact with apple cider vinegar:

  • Diabetes medication: People who take insulin or insulin-stimulating medications and vinegar may experience dangerously low blood sugar or potassium levels.
  • Digoxin (Lanoxin): This medication lowers your blood potassium levels. Taking it in combination with apple cider vinegar could lower potassium too much.
  • Certain diuretic drugs: Some diuretic medications cause the body to excrete potassium. To prevent potassium levels from dropping too low, these drugs shouldn’t be consumed with large amounts of vinegar.
Special Precautions & Warnings
  • Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Not enough is known about the safety of using apple cider vinegar as medicine during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Stay on the safe side, and don’t use it. 
  • Diabetes: Apple cider vinegar might lower blood sugar levels in people with diabetes. Therefore, blood sugar levels need to be monitored closely. Dose adjustments may be necessary for diabetes medications that are taken.

How to Consume Apple Cider Vinegar Safely

Most people can safely consume reasonable amounts of apple cider vinegar by following these general guidelines:

  • Limit your intake: Start with a smaller amount and gradually work up to a maximum of 2 tablespoons (30 ml) per day, depending on your personal tolerance.
  • Minimize your tooth exposure to acetic acid: Try diluting the vinegar in water and drinking it through a straw.
  • Rinse your mouth: Rinse with water after taking it. To prevent further enamel damage, wait at least 30 minutes before brushing your teeth.
  • Be aware of allergies: Allergies to apple cider vinegar are rare, but stop taking it immediately if you experience an allergic reaction.

To consume apple cider vinegar safely, limit your daily intake, dilute it and avoid it if you have certain conditions.If you have any questions or comments, we look forward to hearing from you.

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About the author

Sabrina Wilson

Sabrina Wilson is a staff writer for the Organic Daily Post.

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