Can Apple Cider Vinegar Fix All Your Problems?

Kate Chynoweth
by Kate Chynoweth
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Can Apple Cider Vinegar Fix All Your Problems?

Spring cleaning isn’t just for closets. After months of cold weather and cravings for rich meals, our bodies deserve a reset. Thanks in part to an ever-expanding selection of health drinks, this question burns as intensely for some as a teaspoon of ACV (diluted in water) on a sore throat. Rumors are its health benefits include everything from increased energy and weight loss to improved digestion. Yet many of the claims associated with it remain unproven, so let’s to take a closer look at the trend.


Unpasteurized apple cider vinegar is rich in enzymes and probiotics, much like other raw fermented liquids such as kombucha. Probiotics aid digestion, keep us “regular” and prevent bloating (as yogurt commercials have informed us for years). Yet those benefits only are gained if you ingest the raw stuff sold by all-natural producers such as Bragg, because pasteurization kills probiotic strains. You’ll know you’ve hit the jackpot when you see cobwebby strands of the “mother” floating in your bottle of amber liquid. If you’re looking for a way to wake up and energize your digestion, a morning shot of apple cider vinegar might make sense.


Raw apple cider vinegar also contains acetic acid, which research shows can help block starch absorption. This can directly benefit pre-diabetics because blood sugar may be less likely to spike if you consume vinegar before a starchy meal. A related claim is that vinegar “increases energy levels” by stopping blood sugar spikes cold — but for the general population, however, this is a bit of an exaggeration. Scientific evidence shows only a very slight beneficial effect on non-pre-diabetic subjects. Likewise, studies have shown ingesting apple cider vinegar helped protect mice from the ill effects of high-fat diets by improving blood-sugar levels and cholesterol. Unfortunately, replicating these results in humans has been elusive.


As a key feature of many cleanse diets, apple cider vinegar is also touted as a great way to combat “toxic overload” — a vague diagnosis which purportedly threatens all of us who enjoy happy hour, dessert or both. However, the claim that apple cider vinegar cleanses the liver of “sludge” or toxins is more anecdotal than scientific. Similarly, the notion that apple cider vinegar can melt fat or promote weight loss isn’t backed by hard facts. It’s certainly plausible that adding a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar to 8 ounces of water can suppress appetite — but one study concluded this resulted mainly from nausea caused by consuming highly acidic vinegar. (It’s also worth noting that drinking 8 ounces of plain water before a meal can dull appetite as well, with zero vinegar added.)


“Sour” is one of the more polite words that can be used to describe drinking undiluted raw apple cider vinegar. But that’s exactly what fans of the stuff have done for years, taking a spoonful straight, every single morning. A gentler option is to mix it with 8 ounces of water, lemon juice and a bit of stevia.

Does this mean you should start guzzling? Probably not. Most health experts caution against overdoing it with apple cider vinegar, since it has the potential to negatively affect tooth enamel and irritate your stomach lining. In small doses, however, it might be well worth integrating into any healthy lifestyle.

Originally published March 2018

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About the Author

Kate Chynoweth
Kate Chynoweth

Kate’s writing about food and lifestyle has appeared in The Huffington Post, Live Happy, Real Simple and Sunset. She’s also the author of “Lemons,” “The Bridesmaid Guide” and other books. She lives in Berkeley, California, where she enjoys lowbrow pop culture and top-shelf booze.


89 responses to “Can Apple Cider Vinegar Fix All Your Problems?”

  1. Avatar ~ Samantha Marie ~ says:

    Totally forgot to mention how fabulous ACV is helping with congestion. Any time I feel something coming on, have a cold or catching the flu, I put this in some (honey-ginger-lemon-pepper) tea – or take a shot every few hours if I’m feeling desperate. Currently taking atm for my stuffiness 🙂

    • Avatar Cody says:

      I usually find apple cider vinegar goes down better when chased by a bushel of Maryland blue crabs and a few Yuengling lagers. I can’t smell the stuff without thinking about the little buggers. Better stay away from it while on this diet thing. Just to be safe.

    • Avatar Adamant says:

      Because the claim is anecdotal. It actually is addressed and dismissed. A folk remedy is not a medical treatment since it has not been verified for efficacy. It works for you which is fine but it could be you are simply drinking more water and resting along mis-attributing symptoms to viruses infections without verifying said infection happened.

      Like your current stuffiness/symptoms may be a seasonal allergy, not a virus.

      • Avatar I am Stewie says:

        What are your credentials for your claims? You are disputing others’ claims with a wave of your hand.

        • Avatar JNick says:

          By the nature of her claim, it is purely anecdotal, i.e. “it works for me when…” versus having any scientific backing, i.e. “this study has shown….” – so stating it is anecdotal with no efficacy is not dismissing a claim but rather objectively identifying what he claim is.

        • Avatar John Dorwin says:

          Everything this person said is credible.

    • Avatar Amy says:

      I also use it for sinus issues (stuffy or runny nose). Clears me up quickly. My in laws use it for the same thing. I just use it in water.

  2. Avatar Sarah Gabert says:

    WARNING: I took ACV every morning for a year, it was phenomenal! BUT then I got really into body building and it fricken sucks! It makes me dizzy and have weird out of body (lazy dreary) moods. I don’t know how it’s absorbed into the body, all I know had a much higher fat percentage in my body before. But damn I’ve almost past out in recent months because of this stuff. I have a hunch it causes low blood pressure but I’m not sure! Also I cannot stress how it’s not good to drink it on it’s own. 1oz/1Tbsp ACV – 1/2 cup water. If you try to take it as a shot repetitively you will end up burning your throat and damaging your teeth. Just watch out ACV was amazing for me in the beginning but it’s now a toxin.

    • Avatar james pogrebetsky says:

      Yes. But what happened after you stopped taking it. What makes you think that the ONE single variable is what’s causing your issues?

  3. Avatar Molly says:

    Echo the comment below on the damaging effects of drinking ACV on its own and would advise the author to only mention drinking this when diluted in water. Shots of ACV can ruin tooth enamel and irritate the esophagus.

    • Avatar Chris says:

      Yeah do not drink ACV undiluted and for good measure rinse your mouth out with water even after drinking ACV diluted.

  4. Avatar NorthMSReb says:

    My wife was having a problem with a feeling of bloating and a lack of “being regular”. She had been to a gastroenterologist and had an endoscopy and colonoscopy, and she was prescribed some meds that didn’t help. She has recently started taking a diluted shot of ACV “with the mother” daily. Her bloating has been relieved, and she is “regular” again! I’m a believer!

  5. Avatar BK Jackson says:

    I do not use it constantly nor do I take it straight. When I do use it, I mix a couple teaspoons in a liter of water and drink throughout the day. For me I found it beneficial in reducing sugar cravings but when I used it too frequently it seemed to lower my pH levels too much (do not know if that’s the case, but that’s how it felt). ACV is a great tool–as with anything–when used in moderation.

  6. I started having flare ups of Interstitial Cystitis after doing the ACV for several days. Apparently the acidity and my bladder don’t get along. For those unfamiliar with this, my bladder would ache, much different than a UTI.

  7. Avatar Kristi Goldsberry says:

    I am using the vinegar right now to balance out my gut and to try to lose that extra weight. I agree with almost all of your points. However, I have always been told that vinegar is not acidic when it hits the gut. It actually does the opposite. So I am confused now. Does vinegar act as a base or acid when it hits the stomach? BTW, I am taking the capsules now because they are easier to go down. Any research on the capsules?

  8. Avatar Mack says:

    My thinking…and my use – I was having digestive issues manifesting themselves as severe indigestion. It was so bad that at one time my cardio-surgeon uncle made me go in to a cardiologist for all the tests just to be sure it wasn’t heart related. I was taking antacids like candy and could not relieve the pain constantly for months on end. Finally tried ACV – just a tablespoon in water with some honey. This provided immediate and lasting relief. After that and some research I implemented the following: Reduced my water intake around meals – water dilutes digestive juices in the stomach, and began eating less and more slowly. IF and when I have any issue (maybe once every 2-3 months now), I take the ACV. No more antacids or problems.

    • Avatar cathy says:

      how much water do you use and how much honey? I’ve been trying raw lemon juice, and it doesn’t mask the ACV enough – ugh.

      • Avatar Roady says:

        I put a few ounces of warm water in a mug, a splash of ACV and a squirt of honey and stir it up. I used to suffer through without the honey, so now any honey makes it seem delicious! Ha ha.

        • Avatar Monica says:

          Add some cayenne pepper is how I do it with honey and ACV mix with the water. Somebody told me to also add cinnamon also but haven’t tried it yet.

      • Avatar Leanne says:

        A herbal tea bag of your choice helps mask the flavour.

  9. Avatar Shirley Mazzei says:

    I took it an broke out with a rash all over my arms. They itched so bad, I quit taking it an it took over a week for my skin to clear up. I can still see spots on my arms from the rash. Not to mention the heartburn that came with it. I will stick to diet an exercise

  10. Avatar Leonard I. says:

    I’ve used this for Heartburn. 3 Table spoons or a shot glass, when I know i’m going to eat foods that trigger heartburn, and one gulp it’s gone. There are times I take it after eating and it works the same.

  11. Avatar Foundstar says:

    Had a ‘Regularity ‘ issue and nothing seemed to work except laxatives and stuff…Started a Tblspoon of ‘Mothers’ Vinegar mixed with a shot of Kefir…Gazumba!! Now every morning..Greatest way to ‘start’ the day…

    • Avatar Doobie says:

      I just want to say it worked wonders for me. I am a prediebetic and my A1C numbers were high at a 7.0. I was taking the prescribed medicine and changed my diet and numbers were still at a 6.6. A friend mentioned he stopped his medicine and started taking ACV(1tbs) in the morning and before bed. So I did the same. At my next doctor visit, my A1C was down to a 5.8. I wasn’t even taking the one that had the “Mother’s” just the regular Heinz. Say what you want about test, I am proof it works.

  12. Avatar Charlie Barton says:

    My wife gives me ACV every morning. 1TBS per cup of hot water. She adds honey, cinnamon and fresh lemon peel.

  13. Avatar TJ Strout says:

    I drink a gallon a day. I still have tons of problems.

  14. Avatar Neal Mathisen says:

    Everything I’ve read says all vinegars have the same effect to varying degrees, use vinaigrette on a salad before dinner, same thing. There is no scientific basis in using ACV, just anecdotes.

  15. Avatar Chef Pharrell says:

    I have used this for years. Trader Joe’s has it’s own brand of Mother’s Apple Cider Vinegar. Not sure about “Solving all my problems” but it’s great for digestion. Just one teaspoon a day, keeps the acid reflux away. OM I did my first culinary rhyme, it’s gonna be a great day!!

  16. Avatar donnadee says:

    I simply cannot abide the taste, so when I have heartburn (which is very seldom since I started using it) I drink a gulp or two of pickle juice. Contains vinegar, and it works perfectly within minutes.

  17. Avatar Tankster says:

    I guess small doses for some people helps them in various ways. Be careful of over use as it causes liver damage in excess. It also stops digestion the same way alcohol does. The liver has to process it first, or so I read.

  18. Avatar donnafaz says:

    Great article! Thanks for the information!

  19. Avatar Jane Kemp says:

    A spoonful of ACV in a cup of water helps when I have nausea.

  20. Avatar Adamant says:

    Thank you for calling out ACV diets for the baseless woo it is. It sets my teeth on edge every time I see people passing around anecdotal claims being sold as hard evidence that is can not only be used as a diet aid but treatment for diseases from colds to genetic disorders. There are people who shouldn’t be consuming it let alone in the ways or quantities I’ve seen some quack recipes direct and they really should go to a doctor or at least a studied dietician.

  21. Avatar JPNWV says:

    Good For Kidney Stones & Hair

  22. Avatar Oregunner says:

    I put 1 tablespoon in about 8 oz. of water with 1/4 teaspoon of ground ginger and 1 level teaspoon of artificial sweetener, before having dinner.

  23. Avatar Mary says:

    The AVC did wonders for me, not only lost 45 pounds .. I also got rid of menstrual cramps and constipation issues… loved it ! ( I use it diluted in water)

  24. Avatar Sal says:

    My good friend was a big believer in apple cider vinegar. She just died after a brief battle with pancreatic cancer, so no thanks.

  25. Avatar Ives007 says:

    I’ve tried it for my acid reflux. It doesn’t help. A probiotic pill that also has digestive enzymes has helped me more with digestion problems. If acid reflux can burn the lining of your esophagus and leave you open to possible throat cancer, I don’t see how swallowing an acid wouldn’t have the same effect. I don’t believe all the hype. Soon they will be saying how bad it is for you, just like they’ve done with coconut oil and other “supposedly healthy” stuff. When they want to increase the sales of a particular product, they market the hell out of it. One of the best ways is to tell people how healthy it is for you with no real research to back it up or research paid by the maker of the product.

    • Avatar Marijka Walker says:

      Actually, apple cider vinegar and lemons are alkaline in the body, though other types of vinegar are not.

  26. Avatar Captain says:

    Inititally I got ACV after a specialist at my pet store recommended I use it under my giant dogs neck/above his chest as it was disgusting & had an odor. It works wonders on him so I tried it diluted with water. It is definitely an acquired taste but i love it. havent done too many studies with it, but its not hurting me so….

  27. Avatar Roady says:

    I take a bit daily and ever since I started, I very rarely get sick with a cold (I became an elementary teacher and get exposed a lot. At first I was sick all the time, but once I started taking ACV, I stayed healthy.) On the other hand, my dad tried it and felt that his joints hurt a lot when he was taking it. Do what works for you.

  28. Avatar Jeanette says:

    I used to take this daily and really liked my results, but had a hard time taking it on an empty stomach first thing in the morning as that is what I had read to do. I would have much better luck taking this later in the evening and staying consistent. Does anyone know if that is as effective?

  29. Avatar james pogrebetsky says:

    Why are you using alkaline water AND apple cider vinegar? You do know that those cancel each other out, right?

    • Avatar George Harrison says:

      To the contrary, they aid one another. Apple cider vinegar is very alkalining to the body. I know it seems like it wouldn’t be but it is. Happy trails!

  30. Avatar Ann Lefford Williams says:

    Can anyone recommend the best Apple Cider Vinager Product please ?

  31. Avatar Mary Ogden Fersner says:

    I had a bad cough for almost four years. Four to five doctors later, not one came up with a diagnosis until my allergist–grasping at straws because he’d tried everything in his wheelhouse–suggested my cough may be a result of “invisible reflux.” I started taking antacids and they helped for a time, but I was still coughing intensely. A friend then told me about Bragg’s, or more precisely, ACV. I had some just regular ACV in the fridge, came home, drank some in a solution with water and THAT SAME NIGHT my cough lessened. I was sold. I knew Bragg’s would be better and I’ve been on it ever since. My cough is very nearly non-existent now. I’m so thankful.

  32. Avatar Lucille says:

    Because taking antidepressants I’ve gained weight . I have complained to my psychiatrist and there’s no magic wand . Should I try the ACV ?

  33. Avatar Antony Edwards says:

    Great blog about the effects of acv. Another one of many that I have read supplied by Myfitness pal.

    I expected to come across a hard sell but all you get is either hard facts backed by research, or suggestions, where research is inconclusive.


  34. Avatar Gillian Corrigan says:

    ACV is also very good for gout sufferers as it combats uric acid which causes grout. Concentrated black cherry juice has also been proven to help rid the body of uric acid.

  35. Avatar Isher Bamrah says:

    As an I Shall suffer and quick weight loss action, I took 2tbs of ACV with 2tbs of water for about 6 weeks daily and found that I was going regularly and it did assist the weight loss (couldn’t say how exactly). It was going great but then started to feel weak in the bones, lifting every day items where causing aches and pains in my joints. I’m in my 30s so shouldn’t experience this. The only change I had made was the ACV so I did some research and found that other people experienced similar side effects but over more prolonged periods of time. Apparently its the acid intake can get quite high and impact bone density. There are no facts on this that I could find but what I gather from experience. It certainly had a good short term result by reducing my bloatedness and got me going regularly but long-term I couldn’t live by it.

  36. Avatar Nicholas Laing says:

    Isnt ACV acidic? How the hell is it relieving ppl of acid reflux then?

  37. Avatar Nicholas Laing says:

    Why are there such a thing a ‘antacids’ and why does the rest of the world use bases to counter acid reflux then?

  38. Avatar Lex says:

    I am a fan of ACV and drink it every day. Personally I have found that it works better with about 40% raw honey at a tablespoon of combined Braggs ACV & honey in 400 mls of cold water. I find this a refreshing drink in summer and have it when I’m looking for that bit of a kick from a drink. After taking it daily for around 2 months all of arthritic pain and stiffness disappeared. On occasions that I have stopped taking my ACV mixture I have noticed my knuckles start to stiffen which is a reminder to keep taking it. I find it settles my stomach when it doesn’t feel the best. I use body feeling/awareness as my guiding principle as reactions for me are positive. I’m confident it reduces inflammatory response/acidity within my body which underpins disease. I also accept the placebo effect of our belief system which may be why I’ve had the success in improving my health and wellbeing.

  39. Avatar Mika says:

    I take organic unfiltered ACV almost daily. 2 tbs + 1 tsp Lime juice + dash of Himalayan mineral salt, mixed with 18oz of water. Among other minor benefits, no sugar cravings any more

  40. Avatar Kevin says:

    I am pro ACV. Great results so far, but I would also like to point out ACV is an anti-coagulant. I am on blood thinners and drinking diluted ACV just in the mornings to help with my fast doubled my INR in just 5 days. So if you are in the same boat as me please be careful and be sure to get your INR checked to make sure you are still at therapeutic levels and not at the point where it could be dangerous.

  41. Avatar Cynthia Caudill says:

    If you are type A blood is not good for you. Avoid it.

  42. Avatar Sonny Novak says:

    I am diabetic (type 2). I also was taking lansprozole (Prevacid) daily for 17 years. About a year ago my Vida nutritionist sent me an article about ACV for my diabetes. I decided to try ACV capsules (no taste). I saw an immediate reduction in my blood sugar level. The article also mentioned anecdotal evidence that ACV helps with acid reflux. I decided to test that by replacing the Prevacid with additional doses of ACV…2 capsules 3 times a day…it worked. I have not taken Prevacid regularly in more than a year. Perhaps once every week or two if my reflux acts up. I can also use additional ACV on these occasions. My son has also been able to replace his acid reflux medicine with ACV! Recommend ACV with no reservations!!

  43. Avatar Beatriz Soltero says:

    After watching this tv show, my husband and I take two tablespoons of ACV diluted in vitamin C every morning. Our total cholesterol dropped dramatically as well as triglycerides. Very effective. No cons until now after a few months.

  44. Avatar Connie Bea Campbell says:

    how do the pills compare?

  45. Avatar Darrell Drake says:

    It did seem to help my weight loss. An unanticipated side effect of having lemon juice (acidic) + apple cider vinegar (also acidic) mice with some water every day was accelerated tooth decay. After about 6 months of doing this, I got my first cavity in my entire 47 year old life!

  46. Avatar Jay Swigart says:

    The bottom line is, try it for yourself. I tried ACV and all it ever gave me was a sore throat.

    • Avatar A. Jennings says:

      Yes I have been using ACV for about 5 months and I also got a sore throat. I really wasn’t sure it was the ACV but I stopped using it and my throat got better than I got burning mouth syndrome, which I looked up online and I think it might of been the acid in the ACV. My tongue aches all the time now. Especially when I eat something salty or spicy. Just kind of giving it a break. But I do think it helped maintained my weight.

  47. Avatar Jon Finch says:

    ACV is a cure all. I’ve used it several times to cure several things.

  48. Avatar Karen says:

    I have never ingested ACV for its medical benefits (though I probably will start as needed), but I can say it’s been a life saver when used topically. I have some sort of skin issue on my foot that seems to be fungal, but doesn’t test fungal and doesn’t improve with fungal creams. I’ve seen multiple dermatologists and podiatrists, and tried several different prescription creams and gels for it and no one seems to be able to diagnose it. I never got any relief until trying ACV, so now I soak it in diluted ACV at night and I’ve seen much improvement. I’m a believer!

    • Avatar katsza says:

      Topically it is great, for some. It works well with my biochemistry – I use it (diluted of course) to make a facial mask and toner and a hair rinse once a week. I’ve never tried it on a fungal infection, but rely on oregano and thyme vulgaris EOs for that (diluted of course). I also will take it in the morning for a week once a month, or before and after heavy meals and it helps my digestive comfort levels. It eases and helps, not cures – like all natural remedies. Some remedies & meds work for some, some don’t. It is trial and error; just as when your doctor prescribes a medicine that may not work for you but has done wonders for others. We are all different. And who cares if its a placebo effect if it gets results and does no harm. Just keep your doctor informed of all your naturopath choices, especially if suffering from severe illness. If your doctor isn’t informed, try to find one who is if you are making major lifestyle choices like relying on naturopathic medicine. If they try to tell you it’s all bunk but try pushing the latest pretty pill, find a new doctor immediately.

      • Avatar Monica says:

        Well said this isn’t a cure but if it does help with the relief and it doesn’t hurt you great. In my opinion the natural way is better as long as it’s not hurting you. You will be surprise what is out there. I know now why my grandparents did certain things and we didn’t know why but we are figuring out it is better and healthier for us.

  49. Avatar Jeff Kappen says:

    I have been doing the Apple Cider vinegar for 2 years now. It has helped me with my Blood pressure and my joint pain. I do 2 TBS of ACV and 1 TBS lemon juice 1 TBS of real honey and on tea bag of green tea in 10 ounces of hot water.

  50. Avatar Krinj says:

    Just waiting for one scientific study to be referenced…

  51. Avatar Mica Jones says:

    It’s good stuff but please use it safely and dilute it! Otherwise you can seriously damage your throat.
    Author should edit this post.

  52. Avatar Laurence Mitchell says:

    I used to take ACV thinking it helps perhaps it did perhaps it doesn’t first thing in the morning to help with my digestive issues. But I have concerns given to me by a friend who is an oncologist that I might be doing myself more harm than good pendant on my blood group that I am yet to find out officially. But I thought in the past it helped. I don’t take it every day as I find a pint of warm water first thing in the morning sometimes relieves my gastric problems if like magic so I have a tendency these days to begin with a drink of warm water and if that doesn’t do the trick then take ACV. I have not used topically but will give it a try to see if it affects my fungal infection on my feet that has been very persistent over the years. I do use ACV in my soups but more so to add to the taste.

  53. Avatar Kjetil Mæland says:

    The moment you use the term “Detox” you disqualify yourself from giving any kind of health advice.

  54. Avatar Jason Langdon says:

    Detoxing magic bullet? You mean, like exlax, it gives you diarrhea. Great way to lose weight. crap everything out before it gets digested.

    ACV goes down easier if the sink isn’t clogged up. Just on screw the cap and pour it down the drain. Please recycle the bottle.

  55. Avatar desertguardsman says:

    I’ve been using ACV as part of a daily cleanse now for two months along with other lifestyle changes and seeing fantastic results. I’m not changing a routine now that is working for me.

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