Apple cider vinegar (ACV) is one of the simplest, most inexpensive tools that should be in every home cupboard. This versatile secret weapon takes on bacteria, burns, scratches, blood sugar, sore throats, coughs, gallstones, cardiovascular health, hair, fungus, digestive challenges, and so much more.

What is ACV?

Apple cider vinegar is made by fermenting crushed apples and allowing them to ferment into an alcohol. Manufacturers then add bacteria to further ferment the alcohol so that it turns into acetic acid. Acetic acid is the key component of vinegar, giving it the sour smell and flavor. Most vinegars are usually 4%-7% acetic acid. Cider and wine vinegars are 5%-6% acetic acid.

But what makes ACV better than other vinegars? According to Relias Media,

…apple cider vinegar also contains organic acids (acetic acid, citric acid, formic acid, lactic acid, malic acid, and succinic acids) and phenolic compounds (gallic acid, catechin, epicatechin, chlorogenic acid, caffeic acid, and p-coumaric acid).

This humble little vinegar sure packs a punch, even beyond the smell!

Blood Sugar, Diabetes, and Weight Loss

Numerous studies have shown the benefit of ACV for insulin resistance and blood sugar concerns. These findings can offer hope and alternatives for those who’ve struggled with concerns, especially people who want to start taking care of their body before there is a major health crisis.

In a 2004 study, participants were given a meal of a white bagel, butter, and orange juice. They were then given 4 teaspoons of ACV. In insulin resistant participants, insulin levels decreased, and insulin sensitivity increased.

Other studies looked at other variables, including fasting glucose rates, increased satiety, which also may help in weight loss, as well as ovulatory function in women with PCOS. These studies point to the need for ACV to be taken seriously as a possible addition to the wellness toolbox of diabetic patients.

Digestion

ACV has long been used by those plagued by heartburn, acid reflux, GERD, diarrhea, vomiting, and a host of other digestive maladies. ACV has a similar pH to stomach acid. Many people believe the cause of heartburn and acid reflux has to do with too much acid in the stomach. Unfortunately, that just isn’t true. Typically, it stems from not having enough stomach acid! By taking ACV, you can help the stomach have the acid needed to function properly. Stomach acid helps break down food so that the nutrients extracted from the foods are available to the gut at the proper time. The timing of how the stomach empties and how well food is sterilized is also crucial to digestive health and requires the right amount of acid. When everything is functioning properly, this also helps reduce gas and bloating.

Without the proper amount of acid, or the proper pH, you wouldn’t be able to kill off the microbes on your food. After all, even whole, organic food has the potential to carry microbes if not prepared properly, and may end up triggering the immune system in the small intestines. While our gut is prepared to handle microbes and pathogens, if this situation happens in the wrong organ, it can trigger a cascade of dysfunction, including SIBO (small intestinal bacterial growth) and other conditions.

Gallbladder

Gallstones are hard substances that are usually formed from excess cholesterol or bilirubin which the bile of the gallbladder wasn’t able to sufficiently breakdown. These pieces can range from pebble size to much larger and cause significant pain and discomfort. Typically, the only solution given by many doctors is to remove the gallbladder, however, that results in no bile storage to help aid in digestion.

Studies have shown that ACV can reduce total cholesterol found in the blood. With less cholesterol in the bloodstream, there is less risk of excess to build up, causing problems in the gallbladder.

Circulation, Coughs, and Cramps

Apple cider vinegar is a natural vasodilator. Vasodilators encourage the muscles of the walls of arteries and veins to open (dilate) so that blood can flow more easily. With blood flowing easier, the heart doesn’t have to work as hard, which resulting in lower blood pressure. This phenomenon can also help in reducing coughs and cramps as blood flow increases and muscles relax.

an info graphic displaying the benefits of ACV

Body Odor

Body odor can be embarrassing for many people. ACV’s antibacterial properties help it neutralize the bacteria that cause odors and prevent more from growing on your skin by raising the pH. Simply apply on clean arm pits and allow to dry before putting a shirt on. It may smell a bit vinegary at first, but as soon as it dries, the odor will go away.

Apple Cider Vinegar works on stinky feet as well!

Warts, Skin Tags, and Moles

The malic acid and tartaric acids in ACV work together to dissolve moles and skin tags. When ACV is applied with a cotton ball and held in place with a bandage, it starts to break down the mole or tag until it simply falls off.

Warts work similarly; however, they are also caused by viruses. ACV, more specifically the acetic acid in apple cider vinegar, kills many types of bacteria and viruses on contact. The vinegar slowly breaks down the infection in the skin and causes the wart to fall off. Using a cotton ball soaked in ACV and a bandage to hold it in place works well here, too. Warts can be stubborn, and you may have to change the bandage and cotton ball several times to achieve results.

More Skincare and Hair

ACV has antibacterial and antifungal properties. It has been shown to be beneficial in helping keep skin abrasions clean and healing sunburn. Be sure to dilute it with water to reduce burning and increase hydration and relief. The acid in ACV also takes the sting out of bug bites and reduces the risk of an infection by keeping them clean.

Apple cider vinegar has also been shown to be a helpful hair rinse, serving as a healthy alternative to shampoo. ACV also helps balance the pH of the scalp to reduce dandruff.

Don’t Forget About The Vitamins And Minerals!

Not only is ACV great at helping to maintain function, it contains several vitamins and nutrients the body needs as well. AVC is loaded with B vitamins from B1, B2, B6, biotin (B7), the natural, easy to use form of what is commonly known as folic acid (B9), niacin (B3), pantothenic acid (B5), and vitamin C. All B vitamins help convert carbohydrates, fats, and proteins into the proper fuel and building blocks the body uses. Vitamin C is legendary in its function in the immune system as well as reducing inflammation and the effects of free radicals.

It isn’t just vitamins; apple cider vinegar also contains minerals that support healthy function: sodium, potassium, calcium, iron, and magnesium. These minerals, with the exception of iron, are known as electrolytes. Many are familiar with the electrolyte market for athletes, especially in the form of those unhealthy, brightly colored, sugary drinks. But what do they actually do? According to Medline Plus, part of the NIH:

Electrolytes are minerals in your body that have an electric charge. They are in your blood, urine, tissues, and other body fluids. Electrolytes are important because they help:

  • Balance the amount of water in your body

  • Balance your body’s acid/base (pH) level

  • Move nutrients into your cells

  • Move wastes out of your cells

  • Make sure that your nerves, muscles, the heart, and the brain work the way they should

While iron isn’t an electrolyte; it has an important task list as well. Iron supports the red blood cells that carry oxygen throughout the body. This is why when iron is low, fatigue is usually high. That’s not all; iron also plays a role in gastrointestinal processes, the immune response, and helping maintain and regulate body temperature.

Not All Vinegar is Created Equal!

ACV has gained so much popularity in recent years, that it is now available nearly anywhere you can find basic, white vinegar! To get the full, nutritional benefits, be sure to get organic, raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar with “the mother.” The mother is the name given to the good bacteria used to turn the fermented apple cider into vinegar. It typically has a cloudy, somewhat stringy appearance. Don’t let that throw you; it is composed of probiotics and enzymes. Just turn the bottle upside down a time or two to mix well and get all that goodness mixed into the bottle before pouring yourself a shot.

ACV can assist in many health and wellness concerns. If you feel your body isn’t functioning properly and could use some support, check in with a Wellness Way practitioner. We can help you determine which method of support would benefit your body best. We do health differently!