I’ve heard a lot of hype about the many health benefits of apple cider vinegar which got me wondering is apple cider vinegar good for diabetics?
For centuries people have used apple cider vinegar in cooking and medicine.
We know that it contains antimicrobial and antioxidant properties.
It has even been suggested that it may be effective as a weight loss aid, reducing cholesterol levels, lowering blood sugar levels, and improving other diabetes symptoms.
There doesn’t seem to be a lot of research on this topic which means further studies are required before this could be considered as an alternative therapy.
What is apple cider vinegar?
Vinegar is produced by the fermentation of ethanol alcohol. Food and beverages that contain ethanol and can be used to make vinegar include grain alcohol, beer, champagne, grapes, berries, and apples.
With apple cider vinegar (ACV), yeast is used to break down the sugars in apples and convert them to alcohol. Once this occurs a bacterium called acetobacter converts the alcohol into acetic acid through fermentation.
It is the acetic acid that gives vinegar its familiar bitter, tangy flavor.
Interestingly, the word vinegar is derived from the French phrase vin aigre which when translated means sour wine.
ACV is antimicrobial
Apple cider vinegar is considered to be antimicrobial which simply means that it is quite similar to alcohol-based hand sanitizers that we all so often use, especially since the outbreak of COVID-19.
Keep in mind this is not the same as antibacterial agents which prevent the growth of bacteria.
Historically people have used vinegar for cleaning and disinfecting, treating lice, nail fungus, warts, and ear infections.
More than 200 years ago Hippocrates used vinegar to treat wounds.
Vinegar has also been used as a food preservative for many centuries.
Research has shown that ACV has a significant effect on three main types of bacteria.
These three include:
- Staphylococcus aureus
- Candida albicans
Never use ACV to treat any of these without first consulting with your healthcare professional.
However, ACV makes an effective all-natural household cleaner when mixed with water and is great for cleaning counters, bathrooms, and floors.
I prefer using my own preparation of ACV household cleaner in place of store-bought chemicals.
In my opinion, the fewer chemicals we are exposed to the better.
ACV contains probiotics
The raw, unfiltered, from the mother version of apple cider vinegar, contains dozens of beneficial bacteria that support a healthy gut.
When our gut is lacking the flora of healthy bacteria we can experience several negative health issues such as:
- insulin resistance
- diabetes (type 1 and 2)
ACV and diabetes
A 2018 research review states that there may be a connection between ACV and reduced blood glucose. This leads some to believe apple cider vinegar could be beneficial to diabetics in helping to manage blood glucose levels.
There are two types of diabetes:
- In type 1 diabetes the person can no longer produce insulin because the immune system has attacked and killed the insulin-producing cells within the pancreas. A type 1 diabetic will always need to take insulin shots several times a day.
- In type 2 diabetes occurs when the body becomes less efficient in using insulin to reduce blood glucose levels. This means less glucose is absorbed by the body leaving it to accumulate in the blood.
In both types of a diabetes diet is an important factor in controlling blood glucose levels.
While there is some evidence that ACV may help lower blood glucose levels much more research is required before any concrete determination can be made.
Any time you are considering alternative treatments it is important to work with your health care team and always follow their recommendations.
ACV and weight loss
In a report written by Robert H. Shmerling, MD, Senior Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing, Robert refers to several studies suggesting apple cider vinegar may be beneficial in weight loss.
He states that ACV has been used for centuries to improve strength, for detoxification, as an antibiotic(not currently), and even as a treatment for scurvy and weight loss.
A frequently quoted human study is a 2009 trial of 175 people who consumed a drink containing 0, 1, or 2 tablespoons of vinegar each day. Three months later, those who consumed vinegar lost 2-4 pounds and had lower triglyceride levels than those who drank no vinegar.
In a more recent study, 39 participants followed a restricted-calorie diet with apple cider vinegar or a restricted-calorie diet without apple cider vinegar for 12 weeks. Interestingly, both groups lost weight but the apple cider vinegar group lost more.
These results are certainly promising and very interesting.
Again always consult with your doctor before trying ACV as a weight loss aid especially if you are also diabetic.
What’s the downside?
There seems to be a little risk with taking natural remedies and many people just adopt a ‘let’s try it and see’ attitude. When it comes to using ACV there are a few things to keep in mind:
- Always dilute vinegar. It is highly acidic and could damage tooth enamel. Rather than sipping it straight dilute in a glass of water or mix with oil in a salad dressing
- It can cause or worsen low potassium levels. This is particularly important to people taking medications that can lower potassium levels such as common high blood pressure diuretics.
- Vinegar can alter insulin levels so diabetics need to be especially cautious.
- Some people experience nausea
Be sure to avoid ACV if you have any of the following:
- You have a history of stomach ulcers
- You have low potassium levels
- You have a history of bulimia
- You have any health or dental conditions in your mouth or throat (discuss with your doctor or dentist first!)
How to take ACV
Once you have discussed using \ACV with your doctor and you plan to go ahead and take it you should know-how.
The easiest way is to just dilute it in a glass of water and drink before meals or bedtime.
If it is your first time, start with a teaspoon and see how well you tolerate it.
Aim for 1-2 tablespoons per day but be sure not to exceed 2 tablespoons per day.
I prefer to mix it with oil and perhaps add a few herbs as a tasty salad dressing.
You can also purchase ACV capsules at your local pharmacy.
Is Apple Cider Vinegar Good for Diabetics?
While several studies have shown potential for using ACV as an aid in managing blood glucose levels for diabetics much more research is needed.
There have also been studies showing there may be a benefit to using ACV as a weight loss aid.
If you choose to take apple cider vinegar to aid in weight loss you can:
- dilute it in a glass of water to be taken before meals or at bedtime
- mix it with oil as a salad dressing
- purchase ACV capsules to take daily
Keep in mind apple cider vinegar is acidic and could damage tooth enamel, lower potassium levels, alter insulin levels, aggravate pre-existing conditions, or cause nausea in some people.
Always check with your health care provider before taking ACV and always follow their recommendations.
“I am not in any way a medical practitioner, please do not rely on the information on our website as an alternative to medical advice from your doctor or another healthcare provider. We only share our experiences.”
Have you tried apple cider vinegar?
Were your results what you thought they would be?
Share your experiences in the comment section below.