Nothing exists in a vacuum. Our bodies are complex organisms that are constantly moving, with chemicals acting and interacting.
Sometimes substances work synergistically, bringing out the best in each other. Other times, they work antagonistically, making something that’s generally beneficial harmful instead.
Apple cider vinegar (ACV) can be used to promote optimal health, from skin and hair to proper digestion and weight loss. It can even fight deadly inflammation, heal bruises, and even kill cancer. For some, the whole body effect of apple cider vinegar is better than any medication.
When mixed with some pharmaceuticals or supplements, however, there are a number of potential side effects and drug interactions to consider.
Apple Cider Vinegar Side Effects: Contraindications for ACV
If you are taking any medication at all, it’s a good idea to consult with your healthcare provider or nutritionist to ensure no adverse reactions with any dietary supplement, including ACV.
Note: Vinegar used in cooking is fine because it’s diluted in the jumble of your stomach contents. When used alone in larger amounts as a supplement, however, the backdrop changes.
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The following are medications and conditions that are known to interacts with apple cider vinegar. Some interactions are quite serious, and will cancel out any health benefits.
1. Diabetes Medication
ACV can effectively regulate blood glucose, reducing sugar levels and stimulating insulin production. (1) If you’re taking an insulin injection or insulin-stimulating medication for diabetes, however, blood sugar can go down too far too fast.
In addition, potassium levels may significantly decrease with ACV, which has further implications for heart and muscle function and proper digestion.
Further, ACV slows the rate at which food is released from the stomach into the lower digestive tract and subsequently into the bloodstream. This is the mechanism for how ACV is effective in moderating blood glucose. (2)
Combined with diabetes medication, this may result in hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar.
Gastroparesis is a common consequence of type 1 diabetes in which the nerves in the stomach are dulled and digestion slows. Taking ACV if you have gastroparesis slows down digestion too much, making it extremely difficult to regulate blood sugar levels. (3)
That being said, if you are have pre-diabetes (insulin resistance), taking apple cider vinegar can help lower blood sugar levels in the body without relying on medication. Talk to your doctor to rule out drug interactions with other medications you may be on.