Made from fermented apples, ACV has been used to support human health for millennia. Drinking apple cider vinegar is even an increasingly popular health trend. An interesting and unexpected way to use apple cider vinegar is to regulate blood sugar; this is especially important for people with type 2 diabetes and pre-diabetes.
It’s estimated that almost 400 million people worldwide have diabetes. (1) Add to that an increasing number of people with “pre-diabetes” (higher-than-normal blood sugar levels) and it’s estimated that the number will rise to more than 470 million people by 2030. (2)
Drinking Apple Cider Vinegar for Diabetes
A 1995 study showed that when vinegar is taken with a meal (in this case, in the form of salad dressing), it significantly regulated the body’s glycemic response to the ingestion of other foods—including bread. (3) Another study affirmed this finding, further showing a delay in insulin response and increased satiety after eating a meal with bread and vinegar. (4) (Note that this also has implications for weight loss.)
These and other studies prompted researchers to investigate the effect of taking apple cider vinegar at night before bed to see how it would affect the morning’s blood glucose level in people with type 2 diabetes.
Hyperglycemia (too much blood sugar) experienced while fasting (e.g., sleeping) is common in people with type 2 diabetes. It occurs due to liver dysfunction (when the organ doesn’t synthesize blood sugar properly). What the study found is that the acetic acid in vinegar effectively regulated the synthesis of glucose in the liver and skeletal muscles, “which may benefit diabetic individuals with metabolic disturbances contributing to a pre-breakfast rise in fasting glucose (also known as the ‘dawn phenomenon’).” (5)
By slowing the breakdown of carbohydrates, the blood sugar level becomes more stable, reducing the spikes that stimulate insulin production. (6)
Other Ways to Use ACV
Organic, raw, unfiltered ACV is a mild acid. When ingested, it triggers metabolic functions that regulate the body’s pH balance to make it more alkaline. The optimal pH balance for the human body is slightly alkaline; too acidic or too alkaline and we become an open door to disease and infection. (7) Topically, ACV naturally kills bacteria on contact, so drinking ACV can greatly improve immunity.
1. Sore Throat
Its antibacterial nature makes ACV a potent remedy for a sore throat. Combined with ginger and honey, you get the benefits of powerful anti-inflammatories. Cayenne pepper, on the other hand, contains capsaicin, an anti-inflammatory anesthetic.
Mix together all ingredients and drink in sips:
- 1 tablespoon ACV
- 2 tablespoons warm water
- 1 tablespoon raw honey
- ¼ teaspoons ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoons cayenne pepper
Vinegars of different varieties have shown anti-tumor activity in cancers throughout the body. While not fully understood, acetic acid retards cancer cell growth and proliferation, possibly thanks to its anti-inflammatory capacities. In addition, ACV is antioxidant-rich, reducing oxidative stress in the body—a precursor to cancer. (8, 9)
What does it mean to detoxify? Our bodies are engaged in a never-ending process to turn food into fuel and nourishment, and purge waste. Toxins absorbed through food, personal care products, and the environment make this task increasingly formidable. Vitamins, minerals, and enzymes in ACV nourish the body while its acids support liver function and bind to toxins, easing their elimination. In addition, ACV loosens mucus and stimulates the lymphatic system to expel pathogens and speed healing.
4. Weight Management and Cholesterol
ACV’s acetic acid inhibits the storage of body fat and stimulates genes designed to regulate liver fats by acting on the metabolism of certain proteins. (10) ACV, therefore, reduces body weight and body mass index. (11) In tandem, ACV’s effects on cholesterol are similar: acetic acid has been shown to reduce blood cholesterol and triacylglycerols (long chain fatty acids). ACV also stimulates bile production, which is key to the metabolization of fats. (12)
Because ACV is fermented, it is a natural probiotic. Probiotics are the critical healthy bacteria that live in our digestive systems. In turn, the maintenance of proper probiotic levels is very important towards overall health, as the gut influences every part of our bodies—including the chemistry of our brains.
An overabundance of unfriendly bacteria leads to imbalances and immune response. An inappropriate immune response that persists over time leads to inflammation, the genesis of most disease. (13) Plus, ACV is so effective in digestion support that studies show that it can reduce the symptoms of ulcerative colitis. (14)
A daily dose of ACV supports digestion and immune system function. Simply mix 2 teaspoons of ACV to a cup of warm water and drink. Add raw honey to taste, if you like.
6. Hiccup Remedy
It’s theorized that the acetic acid in ACV stimulates the muscles of the throat, stopping the spasms of hiccups. Mix a teaspoon of ACV with a little water and drink. For stubborn hiccups, hold your breath as long as you can, drink up, and exhale.
7. Heal Bruises
A subcutaneous bruise (under the skin) is caused by trauma to tissues beneath, breaking capillaries and resulting in colorful designs. (15) ACV promotes circulation and helps bruises to heal with anti-inflammatories and antioxidants to nourish the damaged tissues.
To use, mix ½ teaspoon of salt with ½ cup apple cider vinegar and warm gently on the stove. Keep the temperature so that’s it’s warm but not hot. Apply as a compress to the affected area for as long as you can, up to several hours (think overnight). Apply the remedy as necessary until bruise disappears.
With all the ways apple cider vinegar can help us in our daily lives, it should be a staple in our refrigerators. Drinking apple cider vinegar is an easy habit to take up and can make a world of a difference, so don’t be afraid to try it!