What is it?
Apple cider vinegar is popularly used in salad dressings and cooking. But it's also been used traditionally as medicine. It might help lower blood sugar levels in people with diabetes by changing how foods are absorbed from the gut. It might also prevent the breakdown of some foods.
Apple cider vinegar is used for obesity, diabetes, athletic performance, kidney stones, and many other purposes, but there is no good scientific evidence to support any of these uses. There is also no good evidence to support using apple cider vinegar for COVID-19.
How effective is it?
There is interest in using apple cider vinegar for a number of purposes, but there isn't enough reliable information to say whether it might be helpful.
Are there safety concerns?
When applied to the skin: Apple cider vinegar is possibly unsafe. Applying apple cider vinegar to the skin can cause chemical burns in some people.
Special precautions & warnings:Pregnancy and breast-feeding: There isn't enough reliable information to know if apple cider vinegar is safe to use as a medicine when pregnant or breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and stick to food amounts.
Low potassium levels in the blood (hypokalemia): Apple cider vinegar might lower potassium levels in the blood. If your potassium is already low, apple cider vinegar might make it too low. Don't use apple cider vinegar if you have this condition.
Are there interactions with medications?
- Digoxin (Lanoxin)
- Large amounts of apple cider vinegar may decrease potassium levels in the body. Low potassium levels can increase the side effects of digoxin.
- Insulin might decrease potassium levels in the body. Large amounts of apple cider vinegar might also decrease potassium levels in the body. Taking apple cider vinegar along with insulin might cause potassium levels in the body to be too low.
- Medications for diabetes (Antidiabetes drugs)
- Apple cider vinegar might lower blood sugar levels. Taking apple cider vinegar along with diabetes medications might cause blood sugar to drop too low. Monitor your blood sugar closely.
- Water pills (Diuretic drugs)
- Apple cider vinegar can decrease potassium levels. "Water pills" can also decrease potassium levels. Taking apple cider vinegar along with "water pills" might make potassium levels drop too low.
Are there interactions with herbs and supplements?
- Herbs and supplements that might lower blood sugar
- Apple cider vinegar might lower blood sugar. Taking it with other supplements with similar effects might lower blood sugar too much. Examples of supplements with this effect include aloe, bitter melon, cassia cinnamon, chromium, and prickly pear cactus.
- Herbs that contain cardiac glycosides
- Apple cider vinegar can lower potassium levels. Some herbs contain cardiac glycosides, which can affect the heart. Using apple cider vinegar along with herbs that contain cardiac glycosides can increase the risk of serious side effects from low potassium levels. Examples of supplements that contain cardiac glycosides include black hellebore, foxglove, lily-of-the-valley, oleander, and pleurisy root.
- Using apple cider vinegar along with horsetail could increase the chance that potassium levels might drop too low.
- Using apple cider vinegar along with licorice could increase the chance that potassium levels might drop too low.
- Stimulant laxative herbs
- Apple cider vinegar can lower potassium levels. Stimulant laxatives can cause diarrhea and also decrease potassium levels. Taking apple cider vinegar with stimulant laxative herbs might cause potassium levels to go too low.
Are there interactions with foods?
- There are no known interactions with foods.
What dose is used?
When used as medicine, there isn't enough reliable information to know what an appropriate dose of apple cider vinegar might be. Speak with a healthcare provider to find out what dose might be best for a specific condition.
To learn more about how this article was written, please see the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database methodology.
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