What is it?
Apple cider vinegar is used for obesity, diabetes, problems related to hair and skin, and other conditions, but there is no good scientific evidence to support these uses.
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19): There is no good evidence to support using apple cider vinegar for COVID-19. Follow healthy lifestyle choices and proven prevention methods instead.
How effective is it?
Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate.
The effectiveness ratings for APPLE CIDER VINEGAR are as follows:
Insufficient evidence to rate effectiveness for...
- Athletic performance. Early research shows that drinking apple cider vinegar prior to exercise is no more effective for improving endurance than drinking a sports drink.
- Diabetes. Early research shows that taking apple cider vinegar with a meal improves insulin sensitivity and insulin levels after the meal in people with insulin resistance. But it doesn't seem to have a significant benefit in people with type 2 diabetes.
- Delayed emptying of food from the stomach into the intestines (gastroparesis). Early research shows that taking apple cider vinegar worsens gastric emptying rate in people with type 1 diabetes and slow digestion.
- Obesity. Early research shows that taking apple cider vinegar along with a reduced-calorie diet may slightly decrease body weight, body mass index (BMI), and appetite compared to dieting alone in overweight adults.
- Eczema (atopic dermatitis).
- High blood pressure.
- High levels of cholesterol or other fats (lipids) in the blood (hyperlipidemia).
- Indigestion (dyspepsia).
- Infection of the intestines by parasites.
- Insect bites.
- Kidney stones.
- Leg cramps.
- Memory and thinking skills (cognitive function).
- Shingles (herpes zoster).
- Sore throat (pharyngitis).
- Swelling (inflammation) of the nasal cavity and sinuses (rhinosinusitis).
- Vaginal yeast infections.
- Weak and brittle bones (osteoporosis).
- Other conditions.
How does it work?
Are there safety concerns?
When applied to the skin: Apple cider vinegar is POSSIBLY UNSAFE when applied to the skin. Applying apple cider vinegar to the skin has been reported to cause chemical burns even after one use.
Special precautions & warnings:Pregnancy and breast-feeding: There isn't enough reliable information to know if apple cider vinegar is safe to use when pregnant or breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.
Low potassium levels in the blood (hypokalemia): Apple cider vinegar might lower potassium 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 (Lanoxin).
- 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. Avoid taking large amounts of apple cider vinegar if you take insulin.
- Medications for diabetes (Antidiabetes drugs)
- Apple cider vinegar might decrease blood sugar in people with diabetes. Diabetes medications are also used to lower blood sugar. Taking apple cider vinegar along with diabetes medications might cause your blood sugar to go too low. Monitor your blood sugar closely. The dose of your diabetes medication might need to be changed.
Some medications used for diabetes include glimepiride (Amaryl), glyburide (DiaBeta, Glynase PresTab, Micronase), insulin, pioglitazone (Actos), rosiglitazone (Avandia), chlorpropamide (Diabinese), glipizide (Glucotrol), tolbutamide (Orinase), and others.
- Water pills (Diuretic drugs)
- Large amounts of apple cider vinegar may decrease potassium levels in the body. "Water pills" can also decrease potassium in the body. Taking apple cider vinegar along with "water pills" might decrease potassium in the body too much.
Some "water pills" that can deplete potassium include chlorothiazide (Diuril), chlorthalidone (Thalitone), furosemide (Lasix), hydrochlorothiazide (HCTZ, HydroDiuril, Microzide), and others.
Are there interactions with herbs and supplements?
- Herbs and supplements that might lower blood sugar
- There is some evidence that apple cider vinegar might lower blood sugar levels. Using it along with other herbs or supplements that can also lower blood sugar might cause blood sugar levels to drop too low. Some of these herbs include bitter melon, cowhage, ginger, goat's rue, fenugreek, kudzu, willow bark, and others.
- Herbs that contain cardiac glycosides
- Large amounts of apple cider vinegar may decrease potassium levels in the body. Other herbs that contain chemicals called cardiac glycosides might also lower potassium levels. Using apple cider vinegar along with any of these herbs might increase the risk of lowering potassium levels too much. This can be very dangerous for the heart. Some of these herbs include black hellebore, Canadian hemp roots, digitalis leaf, hedge mustard, figwort, lily of the valley roots, motherwort, oleander leaf, pheasant's eye plant, pleurisy root, squill bulb leaf scales, and strophanthus seeds.
- There is a concern that using apple cider vinegar along with horsetail could increase the chance that potassium levels might drop too low.
- There is a concern that using apple cider vinegar along with licorice could increase the chance that potassium levels might drop too low.
- Stimulant laxative herbs
- There is concern that overuse of apple cider vinegar along with stimulant laxative herbs might increase the risk of potassium levels dropping too low. Stimulant laxative herbs include aloe, alder buckthorn, black root, blue flag, butternut bark, colocynth, European buckthorn, fo ti, gamboge, gossypol, greater bindweed, jalap, manna, Mexican scammony root, rhubarb, senna, yellow dock.
Are there interactions with foods?
- There are no known interactions with foods.
What dose is used?
To learn more about how this article was written, please see the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database methodology.
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