Apple cider vinegar (we'll refer to it as ACV) has grown fashionable for its supposed weight loss benefits, studies have also found it can help diabetes sufferers manage their blood glucose levels, and it is said to help reduce risk of heart disease. But is it as effective to consume a supplement as it is to consume it as a drink?
Some of the benefits of apple cider vinegar that are backed by science include:
- Weight loss - drinking diluted vinegar may aid weight loss and decrease body fat.
- Blood sugar control - vinegar has been shown to decrease blood sugar levels.
- Reduction in cholesterol - consuming vinegar may reduce cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
Most research on the effects of vinegar has been conducted in rats and mice, but the few studies that include humans offer promising results.
Is it better taken in liquid form or as a pill / capsule?
The answer is that apple cider vinegar can be as effective in either form as long as the capsules contain what they say they do (look for a reputable source as the amount of the active components they contain will vary from brand to brand).
So if the active component (acetic acid) that brings about the health benefits linked to it are present in both, it just comes down to preference as to which form you opt to consume it in. And there are obviously differences between each form that make people choose one of the other, for example the taste of it! You could dissolve ACV in water and mix with honey to make a drink for example or you could simple spoon it straight into your mouth. However if you don't like the taste or wish to consumer larger quantities then opting for an apple cider vinegar supplement may be better.
Drinking apple cider vinegar in its liquid form is a little easier for the body to absorb than a tablet or capsule but it's important to note that it's high acidic so drinking it on a daily basis may cause damage to your tooth enamel if you do not take precautions. Drinking through a straw or rinsing your mouth out afterwards are ways to protect your teeth.
How does it work?
What has been shown in humans is that apple cider vinegar can help with weight loss - which can also help heart health since being overweight increases your risk of cardiovascular disease.
Several human studies have suggested that apple cider vinegar can increase satiety, making you feel fuller more quickly and other have shown that drinking apple cider vinegar along with high-carb meals can increase feelings of fullness and make people eat 200 to 275 fewer calories for the rest of the day. Reducing your calorie consumption on a daily basis can bring about a reduced weight over time.
Scientists believe that apple cider vinegar could also have a protective effect on the heart by helping to lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels in the body - both of which are linked to a higher risk of heart attacks.
Further scientific research has found that it protects against LDL cholesterol oxidation (which leads to heart disease) and lowers blood pressure. The component of apple cider vinegar that does this is the antioxidant chlorogenic acid.
ACV appears to have the ability break down fat deposits in the body, improve circulation and thus lower pressure in the arteries. High insulin and blood glucose levels are also thought to contribute to heart disease, and apple cider vinegar can reduce both - this is of particular importance to diabetics, who are at an increased risk of heart disease, as they have raised insulin and blood glucose levels.
It is important to say that the research done so far to support apple cider vinegar’s direct positive effects on the heart has been done on animals so we have to be careful about extrapolating the results to humans.
When should you take ACV?
Apple Cider Vinegar can be taken after meals to reduce the increase of glucose levels, this in turn combats more food cravings - this is preferred by some to maximize its effect, especially if it's being taken for weight loss. However, it may cause you to feel nauseous if consumed on an empty stomach, so in this instance switch to taking it after meals.
The supplement may also cause adverse effects on you if you are taking it with another form of medication that contrasts its functions so do consult a medical professional before taking ACV tablets or pills.