How magical is apple cider vinegar, really?

Doesn’t it look magical, though?
Doesn’t it look magical, though?
Photo: Madeleine Steinbach / 500px (Getty Images)

Well, hey, when it was already next to impossible to get an appointment to see a doctor, even before the rise of a worldwide pandemic and widespread unemployment that translates to loss of benefits including insurance, you can’t really blame people for hoping that there’s some cheap and readily available cure-all for every possible ailment already lurking in their kitchen cabinets. A likely candidate for this magical substance is apple cider vinegar, which is said to induce weight loss, cure inflammation (which is, in itself, a catchall term for all sorts of bad things), slow down aging, and maybe make your hair really shiny.

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But does it really do all these things, or is it the modern equivalent of those medieval wonder-cures based on gently processed sheep dung?

The answer, according Dr. Brian Cole writing in Outside, is ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

More specifically, “ACV contains B-complex vitamins, which do have anti-inflammatory effects in the body. But the anti-inflammatory properties of these vitamins haven’t been studied in the context of vinegar consumption. That’s the problem with most of the claims people make about ACV—they just haven’t been proven, one way or the other.”

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Same goes for ACV’s ability to reduce chronic disease, promote better digestion, and modulate insulin and blood sugar. (And probably cure a chronic cough, which is what a neighbor swore it would do for me a couple of winters ago. But then my doctor hooked me up with Tylenol with codeine, and so I used that instead.) But! there were two small studies, one in 2005, the other in 2018, that seem to indicate that a couple of tablespoons of ACV after meals promoted modest weight loss—just a few pounds, though, nothing Adele-level dramatic.

So there you go. Probably won’t help, but won’t hurt you either. Sometimes that’s the best you can ask for.

Aimee Levitt is associate editor of The Takeout.

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DISCUSSION

lordoftheducks
Lord of the Ducks

ACV has ZERO vitamins and is typically promoted by people who believe in homeopathy and/or other pseudoscience.

Here is the nutritional data for a cup of ACV (note most suggested applications of ACV use 1-2 tablespoons):