Unpasteurized apple cider vinegar (ACV) is a completely natural product, resulting from the fermentation of apple juice to hard apple cider followed by a second fermentation to apple cider vinegar. The cider retains all of the nutritional benefits derived from the apples, but it is also fortified with the extra acids and enzymes that are produced during the fermentation process itself. In the case of “raw” or organic apple cider, there will be a certain amount of cloudiness not found in the more processed brands. This cloudiness is call the “mother.” The mother is made up of enzymes of connected protein molecules, with living proteins and bacteria. It is precisely this cloudiness that provides the essential benefits of ACV.
Although ACV has been touted for years as a weight loss product, no controlled studies have yet confirmed this. The acid in ACV may help with digestion, as it has been proven to alleviate upper gastrointestinal distress, and that in itself may be the reason for the weight loss claims. When satiation levels are achieved early on in a meal, the tendency to over eat is likely diminished and weight loss may occur, but it is not recommended for that use. ACV should always be diluted before ingestion because its acidity can cause damage to the mouth, throat and tooth enamel. One or two tablespoons mixed with water or apple juice will calm stomach spasms and may also treat acid reflux symptoms.
Some studies have claimed that ACV will reduce cholesterol levels, help reduce blood sugar levels and lessen the effects of diabetes, lower high blood pressure and even slow the growth of cancer cells. While it would be wonderful if all of these assertions were scientifically proved, the fact is that most of these studies were done on rats, not human beings, so there is really no way to know how the alleged results might translate.
One thing is clear: small amounts of ACV, diluted, and taken from time to time should not pose any health problems. However, because it is highly acidic, it may damage the teeth, lower bone density, and even interact with some medications. For these reasons, ACV should not be taken in large doses on a regular basis.
Always speak with your health care provider before beginning any new routine that may interfere, or interact, with your current medications. Contact either Jillian Bar-av, Clinical Herbalist at 410-258-9625, or Marilyn Burdekin, Chinese Herbalism at 410-491-6206 for an appointment today.