What Are The Side Effects Of Apple Cider Vinegar?

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Side Effects Of Apple Cider Vinegar

Consuming organic ACV in moderation as a part of your daily diet can be extremely beneficial. But if taken undiluted or in excess, it can lead to dizziness, nausea, stomach ache, and delayed digestion, reversing its good effects on diabetes. It can even decay the tooth enamel and irritate your inflamed skin, causing chemical burns. Stay off ACV pills, which can burn your food pipe, and stay off ACV altogether if you're on diuretics.

Apple cider vinegar (ACV) has a huge fan following mostly due to the claims that it helps deal with many medical conditions. From treating diabetes to hypertension, dental problems, obesity, eczema, and even cancer, a new claim pops up every day of the benefit of ACV. This has lent this vinegar quite a celebrity status in the world of superfoods, with some health blogs even referring to it as the “golden nectar.”

But consuming ACV irresponsibly, that is, without diluting it or in large quantities, can lead to many negative long-term and short-term effects. You should know that you are using it wrong and stop consuming ACV immediately if it triggers the following responses from your body. Most of these side effects are based on anecdotal evidence from real-life users of ACV.

Short-Term Side Effects Of Apple Cider Vinegar

1. Frequent Urination

Consuming ACV when you are already on diuretics, which anyway enhances your urine production, coerces your body to release more than the required amount of toxins, making you want to urinate more frequently. If continued, this could lead to dehydration.

2. Nausea And Stomach Pain/Upset

Either of these symptoms is an indication that you need to dilute ACV more or reduce the quantity of intake. Drink more water to wash the ACV down and take care not to drink it on an empty stomach.

3. Dizziness Or Headache

As ACV helps release toxins from the body, an overdose can lead to the loss of beneficial minerals. This can lead to a drop in the potassium levels in the body, and if left unchecked, this could lead to reduced bone density.1

A few studies have also presented some long-term negative effects of consuming ACV in large quantities.

Long-Term Side Effects Of Apple Cider Vinegar

1. Skin Irritation

Be cautious while using ACV on inflamed or scaly skin and on dry scalp as its low pH content can irritate it further and even damage hair cells.2 There have also been cases of chemical burns that were reported after using apple cider vinegar without supervision for the removal of moles.3

2. Gastric Issues

Delayed bowel movement means that food is not absorbed on time, which in turn can cause havoc to your blood sugar control. So consuming ACV in large quantities to keep diabetes in check might just reverse the proven benefits.

Excessive consumption of ACV can lead to constipation or delayed gastric emptying, which refers to the passage of food from the stomach to the small intestine. A study published in the BMC Journal Of Gastroenterology and conducted on patients suffering from type 1 diabetes found that, of the 10 subjects, those who had consumed ACV were found to have delayed gastric emptying. 4

3. Injury To The Food Pipe

Due to the unending good press that ACV has garnered, the demand for ACV pills and supplements is on the rise. However, researchers warn against using such capsules as they may lead to irreparable damage to your esophagus or food pipe.

A study from the American Dietetic Association tested eight different brands of ACV tablets for their pH levels, acid content, and microbial activity.5 The study found that the capsules had pH values ranging from 2.9 to 5.7, with an expressed doubt of whether ACV was even an ingredient in the capsule. “The inconsistency and inaccuracy in labeling, recommended dosages, and unsubstantiated health claims make it easy to question the quality of the products,” the study concluded.

4. Erode Your Tooth Enamel

In North African cultures, ACV is considered a wonder pill for weight loss; young women and bodybuilders are known to use it to keep the fat off. But a study published in the Dutch Journal Of Dentistry found that consuming a glass of ACV every day was the main reason behind a reported case of tooth enamel erosion in a 15-year-old Moroccan girl.6

Science-Backed Popular Claims

Some popular claims are scientifically proven:

  1. ACV could help in managing diabetes. 7
  2. The acetic acid present in ACV could assist your weight-loss efforts by making you feel fuller. 8
  3. It could also lower cholesterol levels.

There are, however, many so-called “positive powers” of ACV that are baseless and propagated without any research.

False Claims

1. It’s Rich In Vitamins And Minerals

Many claim that ACV aids multiple healing processes because of the presence of nutrients like pectin, beta-carotene, sodium, and potassium among others. Because of the presence of beta-carotene, ACV is also said to be capable of slowing down aging and regenerating skin cells.

However, according to the United States Department of Agriculture’s Nutrient Database, samples of ACV were found to contain no measurable amounts of vitamin A, B6, C, E, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, beta-carotene, or folate, and it was equally lacking in amino acids, lycopene, or any other nutritional elements.9

2. It’s The Best Remedy For Hair Lice

In popular media, all kinds of vinegar are endorsed as really good treatments for hair lice. However, a study published in the Journal Of Pediatric Nursing found that, of the seven home remedies tested, vinegar was the least effective in eliminating hair lice.10

3. It Can Remove Warts

A few studies have found that using a solution with 99 percent acetic acid can help alleviate warts. But since apple cider vinegar contains only 5 percent acetic acid, its use may not prove effective for this condition.11

So although there may be a few benefits of including ACV in your diet in small amounts, take care not to go overboard with it. Look out for organic ACV and go through the fine print on the label well before buying all the bottles off the shelf.

References   [ + ]

1. Lhotta K, Höfle G, Gasser R, Finkenstedt G, Hypokalemia, Hyperreninemia and Osteoporosis in a Patient Ingesting Large Amounts of Cider Vinegar. Nephron 1998;80:242-243
2. Johnston, Carol S., and Cindy A. Gaas. “Vinegar: medicinal uses and antiglycemic effect.” Medscape General Medicine 8, no. 2 (2006): 61.
3. Feldstein, Stephanie, Maryam Afshar, and Andrew C. Krakowski. “Chemical Burn from Vinegar Following an Internet-based Protocol for Self-removal of Nevi.” Journal of Clinical & Aesthetic Dermatology 8, no. 6 (2015).
4. Hlebowicz, Joanna, Gassan Darwiche, Ola Björgell, and Lars-Olof Almér. “Effect of apple cider vinegar on delayed gastric emptying in patients with type 1 diabetes mellitus: a pilot study.” BMC gastroenterology 7, no. 1 (2007): 1.
5. Hill, Laura L., Logan H. Woodruff, Jerald C. Foote, and Morela Barreto-Alcoba. “Esophageal injury by apple cider vinegar tablets and subsequent evaluation of products.” Journal of the American Dietetic Association 105, no. 7 (2005): 1141-1144.
6. Gambon, D. L., H. S. Brand, and E. C. Veerman. “[Unhealthy weight loss. Erosion by apple cider vinegar].” Nederlands tijdschrift voor tandheelkunde 119, no. 12 (2012): 589-591.
7. Mitrou, Panayota, Eleni Petsiou, Emilia Papakonstantinou, Eirini Maratou, Vaia Lambadiari, Panayiotis Dimitriadis, Filio Spanoudi, Sotirios A. Raptis, and George Dimitriadis. “Vinegar consumption increases insulin-stimulated glucose uptake by the forearm muscle in humans with type 2 diabetes.”Journal of diabetes research 2015 (2015).
8. Kondo, Tomoo, Mikiya Kishi, Takashi Fushimi, Shinobu Ugajin, and Takayuki Kaga. “Vinegar intake reduces body weight, body fat mass, and serum triglyceride levels in obese Japanese subjects.” Bioscience, biotechnology, and biochemistry 73, no. 8 (2009): 1837-1843.
9. Basic Report: 02048, Vinegar, cider a. United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release 28
10. Takano-Lee, Miwa, John D. Edman, Bradley A. Mullens, and John M. Clark. “Home remedies to control head lice: assessment of home remedies to control the human head louse, Pediculus humanus capitis (Anoplura: Pediculidae).” Journal of pediatric nursing 19, no. 6 (2004): 393-398.
11. Conzuelo-Quijada, Alvaro Emmanuel, Sergio A. Rodríguez-Cuevas, and Sonia Labastida-Almendaro. “Treatment of large lower genital tract condylomata acuminata with local excision plus topical acetic acid. A preliminary study.” The Journal of reproductive medicine 48, no. 7 (2003): 506-508.
CureJoy Editorial

The CureJoy Editorial team digs up credible information from multiple sources, both academic and experiential, to stitch a holistic health perspective on topics that pique our readers' interest.

CureJoy Editorial

The CureJoy Editorial team digs up credible information from multiple sources, both academic and experiential, to stitch a holistic health perspective on topics that pique our readers' interest.