So, you’ve got a bottle of apple cider vinegar in your hands, but you wonder if it’s safe to consume it daily? This little bottle makes you question whether it could hurt you besides the many benefits you hear it has. However, don’t worry because it has its best intentions unless you use it wrong and see the side effects yourself. First, get familiar with what they are and how you should consume the vinegar to avoid any side effects.
What Is Apple Cider Vinegar?
Just collect the fermented juice from crushed apples – and there is apple cider vinegar. Very simple, right? No. It’s a carefully produced product from fermenting apples by converting sugar into acetic acid. Together with a polyphenol content, the acetic acid works as a vinegar loaded with health benefits.
But first, you must crush the apples and squeeze out their juice. Since this is a multi-step process where apples get exposed to yeast, it ferments sugars and then turns them into alcohol. Apple cider contains 94% water with 5% acid, 1% carbohydrates, and no fat/protein. Despite the many health benefits, people with allergies to apples should avoid vinegar since they could face allergic reactions.
What Is Apple Cider Vinegar Good For?
If you’ve read anything about cider vinegar, it is that it helps you lose weight. Indeed, some studies show that this vinegar could help burn fat and aid your weight loss. So, it is suitable for anybody who tends to lose weight.
There are many other benefits, such as decreasing blood sugar levels, improving cholesterol levels, and increasing insulin sensitivity. ACV can help reduce body weight, BMI, and hip circumference.
In addition, it reasonably modifies the metabolic rate and fat accumulation. ACV also benefits the body’s detoxification process, cleansing it from all the harmful toxins that could cause some health issues. It can improve your gut health and help you treat gastrointestinal issues since it eliminates harmful bacteria.
Additionally, it can treat gastrointestinal issues such as acid reflux. It can help food break down in the tract, and the food can quickly move through the small intestine. Apple cider vinegar can also help you with inflammation and issues such as arthritis or joint pain due to its antioxidant composition. Its antimicrobial resistance can help with neuropathy, yeast infection, seasonal allergies, urinary tract infection, kidney stones, diabetes, and high blood pressure.
The 14 Apple Cider Vinegar Side Effects
Despite the apparent benefits of this vinegar, there are some enemy effects that you should be aware of when it comes to consuming it. These are the 14 most common side effects of cider vinegar.
1. Changes In Bowel Movements
The fermented apples in ACV contain pectin. It’s a fiber that acts as a natural gelling agent, which may make you feel changes in your bowel movements. The pectin could bulk up your stool and consequently help grow bacteria in the gut, thus reducing inflammation. However, too much ACV could lead to diarrhea, pulling water into the bowel. So, your stool could turn watery and then end in frequent diarrhea, but of course, nobody wants to face diarrhea.
2. Feeling Of Weakness
Relying only on ACV drinks will not give you sufficient calories to feel energized. These drinks add only a few calories, leading to weakness and imbalance. If you still insist on the ACV, at least try to incorporate it as a part of meals that include vegetables. Combined with protein and carbohydrates, it can function as a dressing or seasoning replacement. If you add it as a side part of the meal, you will still take in the fuel you need and not eat too many unwanted calories.
3. Serious Stomach Issues
Many things could disturb your stomach, and this vinegar is one of them. Due to its acidity, some people cannot tolerate it well. Of course, this is not the case with everybody, but if you tend to have stomach aches (or ulcerative colitis and inflammation in the digestive tract), you should avoid it. It is common knowledge that you should use vinegar only to flavor the food. But then again, this problem is not the case with everybody.
4. Appetite Increase
If ACV is part of your everyday diet, and you notice your appetite increases, you might blame it on ACV. Although many people know apple vinegar as an appetite suppressant, it could be the opposite. People tend to use it as a snack replacement, which could, in turn, make them feel even hungrier because of its low-calorie properties. Indeed, you might feel fuller when you have the vinegar. Just like with water, although you consume a lot of water, when you pee it out, you could end up feeling even more hungry.
5. Tooth Enamel Erosion
You’ve noticed that strange acidic feeling when you eat an apple, right? Unfortunately, acidic food, including citrus fruits, juices, and so on, could lead to tooth enamel erosion.
Nobody wants to face damaged tooth enamel because once it wears away, you cannot take it back, and you can only do cosmetic repairs like bonding. So, too much vinegar can cause tooth erosion, like any other acidic food.
6. Burning In The Throat
Some doctors say strong ACV acidity can cause throat and esophageal irritation. Plus, do not be fooled to think that this happens only through liquid consumption. Throat burning can happen even if you consume ACV capsules (there was a case of a woman who had one of the pills stuck in her throat, and she felt pain there six months after).
7. Weight Loss – But Only Temporarily
You could take ACV frequently and lose weight; this is a fact. But, since the weight you lose will be mostly water weight, when you replace the water, the weight will be back again in no time. The rapid weight loss could only slim you down, but eventually, it could slow down the metabolism. The slowing down could harden the process of losing weight in the future.
8. Bloating Experiences
Nobody wants to deal with the bloating feeling. So, if you want to avoid this disturbing stomach experience, ACV might not be the type of vinegar for you. Since the intake of apple cider vinegar could delay stomach emptying, it could lead to bloating. It is because the rate at which the food leaves your stomach will be reduced. Then, once the food gets into the lower digestive tract, you will feel fuller for a long time. So although ACV can lead to temporary weight loss, it can also cause bloating and nausea for a long time.
9. Potassium Levels Drop (Hypokalemia)
Another thing to worry about when you consume too much ACV is hypokalemia, which is a drop in potassium levels. Too low potassium levels could eventually lead to bone loss. Hypokalemia can also lead to irregular heartbeat and heart arrhythmia. When it comes to scientific proof, there is no such proof that ACV always leads to low potassium levels. However, one case of a woman with this effect proves that a lot of ACV over a more extended period could lead to hypokalemia. There is a case of a young woman who took ACV six years in a row and noticed low potassium levels. Also, she has osteoporosis (a disease where the body loses too much or produces too little bone) and other problems such as blood abnormalities.
Most of her doctors thought the reason behind this was ACV over-consumption. Low potassium causes muscle cramps, fatigue, and weakness too. So people who take diuretics should avoid anything that leads to low potassium levels.
10. Interaction With Certain Drugs
Due to gastroparesis (delayed or no stomach emptying), apple cider vinegar can cause massive problems if you take some medications that should pass through the body within a given timeframe. The stomach needs to absorb some of the meds at a definite timetable, so ACV can interact and cause trouble. You should be more careful taking insulin, diuretics, laxatives, and blood pressure meds. People with type 1 and 2 diabetes should be the most cautious because gastroparesis can disable the stomach from controlling blood sugar.
11. Kidney Troubles
Anybody who has any kidney issues should restrain from ACV. It is questionable if it can hurt your kidneys, but if you have any kidney issues, stay away from it. Some research shows that consuming highly acidic things like ACV is not advisable and should be avoided if you have any trouble with weakened kidneys.
12. Skin Burns/Irritations
Some people try to solve their acne problems and skin abrasions by taking ACV baths. However, if you are one of them and you have sensitive skin, beware of any skin irritation and chemical burns. Too much ACV can lead to this. Do not try to treat skin infections with apple cider vinegar unless a doctor recommends it. The best thing would be to see a dermatologist instead of risking the result of skin irritation.
13. Badly Affected Immune System
Healthy gut bacteria do not necessarily mean a solid immune system. However, since apple vinegar is a fermented product, fermentation has probiotic attributes, which could make you believe it can boost your immune system, but the reality is different. Indeed, fermented foods will increase good gut bacteria, but vinegar will not take the probiotic you need to boost your immune system. So, if you overuse ACV, it can push out any other diet nutrients, and thus your immune system could take a hit.
14. Worse Acid Reflux Symptoms
Acidic foods, including apple vinegar, are not the right food for anybody who has acid reflux. Since ACV is on the top of the list of acidic foods, anybody with acid reflux should avoid it. Including more acid in the diet can worsen the acid reflux symptoms and negatively affect it. The more you intake ACV, the more the acids in the stomach increase, and the more acid in the stomach, the more burning you will feel in the stomach (if you already have reflux or heartburn).
Apple Cider Vinegar Drug Interactions
In some cases, you should not mix apple vinegar with certain drugs and medications. Such interactions could turn into complex issues. Do not take apple cider vinegar together with:
- Diabetes drugs and insulin;
- Certain diuretic drugs;
- Blood pressure medications, such as digoxin (Lanoxin) and laxatives;
- Thiazide diuretics.
Is Apple Cider Vinegar Safe?
In most cases, apple cider vinegar is safe to consume and to use as a medicine, but only short-term. It can be hazardous if used in large long-term amounts. A lot of ACV for a long time can lead to low potassium levels, which shows why it is not safe to consume in the long run. Apple cider vinegar has many health benefits, but if misused, it can show many side effects, mainly if used undiluted.
For example, undiluted vinegar applied to the skin can lead to skin burns and irritations. So, it’s safe to say that apple cider is unsafe when applied to the skin. When it comes to drinking it, it can accelerate fat burning and help you lose weight, but only if you apply a sufficient amount and not for a very long time. Otherwise, you can face any of the side effects mentioned above.
The way to safely consume ACV is to limit the intake to only a tiny amount. For example, this amount could be 30 mL daily (or two tablespoons), always diluted in water.
Yes, you could drink it daily but not for a very long time and with a limited amount. However, a large amount of ACV daily can cause complex issues and lead to osteoporosis and low blood potassium.
There are no cases of pregnant women who had trouble with ACV. It could even be beneficial for some pregnancy symptoms. However, pregnant women should make sure to use it pasteurized.
ACV has a lot of acidities, so it can cause damage to teeth, it can cause throat damage, and stomach upset. Therefore, if you have a slow digestive system and your stomach is sluggish, try to avoid using vinegar.
There is a safe way to consume it, and it is only one to two tablespoons diluted with water, either before or after meals.
Since vinegar acidity can lead to skin irritation and many other skin conditions, it could irritate the scalp and cause burning and itching. However, there is no proof that it could harm your hair. On the contrary, it could be beneficial for removing product buildup.