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Know Your Nutrients: Apple Cider Vinegar

This is a new series of posts that will explore key nutrients that are required by our bodies to support our optimal health and wellbeing. Each nutrient will be described in terms of its role, highlighting various key benefits, including our potential for deficiency, dietary sources, and potential benefits for supplementation.

Fermented from apples, apple cider vinegar contains acetic acid, polyphenolic compounds, vitamins, minerals and many trace elements.1 Vinegar has been suggested to be supportive for a range of health issues, including weight loss, reducing inflammation (including arthritis), improving skin and hair and reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes.2 Of particular interest is the potential effect apple cider vinegar has on blood glucose after meals (postprandial) by reducing glucose spikes and suppressing appetite, which are both of interest to type 2 diabetes management and general health.3 4

Main Benefits

The acetic acid present in vinegar has been found to have biological properties in facilitating the movement of carbohydrates through the gastrointestinal tract via the suppression of some digestive enzymes. 5 Weight reduction, reduced appetite and reduced fasting blood glucose have been reported in healthy adults (including those with type 2 diabetes) when small amounts of vinegar are ingested with meals composed of complex carbohydrates.6 Furthermore, acetic acid in vinegar promotes the conversion of glucose to glycogen (our body uses glycogen to maintain homeostasis, or “stable equilibrium,” that is maintained by physiological processes).7 8 This partitioning is analogous to acarbose and metformin, two glucose-lowering drugs.9 In respect to suppressing appetite, Khezri and colleagues (2018) described reduced hunger in response to vinegar intake as reported in changes in Simplified Nutritional Appetite Questionnaire (SNAQ) scores.10 This  appetite control / hunger reduction in response to vinegar consumption consequently lead to a decrease in food intake.11

Apple cider vinegar is widely used as a flavouring (or dressing) and preservative in foods. The advantages of supplementation allows apple cider vinegar to become a stable at mealtimes, allowing for the benefits in respect to blood glucose management and helping curb appetite.

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This blog series is meant for educational purposes only and does not constitute medical or nutritional advice or act as a substitute for seeking such advice from a qualified health professional. In order to make the blog series easier to read, I have used a conversational tone in many places with personal pronouns, such as “I” and “you.” This is meant only to make it more pleasant to read, and is not meant to imply that the information constitutes any form of advice, whether personal or general.