Apple cider vinegar

There are so many myths surrounding apple cider vinegar that it deserves a separate entry.

Unbelievable stories that can be heard about it come from the fact that people are not able to analyze reality properly. Each disease sometimes disappears by itself, appears by itself. An allergy, for example, very often disappears at the time of entering adulthood, when the body’s hormones change. If someone starts to drink apple cider vinegar at that time, he will think that it cured him. When a friend hears about it, he starts drinking it too – but of course it won’t do him any good. “Oh, you need a special organic one”. Someone else will start to take it, just at that moment his cancer will appear, which has been developing for 10 years, but this person did not know that, but it will be immediately associated with vinegar, which he has been drinking for a month. Just yesterday on a fanpage a woman claiming to be smarter than all doctors told me that she reversed her osteoporosis in a year with vitamin K2. Several hundred people received K2 in clinical trials, no one was cured, but who cares about clinical trials.

Unfortunately, this mistake is common – “I saw that two events occurred one after another, so one must be the result of the other!”. Hence all those miracle cures for cancer, those cases of autism after vaccines….

You can read all possible claims about apple cider vinegar if you look on enough personal websites. It is popular and a lot of people take it, so there is always someone whose recovery coincides with drinking it. If we add to this the fact that people look at the effects through the prism of expectations (oh, he didn’t take vinegar, he had runny nose for a week, and I took it and after only seven days I was healthy!), we have a set.

It is worth sorting out what is known about vinegar, what has been demonstrated and confirmed by research.

First of all, vinegar is vinegar. There is almost no difference between its varieties. Its properties are derived from acetic acid and the rest is present in amounts that do not affect health. On vendors’ websites you can read a lot of nonsense, like “it’s rich in potassium” – only that one banana has more potassium than there is in a whole liter. The ordinary one, costing $1 per liter will work exactly the same as the “organic”.

The question that is probably the most important – is there any connection with cancer? Every second person will get this disease, every fourth will die from it, everything that reduces the risk is worth its weight in gold. Likewise, anything that increases it should be avoided like the plague.

This is usually studied by asking people how much of what they eat, and then seeing if any substances show up particularly often – or particularly rarely – in people who get sick. This type of study has one massive drawback – some foods are eaten along with other foods. Looking at a study in which people consumed gin and tonic, vodka and tonic, whiskey and tonic – you might draw the mistaken conclusion that tonic causes cirrhosis. Similarly, vinegar – even if it doesn’t do anything by itself, the products with which it is traditionally consumed can have a very significant effect.

Well, one has to take what they give. The diets of 130 people diagnosed with bladder cancer and those who did not develop the disease were compared:

People who consumed a lot of liver were fourteen (!) times more likely to get sick, canned meat consumers were eight times more likely, and pork increased the risk 4,5 times. And finally, vinegar – high consumption was also associated with a 4.5 times higher risk of disease. The study was conducted in Serbia, it’s possible that in that country vinegar is traditionally used as an additive to meat dishes.

Of interest, things that reduced the risk of getting the disease were fruit juices (12.5 times), cabbage (four times), and frequent urination (implied – drinking lots of water) 5.5 times.

We also have a study from China that compared the diets of 211 people with esophageal cancer and 633 healthy people:

In this case, high vinegar intake reduced the risk by 66%. We don’t know what effect meat consumption had, because meat is almost not eaten in China, but as in almost every study on cancer risk, high consumption of vegetables and legumes reduced the risk.

We know that we know nothing. Two studies, on top of a hundred inaccuracies, tell us nothing. If someone wants to scare people by saying that vinegar causes cancer, they will only show them the first one, if they want to sell it to them – only the second one.

There is also a study on mice that were implanted with cancer cells and after getting vinegar they lived much longer, but it was a special product made from the leftovers from the production of Japanese rice vodka shōchū. The leftovers from which no vinegar was made had even stronger effects. In other words – the results are very interesting, but they rather tells us nothing about vinegar as such:

The effects of vinegar on the cardiovascular system have been much better studied, admittedly mainly in animals, but human studies are unlikely to come soon – who would sponsor them?

Hypertensive rats given vinegar had a reduction of as much as 20 points, with rice vinegar having a slightly better effect than regular vinegar. Similarly, rice vinegar lowered aldosterone levels more. The specific mechanism of action is not known, things like increased calcium absorption in the gut are suspected:

An epidemiological study on a group of nurses found halved risk of heart attack in those who consumed salad with vinegar, but one must take into account that such a salad also contained a higher dose of omega 3:

In rats that consumed high amounts of cholesterol, the addition of acetic acid protected against an increase in cholesterol in the blood:

More interestingly, apple cider vinegar, no matter how it was prepared, protected against an increase in triglycerides, as well as against fatty liver changes:

Most interesting is the effect of vinegar on sugar levels. Available results suggest that it may be an excellent means of protecting against diabetes, and in some cases, even an effective cure.

In one study, patients were given various meals that were mixed with either vinegar or vinegar neutralized with baking soda:

As it turns out, vinegar was excellent at protecting against sugar spikes after a meal, but only if it was not neutralized. From this, the obvious conclusion is that its positive effect lies in acidification.

In another study, vinegar not only made glucose levels decrease after a meal, but also reduced appetite, so that patients ate about 200 kcal less for the rest of the day:

Another study reveals more details:

Here, too, the neutralized vinegar had no effect, which puts the dot over the “i” in the discussion of whether organic vinegar is better – it only matters that it acidified the stomach. It also had a much stronger effect if consumed with food, rather than, for example, a few hours before. In addition, the effect was visible only for complex carbohydrates (for example bread), but not for glucose.

In conclusion – vinegar can be quite protective against heart disease, as well as against diabetes or obesity, provided it contains enough acetic acid – some “eco” products have very little of it. Every vinegar will have the same effect, the one for $1and the one for $100 – the important parameter is the concentration of acetic acid.

Any other effects that you can read about on forums and websites, in the vast majority of cases simply do not exist – someone once recovered from something just when he started drinking vinegar, wrote a post, a legend was created and it circulates on the Internet.

Side effects of low doses (a few tablespoons a day) are not known, but a very large amount can have serious consequences – significantly disrupt electrolyte levels in the body, which may even end in death.