Apple cider vinegar, or ACV for short, is also often called cider vinegar. ACV has been used traditionally for many different reasons including to help with indigestion, boost energy levels, relieve pain from arthritis and inflammation, and to naturally detoxify the body. More recently, ACV has become popular as a weight loss aid. ACV is formed from the fermentation of crushed apples, and contains acetic acid. Unpasteurized ACV also contains malic acid, pectin, and “mother”, which is a stringy substance containing live bacteria. Some of the benefits of ACV are attributable to its acetic acid content, but most of the benefits associated with the use of ACV are attributed to the “mother” contained in unpasteurized ACV.
Research does indeed support many of the supposed benefits of ACV. ACV has been shown to improve digestion, and it supports the immune system with its antibacterial and antiseptic properties. The weight management benefits of ACV have been demonstrated in a couple of studies showing it to reduce body weight and body fat in both rats and humans. ACV has also been shown to up-regulate the genes for PPAR-alpha, further supporting the weight management benefits of ACV.
ACV has also been shown to lower blood glucose and insulin levels after a carbohydrate containing meal when it is taken with the meal, which may have something to do with the fact that ACV may delay gastric emptying. Some users of ACV have reported greater glycogen synthesis and faster recovery when ACV is taken with a carbohydrate containing meal after training. This is likely due to a combination of this effect and the use of ACV as an anti-inflammatory.
It is important to note that most of the effects of ACV can only be obtained from unpasteurized ACV. Unpasteurized ACV may be taken as a drink diluted in water, and it may also be used as a condiment such as in salad dressings. ACV tablets are also available, but the consistency and label claims of these products is somewhat questionable, so it is probably best to go with regular liquid unpasteurized ACV.
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3. Salbe AD, Johnston CS, Buyukbese MA, Tsitouras PD, & Harman SM. (2009). Vinegar lacks antiglycemic action on enteral carbohydrate absorption in human subjects. Nutrition Research (New York, N.Y.). 29(12), 846-9.
4. Kondo T, Kishi M, Fushimi T, Ugajin S, & Kaga T. (2009). Vinegar intake reduces body weight, body fat mass, and serum triglyceride levels in obese Japanese subjects. Bioscience, Biotechnology, and Biochemistry. 73(8), 1837-43.
5. Kondo T, Kishi M, Fushimi T, & Kaga T. (2009). Acetic acid upregulates the expression of genes for fatty acid oxidation enzymes in liver to suppress body fat accumulation. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. 57(13), 5982-6.
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