You’ve probably heard some of the wonderful things about apple cider vinegar, the ancient wellness drink created by fermenting apples.
These may include how apple cider vinegar can lower blood sugar, aid weight loss, soothe acne, help digestion and even boost your immune system.1 Perhaps you’ve decided you’d like to reap some of these health benefits for yourself and would like to start taking apple cider vinegar daily.
However, you’d be forgiven for having no idea how to take the stuff!
We’re used to a splash or two of vinegar on our chips, or a drizzle over a salad as part of a vinaigrette. But it seems strange at first to knock it back as a drink.
You may be thinking:
- how much apple cider vinegar is safe to drink each day?
- can you drink apple cider vinegar straight?
- are there any side effects of drinking apple cider vinegar every day?
- what are the dangers of drinking apple cider vinegar in large quantities?
But, don’t panic! We’re here to answer your FAQs about drinking apple cider vinegar.
Can I drink apple cider vinegar every day?
Yes, absolutely. In fact, many of the clinical studies which have been conducted into the efficacy of apple cider vinegar involved the study participants taking it every day.
There are some considerations to be aware of, such as the time of day you drink it. For example, drinking apple cider vinegar last thing at night is not advisable if you experience heartburn, acid reflux or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).2
For more information on what time of day to drink apple cider vinegar check out How to drink apple cider vinegar – and when
How much apple cider vinegar should you drink a day?
Most studies are based on a small dose of up to 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar per day. For this reason, adults should not exceed 2 tablespoons per day as the effects haven’t been properly studied.
If you find that starting on 2 daily tablespoons makes you nauseous, you can start small with ½ tablespoon per day, then work your way up to 2 tablespoons.
Should I drink apple cider vinegar straight?
No. You shouldn’t drink apple cider vinegar straight.
This is one of the most important things to consider when taking apple cider vinegar for health. Apple cider vinegar is highly acidic substance containing around 5% – 6% acetic acid.3 Drinking it neat (undiluted) can cause damage to the enamel of your teeth. That’s the hard, protective coating our teeth have which, once worn away, doesn’t grow back.
It can also burn the oesophagus if regularly consumed undiluted, as the delicate skin here is not designed for strongly acidic substances (unlike the tougher stomach lining). This is why, when we vomit, the strong stomach acids leave a burning sensation on our throat tissues.
Always dilute your apple cider vinegar in water, around 250ml for two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar. You can also add it to herbal teas and smoothies to further disguise the taste. Remember, you can add apple cider vinegar to salad dressings, sauces, vinaigrettes and marinades.
Some people drink drinks containing apple cider vinegar through a straw to minimise the liquid’s contact with teeth.
Always rinse your mouth with water after drinking apple cider vinegar to ensure there isn’t any reside lingering in your mouth, which could pose a threat to your tooth enamel.
What will happen when I drink apple cider vinegar every day?
You can expect more stable blood sugar after meals. Drinking apple cider vinegar before a high-carbohydrate meal has been shown to reduce the blood sugar spikes which would usually occur as your body converts the food into glucose to be used as energy.4
You might also find yourself eating less when drinking apple cider vinegar every day, as the acetate in acetic acid (the key ingredient in apple cider vinegar) might help regulate appetite.5
You might also find yourself with better digestion while taking a daily drink of apple cider vinegar. The acetic acid it contains is thought to help digest proteins, while the supposed probiotic qualities found in the enzymes and bacteria of apple cider vinegar could encourage the growth of friendly bacteria in your gut.6
Your risk of cardiovascular diseases (such as heart disease and stroke) could be reduced over time if you regularly consume apple cider vinegar. One study found a significantly lower risk for heart disease among people who consumed oil-and-vinegar salad dressings frequently (5-6 times or more per week) compared with those who rarely consumed them.7
Are there any unwanted side effects or dangers of drinking apple cider vinegar?
When drinking apple cider vinegar, side effects might be the last thing on your mind. After all, it’s just vinegar!
However, aside from the aforementioned tooth enamel damage you could experience if you regularly drink it undiluted, large amounts of apple cider vinegar could cause nausea and indigestion in some people.8
It’s also been linked with low potassium levels when taken for a long time in large quantities.9
Due to apple cider vinegar’s potential blood sugar-lowering properties, it’s advisable to check with your GP if you’re thinking of taking it as a diabetic, as it may interfere with some diabetic medications.
Apple cider vinegar is safe for the body in small doses (up to 2 tablespoons per day for adults), but taking large amounts is not recommended.
Last updated: 24 July 2020