What is Apple Cider Vinegar?
Apple cider vinegar (ACV) is a well-known home remedy. It has been used in medicine and cooking for centuries.
Proponents of apple cider vinegar believe that it has a wide range of health benefits, but what does the research say about these benefits? Are they backed by any scientific evidence?
It is important to note that apple cider vinegar has many healthful properties, including blood sugar-lowering effects, antioxidant effects, and antimicrobial effects.
There’s also evidence that apple cider vinegar could be effective in:
· Weight loss
· Improving diabetes symptoms
· Lowering blood sugar levels
· Reducing cholesterol concentration
Nevertheless, there is the need for in-depth research and further studies before it can be used as an alternative therapy.
In this article, we will look at the effect of apple cider on blood sugar levels. What does the research say about apple cider lowering blood sugar? We will also look at other health benefits of apple cider vinegar.
What is high blood sugar, and how does it feel?
Sugar occurs naturally in the human body. It is present as glucose in the blood. Sugar provides energy to our organs and cells when it is in the right amount—an excess of blood sugar results in a condition known as hyperglycemia.
Our muscles and liver also produce some glucose. But then, most of the glucose in our blood comes from food and drinks enriched with carbohydrates.
To maintain your blood sugar at physiological levels (normal levels), your body requires insulin. Insulin is produced by the beta cells of your pancreas. It sends signals to your body’s cells to absorb glucose and store it.
If you are deficient in insulin or your cells are unresponsive, the sugar will build up in your blood. Hyperglycemia or high blood sugar levels can cause a wide range of health problems.
If your blood sugar is on the high side, you may:
· Feel tired or drowsy
· Find it difficult to concentrate
· Be very hungry or thirsty
· Experience a headache or pains in other parts of your body
· Your wounds may take a long to heal
· You urinate frequently
· You may experience abdominal bloating
· Have blurred vision
· Have a dry feeling in your mouth
Low insulin or high blood sugar leads to an increase in ketone levels, with diabetic ketoacidosis as a possible complication.
If you have diabetic ketoacidosis, you may experience the following:
· Rapid heartbeat
· Shortness of breath
· Your breath may have a fruity smell
· Disorientation and confusion
Also, your blood sugar level may exceed 250 ml/dL.
Apple cider vinegar and blood sugar: What does the research say?
Diet, exercise, and other lifestyle interventions have high effectiveness when used to address type 2 diabetes. In addition to these, other dietary interventions have been examined and found to address most of the symptoms associated with type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and obesity, such as high fasting blood glucose, high blood pressure, and dyslipidemia. Out of the many dietary interventions researched, the dietary consumption of acetic acid (i.e., intake of acetic acid from dietary sources) has been proposed as a key strategy for improving metabolic defects associated with type 2 diabetes.
Studies have shown that acetic acid, an important component of vinegar, improves glucose and lipid metabolism. For instance, a 2015 study  by Mitrouet al.,published in the Journal of Diabetes Research, found that taking acetic acid before a meal enhanced glucose uptake in the skeletal muscle and decreased plasma triglyceride levels in people experiencing impaired glucose tolerance. In addition, another study found that taking acetic acid before a carbohydrate-rich meal could enhance insulin sensitivity among people with impaired insulin sensitivity or type 2 diabetes patients.
This evidence and more have established that vinegar plays a vital therapeutic role in treating type 2 diabetes.
A major feature of type 2 diabetes is increased blood sugar level due to insulin resistance or a defect in insulin production .
But non-diabetic individuals can also benefit from vinegar as it helps keep their blood sugar levels in the normal range. After all, high blood sugar level is a primary cause of aging and chronic diseases.
The best way to regulate your blood sugar levels is by avoiding refined sugar and carbs. But just as we saw above, apple cider vinegar may also be beneficial.
· One study found that vinegar caused a 19–34% improvement in insulin sensitivity during a carb-rich meal and lowered blood sugar significantly .
· Another study involving 5 healthy people found that vinegar caused a 31.4% reduction in blood sugar level after eating 50g of white bread .
· Another study involving diabetes patients reported that taking 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar before sleep caused a 4% reduction in fasting blood sugar the following morning .
According to the National Centers for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH), medical treatment should not replace unproven dietary supplements .
So, if you are on blood-lowering drugs or supplements, consult your doctor before taking vinegar of any form.
Vinegar has potent antibacterial effects
It can kill bacteria and other pathogens .
Vinegar has been used for disinfecting and cleaning and for the treatment of ear infections, warts, lice, and nail fungus.
Do you know that Hippocrates cleaned wounds with vinegar over 2,000 years ago?
If you want to preserve your food naturally, then apple cider vinegar is the answer. According to anecdotal reports, diluted apple cider vinegar is effective against acne. However, this claim is currently not backed by any strong research.
Apple cider vinegar is rich in healthful substances
The production of apple cider vinegar occurs via a two-step process .
First, the manufacturer crushes the apples and exposes them to yeast. Exposing these apples to yeast causes the sugars to ferment and convert into alcohol.
Thereafter, bacteria are added, which ferments the alcohol further, converting it into acetic acid — and acetic acid is the primary compound in vinegar.
Acetic acid is responsible for the flavor and sour smell of vinegar. According to researchers, it is also responsible for the many health benefits of apple cider vinegar. It is worth knowing that over 5–6% of cider vinegar is acetic acid .
Also, there’s a substance in organic apple cider vinegar known as mother. Mother contains enzymes, protein strands, and healthy bacteria that give the vinegar its murky appearance.
Some school of thought believes that mother also contributes to most of the health benefits of apple cider vinegar, but there’s no evidence to back up this claim.
Apple cider vinegar may not be rich in minerals or vitamins, but it does contain some potassium, antioxidants, and amino acids.
Animal studies have shown that apple cider vinegar may improve heart health
Heart disease is a major cause of death in the Western world .
Several biological factors contribute to a person’s risk of dying from heart disease.
Studies have shown that vinegar can improve these risk factors. But then, most of these studies were animal-based.
It is important to note, though, that these studies are animal-based, and currently, there’s no strong evidence showing that it benefits human heart health.
Conclusion — Eat Healthy but also drink some ACV.
Having said all, the best way to regulate your blood sugar level is by eating healthy and leading an active lifestyle. Your diet should be rich in healthy carbohydrates, fats, and proteins.
It is important to note that carbohydrate has a significant impact on your blood sugar. As such, you should limit your intake of processed and refined carbohydrates.
Eat more fibrous, nutrient-dense carbohydrates, like vegetables and fruits.
Engaging in physical activity also improves blood sugar management.
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