Written by Divinity Nutra, Updated on July 18, 2022
For diabetic patients, consuming the right kind of supplements through diet is essential to keep blood sugar levels in check. Individuals often experiment with home remedies without necessarily knowing the feasibility of each, while skipping over viable options in the process.
The combination of apple cider vinegar and diabetes is one such practice that has been upheld for decades. The remedy has been passed down many generations but lacks scientific awareness regarding its acclaimed health benefits.
Let’s dissect all existing pieces of literature and anecdotal claims to find out whether ACV can lower blood sugar levels.
Apple Cider Vinegar for Diabetes
Given the hefty number of internet blogs raving about it, apple cider vinegar appears to be a trending cure-all medicinal supplement. Proponents make bold statements regarding its versatility by claiming it to be an effective aid for both keto diets and intermittent fasting, as well as detox and cleansing routines.
ACV is a kind of vinegar produced from the fermentation of apples. The process grants it a distinct acidic composition that helps it tackle health problems of all kinds. Interestingly, most of these benefits, such as treating neuropathy, helping with UTIs, and improving gut health and digestion can be proven through science, making ACV a prospective supplement for diabetic treatments.
What is Diabetes?
Diabetes is a chronic health condition that occurs when the body is unable to make or utilize insulin. Insulin is a hormone produced by the body to encourage the absorption of glucose into the cells for energy. Our body breaks down carbohydrates to gain glucose.
Since the condition does not allow blood sugar to be processed, it accumulates in the blood. This condition of high blood glucose levels is called hyperglycemia, not to be confused with hypoglycemia where blood sugar is too low. Negligence towards blood sugar levels can extend damage to other body organs such as the kidneys, heart, or liver. (1, 2)
- More Reading: Apple Cider Vinegar for Kidney Stones
Types of Diabetes
- Type 1 Diabetes: Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disorder whereby the immune system attacks the pancreas and destroys insulin-producing cells. While the cause of the attack is unclear, this results in little-to-zero insulin production in the body.
- Type 2 Diabetes: This is the most common form of diabetes, mostly occurring in adults. In this state, the body becomes resistant to insulin and fails to utilize it effectively.
- Gestational Diabetes: This kind of diabetes is diagnosed most often in women experiencing pregnancy. It usually resolves itself after pregnancy but leaves the woman at greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
- Prediabetes: This is a stage where blood glucose levels elevate more than usual. Effective management at this stage can prevent type 2 diabetes.
Causes of Diabetes
All forms of diabetes derive from abnormal blood sugar levels. The question is, what root causes trigger each type of diabetes?
For type 1 diabetes, the reasons for the immune system’s attack remain a mystery. While genes likely play an important role here, we do not know whether other microbes or lifestyle choices influence the development and progression of the disease.
For type 2 diabetes and prediabetes, the following causes are commonly responsible:
- Weight: Fat accumulation in the tissues can make cells resistant to insulin absorption.
- Age: The body’s tendency towards gaining weight and losing muscle density as you age makes it susceptible to high glucose levels.
- High Triglyceride or Cholesterol Levels: Any form of fats in the body, be it triglycerides or cholesterol, can hamper insulin efficacy and promote diabetes.
- Lack of Exercise: Physical activity helps keep the blood pressure, cholesterol, and body fat in check. Abnormalities in any of these factors can cause diabetes.
- Genetics: Family genes play a significant role in the development of type 2 diabetes.
Warning Signs of Diabetes
Regardless of the type, most diabetics display similar symptoms. The following list highlights all such complications in the body that could be a telltale sign of diabetes.
- Weight loss
- Hunger and thirst
- Numbness and fatigue
- Blurred vision
- Frequent urination
- High blood pressure
- Cuts or sores that do not heal quick
- Yeast infections
- Dry mouth and skin
Does Apple Cider Vinegar Lower Blood Sugar?
The scientific community is yet to reach a consensus concerning apple cider vinegar and blood sugar levels. As of now, we have a few studies at hand, with each concluding varying degrees of effectiveness. Regardless, it is clear that apple cider vinegar influences different kinds of diabetes in different ways.
According to a study published by the American Diabetes Association, consuming 20 grams of diluted apple cider vinegar could lower blood sugar levels after mealtime. This study was performed on only a few participants in 2004 but encouraged further research on the matter. (3)
The Journal of Diabetes Research brought forth similar results in patients with Type 2 diabetes in 2015. It regarded acetic acid, a component of ACV, particularly effective for modifying glucose levels. (4)
For Type 2 diabetic patients, a randomized clinical trial from 2019 is also a significant piece of evidence. It involved ingestion of apple cider vinegar drinks and reported modifications in the glycaemic index of the body. (5)
For patients with Type 1 diabetes, direct research is even more limited and vague. The only noteworthy study is a small trial from 2010 that displayed the efficacy of vinegar ingestion for lowering glucose levels after meals. (6)
It’s also worth noting that there is a direct link between bodily inflammation and metabolic conditions such as diabetes. Studies have shown that apple cider vinegar helps inflammation. Thus, it may indirectly help prevent diabetic complications by influencing the body’s inflammatory response. (7)
- Learn More: Is apple cider vinegar good for acid reflux?
Can Apple Cider Vinegar Lower A1C?
The A1C test measures your blood sugar levels over a two to three-month period to determine whether you’re prediabetic.
A study from 2008 investigated the effects of apple cider vinegar ingestion in normal and diabetic rats. The diabetic group reported a significant reduction in A1C levels and displayed much potential for ACV’s utilization in diabetic complications. (8)
However, an animal study alone cannot guarantee similar results in human participants.
A research study from 2018 extracted all available information from databases regarding diabetic control through vinegar. It concluded vague results by observing only a small reduction in mean A1C. (9)
It seems that ACV may help A1C levels, but further research is required to provide solid groundwork for the claims.
What is the Best Time to Take ACV for Diabetics?
Based on the studies discussed above, taking ACV after mealtime or before sleeping is the best course of action if you stay within the recommended dosage. Two studies concerning diabetic complications directly support this hypothesis.
One reported that consuming ACV before sleeping helped influence glucose concentrations favorably. The second involved consuming vinegar right after meals to benefit from its influence on blood glucose levels. (10, 11)
- Read More: Best Time to Take Apple Cider Vinegar
How to Get More ACV in Your Diet
To reap the maximum benefit of ACV’s healing tendencies with minimal side effects, you must devise an appropriate way to incorporate it into your diet. There are many ways to do so, but one common approach for using apple cider vinegar for diabetes is to put together a detox drink at home.
The classic ACV honey shot recipe works exceptionally well in this regard. It perfectly combines the potency of honey and raw ACV with the mother in it. All you have to do is mix 1-2 tablespoons of both substances in a cup of warm water. Furnish it with natural healing herbs and spices of your choice, such as turmeric or ginger, then consume.
Apart from that, ACV can be added to your diet in various other forms as well.
- Use it as a marinade with other ingredients for meat.
- Use it as a dressing for salads.
- Add a few drops to your cooked meals, such as stews or vegetables.
- Add ACV gummies or ACV capsules into your supplement routine.
Other Foods that Lower Blood Sugar
Diet is the heart of all diabetic treatments. Here’s a list of some helpful food items that can help you regulate blood sugar levels.
- Citrus fruits
- Green vegetables
- Chia and flax seeds
- Pumpkin seeds
- Beans and lentils
- Seafood (especially fatty fish)
Final Thoughts on ACV and Diabetes
It is noteworthy that while most ACV studies interact with only a small number of participants or provide vague results, none of them condemn its use. Each trial leaves behind encouraging conclusions for further research in the field.
The use of apple cider vinegar for blood sugar levels displays a positive image. Its effect on the glycemic index, potentially lowering AC1 and influencing blood glucose make it an effective home remedy that calls for in-depth investigation.
As always, consult with a certified medical professional before using this, or any other dietary supplement. Apple cider vinegar is not a substitute for prescription medications.
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