Written by Divinity Nutra, Updated on March 21, 2022
Our grandma’s home remedies may not be the most scientifically proven recipes, but they have withstood the test of time. Even today, many swear by a simple warm cup of turmeric milk for healing basic ailments. Another such elixir is apple cider vinegar, touted for everything from helping sore throats, to aiding weight loss, and even dissolving kidney stones.
It’s only fair that we wonder whether apple cider vinegar for gut health and digestion can be equally effective. Let us review what the available literature has to say.
Apple Cider Vinegar for Gut Health
What began as Hippocrates’ common wound ointment is today a cure-all medicinal supplement. Over time, ACV has displayed a range of health benefits, such as detoxing the body, general-purpose skincare, treating UTI, and helping neuropathy and nerve pain.
Since it is also widely used for acid reflux and GERD, one could assume it may help manage other gastrointestinal problems. Perhaps apple cider vinegar for digestion, bloating, gas and constipation can be a simple solution for a range of common problems.
Is Apple Cider Vinegar a Probiotic or Prebiotic?
As ACV results from the fermentation of apples, it poses the potential to act as a probiotic. Apple cider vinegar is a probiotic food since it provides gut-friendly bacteria, especially when it contains “the mother.” However, it is not technically considered a probiotic.
Apple Cider Vinegar for Digestion
While the body is well-equipped to break down food particles into the bloodstream, certain factors may hinder it at times. These can include infections in the gastrointestinal tract, excessive eating, or a range of other factors. Proponents claim that ACV can act as an impetus for digestion and help maintain a healthy gut environment.
One study evaluated the prospect of natural treatment measures for gastrointestinal dysfunction in patients with Parkinson’s disease. An ACV diet, accompanied with other ingredients, displayed 50% acid reflux improvement that ultimately helps indigestion. (1)
Another piece of evidence we have is a thesis presentation of an Arizona State University student. While not the most heavily relied on literature, it presents a positive potential for using ACV to treat gastrointestinal dysfunctions. (2)
Apple Cider Vinegar for Bloating
Bloating is a condition of a build-up of air or gas in the gastrointestinal tract. While gas production during digestion is standard, it becomes painful if accumulated in excess. It can start from a simple feeling of fullness but extend to great abdominal distress. This may be triggered by eating habits or bacteria build-up in the stomach.
ACV is commonly used to treat such digestive problems. However, there is little scientific evidence to prove that it can resist bloating. A pilot study from 2007 opposes the idea by concluding that apple cider vinegar can delay the gastric emptying rate. (3)
Low stomach acids may also allow bacteria to build up and lead to a bloated stomach. ACV can help regulate stomach acid levels and work against such harmful bacteria due to its antimicrobial properties. This particular study also demonstrated usefulness against candida and yeast infections. (4)
All in all, it may depend on the individual. More research is required to determine the efficacy of apple cider vinegar for bloating.
Apple Cider Vinegar for Gas
Eating food produces gas in our bodies. However, sometimes a gas build-up may cause a more serious health problem. Belching or burping helps release this accumulated gas. Some believe ACV helps promote this process. The evidence is mostly anecdotal, but it may help gas indirectly.
Research has backed the claim that vinegar intake helps promote satiety. Since overeating is a common cause of gas, one could assume that apple cider vinegar may indirectly help by promoting a feeling of fullness. (5)
Gas in the stomach also develops due to the breakdown of undigested food by gut microbiota. Here, apple cider vinegar’s antimicrobial properties can help improve the digestive process. A 2019 animal study examined this relationship with intestinal microbiota and provides positive results. (6)
- Read More: Apple Cider Vinegar and Keto Diet
Apple Cider Vinegar for Indigestion
Indigestion refers to abdominal stress in the upper abdomen. It also goes by the name of an upset stomach or dyspepsia. Various reasons can cause indigestion, such as eating habits, smoking, alcohol, or caffeine. It can be anything from uncomfortable fullness to a burning, painful sensation in the abdomen.
A study concerning the naturopathic analysis of dyspepsia created a diet that included apple cider vinegar. Within one week of consumption, patients begin observing a substantial impact. After a month, the trial was successful as all the participants experienced significant symptom relief. (7)
Indigestion can often be a symptom of a worse esophageal disorder. This includes GERD, ulcers, and many more gastrointestinal diseases. A 2019 study acknowledges apple cider vinegar’s popular healing tendencies for esophageal symptoms. (8)
Apple Cider Vinegar for Constipation
Constipation refers to a condition of infrequent or painful bowel movements. It causes much abdominal stress, bloating and hampers mobility. Dehydration or inadequate diet patterns such as too many dairy products can cause constipation.
A major stakeholder in ACV’s cure-all claims regarding digestion is its detoxifying abilities. Its composition includes many digestion-friendly compounds such as magnesium, pectin, acetic acid, etc.
A recent study examined the effect of apple cider vinegar for constipation in patients with schizophrenia. Diluted ACV and clozapine were consumed by the patients each day. It concluded positive results and declared that ACV helps reduce constipation problems. (9)
Irritable bowel syndrome is another gastrointestinal disease. A study analyzed the nutritional approach for treating the problem. Part of the recommended plan focused on the fructose quantity in apples and suggested apple cider vinegar as a potential treatment option. (10)
- More Reading: Is Vinegar an Acid or Base?
Can Apple Cider Vinegar Cause Diarrhea?
Drinking undiluted and excessive ACV can potentially cause diarrhea. This is because it may sometimes kill off the gut microbes essential for healthy digestion when consumed in excess. In other cases, the high-acidic concentration may disturb bowel movements.
This is a rare occurrence, and shouldn’t be a problem when consumed in moderation. Thus, always keep the safety precautions in mind while supplementing ACV. Use a raw, organic product and dilute it with water before consumption, and always stay within the recommended dosage.
How to Get More ACV in your Diet
There are many different ways you can consume ACV. Making it a regular part of your diet or supplement routine allows you to realize the full health benefits of apple cider vinegar.
- Make ACV and honey shots at home.
- Add it to your everyday vegetable or meat meals.
- Use ACV and other natural ingredients to make a vinaigrette salad.
- Consume them in the form of ACV pills or delicious apple cider vinegar gummies.
- Add diluted ACV to your marinade recipe.
Final Thoughts on ACV for Gut Health & Digestion
As with most ACV health benefits, the use of apple cider vinegar for digestion presents a positive outlook, even in the face of mixed scientific research. There is much evidence that indirectly supports its usage and very little to condemn it.
Since ACV is generally considered harmless for otherwise healthy individuals, supplementing it may be worth a shot to improve your gut health.
- Learn: Does Apple Cider Vinegar Go Bad?
Thus, you can use apple cider vinegar for bloating or digestive problems but be mindful of its side effects. Always use a diluted product that is raw and organic. Lastly, if you’re unsure about whether or not you should use it, consult with a medical professional for further consultation.
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