Written by Divinity Nutra, Updated on March 21, 2022
Given its journey from being a powerful cooking agent to emerging as a cure-all medicinal supplement, apple cider vinegar is truly versatile. Whether it’s adding tanginess to vinaigrette salads or curing a wretched sore throat overnight, ACV has truly survived the test of time.
Due to the many anecdotal claims anchoring ACV’s popular health benefits, users are concerned about the possible side effects of apple cider vinegar. Knowing its risk factors, potential drug interactions, and dosage recommendations will help exercise a safe practice for ACV users.
Let’s analyze and dissect each of its rumored side effects in light of the existing medical reports.
What Is Apple Cider Vinegar?
A form of vinegar produced from fermenting apples by converting sugar to acetic acid is referred to as apple cider vinegar. This acetic acid, combined with its polyphenol content, works as the powerhouse of vinegar to grant it many distinct health benefits.
ACV’s most popular use cases are as a low-calorie detox solution and to assist with weight loss and dieting routines. But that’s not all.
What Is Apple Cider Vinegar Good For?
- Aids Weight Loss & Dieting: Apple cider vinegar has frequently demonstrated positive modifications in body weight, BMI, and hip circumference, helping many people lose weight. Its 0.1g carbohydrate quotient makes it ideal for intermittent fasting and ketogenic diets.
- Helps Detox & Cleanse the Body: ACV’s ability to detox and cleanse, thanks to its antimicrobial properties, helps rid the body of disease-causing toxins and bacteria.
- Improves Gut Health & Digestion: ACV keeps the gut environment healthy by improving digestion and opposing harmful bacteria. It is also beneficial in preventing gastrointestinal diseases such as acid reflux and GERD.
- Helps Reduce Inflammation: Due to its rich antioxidant composition, ACV is an effective beverage to tackle inflammatory diseases, such as arthritis and gout.
- Fights Diseases & Infections: ACV has a positive impact on most diseases. From dissolving kidney stones and treating neuropathy to softening gallstones and keeping blood pressure in check, ACV is a true workhorse in promoting a healthy immune system. It has even been shown to combat yeast infections, seasonal allergies, and help with urinary tract infections and diabetes.
- Enhances Skin Health & Beauty Routine: The topical use of DIY apple cider vinegar scrubs and toner is a popular skincare routine to treat acne scars and eczema. ACV baths and hair rinse are also great ways to utilize this product for your beauty routine.
Apple Cider Vinegar Side Effects
Indeed, the side effects associated with ACV are rare and can more than often be blamed on negligence of practice. They mostly emerge from either drinking too much apple cider vinegar, consuming it undiluted, or due to interactions with other drugs. Regardless, it is important to be mindful of them to employ appropriate safety precautions.
1) Tooth Erosion
While vinegar’s acidity varies depending upon the type, all types exhibit the potential to damage tooth enamel. This was proven by multiple trials involving regular ingestion of vinegar, declaring it responsible for erosive tooth wear. (1, 2)
2) Esophageal Burns
Since the pH of apple cider vinegar is about 2 or 3, it has the potential to cause throat irritation if consumed undiluted, or with prolonged contact. In one reported case, a woman had an ACV tablet stuck in her throat for half an hour. It caused pain, discomfort, and esophageal injury. (3)
3) Low Potassium Levels
Ingesting excessive ACV can lower potassium levels, causing hypokalemia. This condition can hamper bone health by reducing bone mineral density and making them susceptible to breakage.
One individual reported many irregularities in blood chemistry that lead to serious health concerns like hypokalemia and osteoporosis. The identified cause for the matter was consuming high amounts of concentrated ACV. (4)
4) May Worsen Gastroparesis
Several studies have backed the claims of satiety after ACV diets by individuals. Thus, we have reason to believe it slows down the gastric emptying rate, promoting appetite suppression.
However, this may damage the nerves in the stomach and lead to gastroparesis. The disease is common amongst patients with diabetes or past medical history, and ACV intake may worsen its symptoms. (5)
5) Chemical Burns
The topical use of apple cider vinegar as a toner, scrub or face mask is commonplace and touted for its numerous benefits. Keep in mind, the high acidic content from ACV is known to cause skin burns when excessively applied. (6, 7)
6) Interference with Blood Sugar Levels
Patients with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes must remain cautious of their exposure to ACV as it is known to alter blood sugar levels. A 2018 study pointed out how this interference could prove favorable, demonstrating potential scope for ACV’s inclusion in diabetes treatments. Until more research emerges, users should remain cautious. (8)
ACV’s role as an appetite-suppressant in weight loss diets is well established. But, studies have tried connecting this influence to digestive problems such as indigestion. This claim is made in light of a 2014 study where participants reported feelings of nausea after consuming vinegar drinks. This discourages its role as a medicinal supplement for people suffering gastrointestinal distress. (9)
- More Reading: Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar and Honey
Apple Cider Vinegar Drug Interactions
ACV’s acidic composition can interfere with several bodily processes. Therefore, it is liable to interact with the working of certain medications, such as:
- Insulin: People with Type 1 or 2 diabetes who consume insulin or other antidiabetic drugs should be mindful of ACV’s effect on blood sugar levels. An interaction between the two could critically lower blood glucose, causing hypoglycemia.
- Lanoxin: Lanoxin, often used for mild heart failure, can lower potassium levels similar to ACV. Thus, a combination of the two could lead you towards hypokalemia.
- Diuretics: Diuretic medications tend to leach potassium out of the body. Consuming them with ACV could potentially lower potassium levels to a critical range.
Is Apple Cider Vinegar Safe?
Regardless of a list of potential apple cider vinegar side effects, we must not forget the frequency of such instances. Not only are they largely uncommon, but often associated with more than one root cause. The use of apple cider vinegar is safe for most individuals as long as you are wary of its appropriate preventive measures.
- Learn: Does apple cider vinegar go bad?
How Much Apple Cider Vinegar is Safe to Take?
The optimum ACV dosage is a maximum of 15-30 ml a day in its diluted form. This translates to 1-2 tablespoons per day. For a more palatable option, you can opt for dietary supplements. In that case, 2 ACV gummies or 2 ACV pills per day would be sufficient, depending on the brand and their recommended serving.
Is it Bad to Drink Apple Cider Vinegar Every Day?
No, it is not bad to drink apple cider vinegar every day. It is advised to consume ACV regularly to reap maximum benefits. Notice how most clinical trials concerning ACV diets and supporting their use involve their daily consumption. You can amplify your benefits even further by taking it with other healthy ingredients, such as honey or turmeric.
You should still be conscious of the time of day you choose to consume it. For more information, we recommend you read this article discussing the benefits of taking ACV before bed versus in the morning.
Is Apple Cider Vinegar Safe During Pregnancy?
There exists no direct research condemning the use of apple cider vinegar during pregnancy. Its proven health benefits give us reason to believe that it could help alleviate many facets of pregnancy.
Regardless, it is necessary to be conscious of the sensitivity of the matter. Pregnant women must refrain from consuming unpasteurized foods so that no unwanted bacteria interfere with the fetus. While raw ACV with the mother is most beneficial, only pasteurized ACV is safe to consume during pregnancy.
Final Thoughts on the Side Effects of Apple Cider Vinegar
Even with a list of potential side effects, ACV manages to win our vote with its excellent healing tendencies. Given the small amount of negative scientific evidence and reports presented, the health benefits of ACV, in most cases, outweigh the warning signs or potential adverse reactions.
- Read More: Apple Cider Vinegar and Baking Soda
For most users, regular consumption of apple cider vinegar will prove safe. But as is the case with nearly every dietary supplement, this will not be perfectly true for all people. If you’re unsure, talk with a certified medical professional for a proper consultation.
- Our Picks: Best Apple Cider Vinegar Gummies