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6 side effects of drinking too much apple cider vinegar

This article takes a look at apple cider vinegar’s potential side effects and provides instructions on how to consume apple cider vinegar safely.

Apple cider vinegar is a natural tonic. Ithas several health benefits that scientific studies in humans support. However, people have also raised concerns about its safety and possible side effects.

This article takes a look at apple cider vinegar’s potential side effects and provides instructions on how to consume apple cider vinegar safely.

1. What is apple cider vinegar (ACV)?

Apple cider vinegar is mostly apple juice, but adding yeast turns the sugar in the juice into alcohol. This is a process called fermentation. Bacteria turn the alcohol into acetic acid. That’s what gives vinegar its sour taste and strong smell.

Apple cider vinegar has a long history as a home remedy, used to treat things like sore throat and varicose veins. There isn’t much science to support the claims. But in recent years, some researchers have been taking a closer look at apple cider vinegar and its possible benefits.

Some people say the “mother,” the cloud of yeast and bacteria you might see in a bottle of apple cider vinegar, is what makes it healthy. These things are probiotic, meaning they might give your digestive system a boost, but there isn’t enough research to back up the other claims.

2. Apple cider vinegar uses and dosage

Vinegar is used in cooking, baking, and salad dressings and as a preservative. There’s a lot of acid in it, so drinking vinegar straight isn’t recommended. It can cause problems, like eroding the enamel of your teeth, if you get too much.

If you’re looking to use it for health reasons, most people say to add 1 to 2 tablespoons to water or tea.

3. Apple cider vinegar benefits

Vinegar has been used as a remedy for centuries. The ancient Greeks treated wounds with it. In recent years, people have explored apple cider vinegar as a way to lose weight, improve heart health, and even treat dandruff.

Research doesn’t back most of these claims. But some studies have found that the acetic acid may help with a variety of conditions:

Japanese scientists found that drinking vinegar might help fight obesity.

One small study found that vinegar improved blood sugar and insulin levels in a group of people with type 2 diabetes.

Vinegar also has chemicals known as polyphenols. They help stop the cell damage that can lead to other diseases, like cancer. But studies on whether vinegar actually lowers your chances of having cancer are mixed.

4. 6 side effects of drinking too much apple cider vinegar

a. Delayed stomach emptying

Small studies in humans have suggested that apple cider vinegar may reduce the rate at which food leaves the stomach and enters the lower digestive tract. This could slow the absorption of nutrients into the bloodstream.

However, this effect may worsen symptoms of gastroparesis, a common condition that affects people living with diabetes.

In gastroparesis, the nerves in the stomach don’t work properly, so food stays in the stomach too long and is not emptied at a normal rate.

Symptoms of gastroparesis include heartburn, bloating, and nausea. For people who have both type 1 diabetes and gastroparesis, timing insulin with meals is very challenging because it’s hard to predict how long food will take to be digested and absorbed.

One controlled study looked at 10 patients with type 1 diabetes and gastroparesis.

Drinking water with 2 tablespoons (30 mL) of apple cider vinegar significantly increased the amount of time food stayed in the stomach, compared to drinking plain water.

Newer research is needed to better understand apple cider vinegar’s effect on blood sugar.

b. Digestive side effects

Apple cider vinegar may cause unpleasant digestive symptoms in some people.

Human and animal studies have found that apple cider vinegar and acetic acid may decrease appetite and promote feelings of fullness, leading to a natural reduction in calorie intake.

However, one controlled study suggests that in some cases, appetite and food intake may decrease due to indigestion.

The people who consumed a drink containing 25 grams (0.88 ounces) of apple cider vinegar reported less appetite but also significantly greater feelings of nausea, especially when the vinegar was part of an unpleasant-tasting drink.

c. Lower absorption of potassium

Potassium is a pretty important mineral: this electrolyte helps keep your heartbeat regular, your nerves functioning properly, and your muscles contracting as they should. It can also counteract the negative impact of sodium on your blood pressure, and have a positive effect on bone mineral density by neutralizing acid and reducing calcium loss from bone.

ACV may negatively impact how well your body absorbs certain minerals—especially potassium.

In an older case study, a young woman was admitted to the hospital with low potassium levels, and diagnosed with osteoporosis—which was attributed to her excessive ACV consumption. The subject had been consuming eight ounces of apple cider vinegar daily for six years, and doctors believed that drinking it in these large doses caused important minerals to be leached from her bones.

d. Throat burning

There are two reasons why drinking too much apple cider vinegar can cause a burning sensation in your throat. For one, as has been established, it’s a super acidic substance that can be quite irritating when consumed in large amounts. But also, when ACV triggers acid reflux, that causes stomach acid to flow back into the esophagus, which tends to cause a burning feeling.

In fact, an older review examined what happens when children accidentally swallow certain liquids and found acetic acid from vinegar was the most common cause of throat burns.

e. Acid reflux symptoms

Many people with acid reflux experience symptoms after having acidic foods and beverages—and ACV definitely fits the bill.

Consuming apple cider vinegar can make your acid reflux worse by causing further heartburn. This is especially true if you drink it undiluted in large quantities.

Also, note that if you currently have an ulcer, apple cider vinegar is best avoided as it can further aggravate it and hinder the healing process.

g. Damage to the enamel on your teeth

Apple cider vinegar contains 5-6% acetic acid, this acid can gradually erode the enamel on your teeth because of its low pH level, which is a measure of how acidic something is. The lower the pH, the higher the concentration of acid.

Enamel protects your teeth from damage. So, if excessive consumption of ACV starts to damage your enamel, you might notice sensitivity to hot and cold drinks and foods, or even yellowing of your teeth.

In a 2014 study published in Clinical Laboratory, enamel from human wisdom teeth that were immersed in low-pH kinds of vinegar experienced a 1–20% loss of minerals after four hours.

In order to protect your teeth, diluting your ACV with a 1:1 ratio of water before drinking it.

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