Apple Cider Vinegar - The Wonder Remedy
Introduction
Our ancestors knew how to select, prepare and administer natural medicines because nature was their medicine chest. Chemical drugs cause complicated side effects that are sometimes even more dangerous than the disease itself!

Long before there were synthetic drugs, vinegar had numerous recorded healing and other uses. Since long before studies were ever done to confirm the healing constituents of apple cider vinegar, people were enjoying its benefits, and knew from experience how to use it, and that it worked!

In the 400's B.C., Hippocrates, known as "the father" of modern medicine, used vinegar to treat his patient's wounds. This naturally occurring germ killer was one of the very first "official" medicines.

There are formal studies done today on synthetic medicines, but few studies are performed on natural remedies such as apple cider vinegar. Reviewing what studies there are, plus historical records and actual testimonies is the best ways to confirm the health benefits of vinegar. Natural remedies like apple cider vinegar are easy to acquire and inexpensive compared to a doctor visit and a prescription. When something has been used by people all over the world for millennia, you have to conclude that there is truth to it's proposed benefits and uses.

*Disclaimer - PLEASE consult your health care provider before consuming apple cider vinegar. Apple cider vinegar may interact with certain supplements or drugs, including diuretics and insulin.

Vinegars are a dietary source of plant polyphenols. Ingesting polyphenols enhances antioxidant protection. Apple cider vinegar's antioxidant flavonoid content can reduce the harmful effects of high cholesterol diets. Flavonoids are reported to have antiviral, anti-allergic, antiplatelet, anti-inflammatory, anti-tumor and antioxidant activities!

Because scientific information about the biological effects of apple cider vinegar as a traditional medicine is inadequate, we included studies using other types of vinegar on this page too. Acetic acid is common to all vinegars, and there are definitely health benefits from other vinegar's too. Apple cider vinegar is still tops on our list though, since it contains so much more healing properties and nutrition than other types of vinegar. In the old saying, "An apple a day keeps the doctor away", you could replace the "An apple" with "ACV" and this would ring true as well!

Apple Cider Vinegar And "Oxymel"
The ancient Greek physician Hippocrates (460-377 BC) is traditionally regarded as the father of medicine. He recommended a vinegar preparation for cleaning ulcerations and for the treatment of sores.

Oxymel is an ancient Greek medicine, usually composed of 4 parts honey to one part apple cider vinegar, or some variation of this recipe. The precise ratio of honey and ACV aren't crucial, and can be altered to taste. (Personally, I like to make each dose from scratch and usually use about 3 tablespoons of ACV along with about 2 tablespoons of local, organic honey in 6 ounces of warm water) I want to stress that both honey and ACV are extremely safe and beneficial, and there's no correct way to prepare it. (Honey isn't recommended for kids under two, however)

Anywho, once prepared, Oxymel was kept on hand for medicinal needs. It was prescribed by Hippocrates and his contemporaries, and by physicians on up to modern day. Mix a spoonful of it into a glass of water for a refreshing medicinal drink that's restorative and energizing.

Used full strength or in a less diluted form, Oxymel greatly aids in the expectoration of excess phlegm from the lungs and respiratory tract, opens the airways, and makes breathing easier. It can be mixed into hot expectorant herb teas to enhance their effects.

Dr. D. C. Jarvis authored a best selling book in 1958 called Folk Medicine in which he touted honey and apple cider vinegar as a panacea or cure-all.  He used Oxymel to treat arthritis, gout, high cholesterol, as a metabolic stimulant to promote weight loss, and for longevity and life extension.

The formulation of oxymel was detailed in the British Pharmacopoeia (1898), the German Pharmacopoeia (1872), and the French Codex (1898).

Lowering Cholesterol
Traditionally apple cider vinegar has been used to treat a number of diseases including high cholesterol, which is known as a risk factor for hardening of the arteries. Early prevention and treatment of hardening of the arteries can prevent the complications of cardiovascular diseases.

Study 1 -
A study was performed on 19 patients with high cholesterol and triglyceride levels. At the beginning of the study, blood lipids of eligible individuals were tested. All participants were asked not to modify their diet or physical activity pattern. However, they had to consume 30 ml of apple cider vinegar 4%, twice a day (morning and afternoon) for eight weeks. The participants were not receiving treatments which could influence blood lipid metabolism. 

Initially, blood samples were obtained to measure cholesterol, triglyceride, low density lipoprotein (LDL), and high density lipoprotein (HDL). The tests were repeated at two, four, and eight weeks of vinegar consumption. There were significant reductions in the serum levels of total cholesterol triglyceride, and LDL after eight weeks of consuming apple cider vinegar and with an increased HDL level. Consumption of apple cider vinegar over a 8 week period had a beneficial effect in significant reductions in harmful blood lipids and is recommended as a simple and cost-effective treatment for hyperlipidemia(hyperlipidemia usually means high cholesterol and high triglyceride levels).

Study 2 -
Rats that were fed with vinegar, showed a significant reduction of low density lipoprotein-cholesterol (LDL-c) and significant increase of high density lipoprotein-cholesterol (HDL-c) levels were observed. Apple cider vinegar also reduced serum triglyceride (TG) levels and increased HDL-c in diabetic animals. These results indicate that apple cider vinegar improved the serum lipid profile in normal and diabetic rats.

Study 3 -
Cholesterol and apple vinegar samples were administered to all groups of rats except the control group. Apple cider vinegars decreased triglyceride and VLDL levels in all groups when compared to animals on high-cholesterol diets without vinegar supplementation.

Apple Cider Vinegar And Weight Loss
In North-African culture, women have used apple cider vinegar to achieve weight loss for generations. Bodybuilders are also known to use this method of weight reduction.

Study 1 -
A study geared at testing vinegar's long-term effects found that participants experienced moderate weight loss. In this study, participants taking two tablespoons of vinegar prior to two meals per day lost an average of two pounds over the four-week period, and some lost up to four pounds.

Study 2 -
In one study, those that took vinegar with a meal reported a full-feeling longer afterward than those who didn't.

Study 3 -
In another trial, healthy adult women consumed fewer total calories on days that vinegar was ingested at the morning meal. Fasting participants consumed a test drink (placebo or vinegar) followed by the test meal composed of a buttered bagel and orange juice (87 g carbohydrate). Blood samples were collected for 1 hour after the meal. At the end of testing, participants followed their normal activities and eating patterns the remainder of the day. They recorded food and beverage consumption until bedtime. Those who ingested the vinegar reduced the 60-minute glucose response to the test meal and it helped curb their appetite later in the day, as compared with placebo.

Cardiovascular Effects
Study 1 -
A significantly lower risk for fatal ischemic heart disease was found among participants in the Nurses' Health Study who consumed oil-and-vinegar salad dressings frequently (5-6 times or more per week), compared with those who rarely consumed them. The study authors contend that because oil and vinegar dressings are a major dietary source of dietary alpha-linolenic acid, an antiarrhythmic agent, alpha-linolenic acid may be the beneficial ingredient of this food. Yet, creamy, mayonnaise-based salad dressings are also rich in alpha-linolenic acid and did not show the same risk benefit as the oil and vinegar dressings. Sounds like a strong case for vinegar!

Study 2 -
In an animal study a significant reduction in systolic blood pressure in hypertensive rats occurred when they were fed a standard laboratory diet mixed with either vinegar or an acetic acid solution for 6 weeks, compared with those fed the same diet mixed with deionized water.

Anti Tumor Activity
Specific anti-tumor factors in vinegar have not been identified. However, there is evidence that acetate(acetic acid) treatment significantly slows cancer cell reproduction and growth. Because vinegar has caused a reaction at the atomic level which inhibited the production of cancer cells in the colon, the investigators concluded that there were effects preventing, inhibiting or halting the development of tumors. WOW.

Vinegars are a dietary source of plant polyphenols. Ingesting polyphenols reduces cancer risk.

Study 1 -
In the test lab, sugar cane vinegar induced death to human leukemia cells, and a traditional Japanese rice vinegar inhibited human cancer cells from multiplying.

Study 2 -
An ethyl acetate extract of Kurosu(rice wine vinegar) added to drinking water significantly inhibited the incidence and multiplication ability of colon cancer in male rats when compared with the same markers in control animals.

Study 3 -
In a separate trial, mice fed a rice-shochu vinegar-fortified feed or control diet were inoculated with cancer cells. At 40 days post-inoculation, vinegar-fed mice in both experimental groups had significantly smaller tumor volumes when compared with their control counterparts. A prolonged life span was also noted in the mice ingesting rice-shochu vinegar as compared with controls, and the rice-shochu vinegar stimulated natural "killer cell" activity.

Blood Glucose Control
Recent scientific investigations have documented that vinegar ingestion reduces the glucose response to a carbohydrate load in healthy adults and in individuals with diabetes.

Study 1 -
The antiglycemic effects of vinegar was first reported by Ebihara and Nakajima in 1988. In rats, the blood glucose spike response was significantly reduced when a 2% acetic acid solution was taken with a starch.

Study 2 -
In 2004, a study cited in the American Diabetes Foundation’s publication "Diabetes Care" found that taking vinegar before meals significantly increased insulin sensitivity and dramatically reduced the insulin and glucose spikes that occur after meals. The study involved 29 people, divided into three groups:

  • One-third had been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.
  • One-third had pre-diabetic signs.
  • One-third was healthy.

All three groups had better blood glucose readings with the vinegar than with the placebo.
  • People with pre-diabetic symptoms benefited the most from the vinegar, cutting their blood glucose concentrations by nearly half.
  • People with diabetes improved their blood glucose levels by 25 percent with vinegar.
  • People with pre-diabetic symptoms had lower blood glucose than the healthy participants after both drank vinegar.

Study 3 -
In 2007, a study cited by WebMD involving 11 people with type 2 diabetes found taking two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar before bed lowered glucose levels in the morning by 4 to 6 percent.

Study 4 -
In healthy human subjects, the insulin response curve was reduced 20% when 60 mL of strawberry vinegar was ingested simultaneously with 50 g of sucrose.

Study 5 -
Brighenti and colleagues demonstrated in normal subjects that 20 mL white vinegar (5% acetic acid) as a salad dressing ingredient reduced the blood sugar spikes by over 30% to a meal of lettuce salad and white bread containing 50 g of carbs. Separate trials using placebos confirmed these findings.

Study 6 -
Glycemic Index (GI) is a measurement carried out on carbohydrate-containing foods and their impact on our blood sugar. In these trials, healthy subjects ingested a test meal of bread, butter, and yogurt containing 50 g carbohydrates on an empty stomach on random days. Ostman and colleagues reported that a pickled cucumber (1.6 g acetic acid) instead of a fresh cucumber (0 g acetic acid) in a test meal reduced GI by over 30% in healthy subjects.

Study 7 -
While compiling a glycemic index (GI) table for 32 common Japanese foods, Sugiyama and colleagues documented that the addition of vinegar or pickled foods to rice (eg, sushi) decreased the glycemic index of rice by 20% to 35%.

Study 8 -
The antiglycemic property of vinegar even extends to individuals with marked insulin resistance or type 2 diabetes. Individuals with insulin resistance or with diagnosed type 2 diabetes consumed a vinegar test drink of 20 g vinegar, 40 g water, and 1 tsp saccharine or placebo immediately before a meal (87 g total carbohydrate). In the insulin-resistant subjects, vinegar ingestion reduced glycemia 64% after the meal, as compared with placebo values, and improved insulin sensitivity by 34%. The individuals with type 2 diabetes had less success with mealtime glycemia reduction with the vinegar solution, however, there was a slight improvement in insulin sensitivity after the meal in these subjects.

I don't know about you, but this stuff AMAZES me! :)


Credit For Content:
National Library Of Medicine - National Institutes Of Health
Princeton University
University of Pittsburgh
Mayoclinic.org
Dailymed.com
Greekmedicine.net
Life Science Journal 2012;9(4)
Oregon State University - The Linus Pauling Institute
Napervilledentistry.com
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