Apple cider vinegar has long been used as a natural treatment for everything from obesity to fungus. Though it does have some important health benefits, it is important to keep in mind that apple cider vinegar is not without its own side effects.
Because of its natural properties, apple cider vinegar can become harmful if it interacts with certain common medications. Therefore, if you have one of these conditions, you should not be taking apple cider vinegar.
Apple cider vinegar side effects: Contraindications for ACV
If you are taking any medication at all, it’s a good idea to consult with your healthcare provider or nutritionist to ensure no adverse reactions with any dietary supplement, including apple cider vinegar. Following are medications and conditions that can result in these apple cider vinegar side effects.
Apple cider vinegar can effectively regulate blood glucose, reducing sugar levels and stimulating insulin production. So, if you’re taking insulin-stimulating medication or an insulin injection, blood sugar can go down too far too fast.
Moreover, apple cider vinegar slows the rate at which food is released from the stomach into the lower digestive tract and subsequently into the bloodstream. This is the mechanism for how apple cider vinegar is effective in moderating blood glucose.
Gastroparesis is a common consequence of type 1 diabetes in which the nerves in the stomach are dulled and digestion slows. Taking apple cider vinegar if you have gastroparesis slows down digestion too much, making it extremely difficult to regulate blood sugar levels.
Diuretics are prescribed to reduce the amount of sodium and water in the body. They are used for hypertension, glaucoma, edema (swelling), and other conditions to relieve water retention and pressure. Diuretics stimulate the kidneys to release more sodium into the urine, taking water from cells with it. In this way, the medication reduces blood pressure.
Sodium and potassium in the body work in an inverse relationship: the more sodium present, the less potassium there is. If you are taking a diuretic to reduce sodium, you may already have a potassium deficiency, as potassium can get flushed out as well. Apple cider vinegar can exacerbate that.
Common diuretics include:
- Chlorothiazide (Diuril)
- Hydrochlorothiazide (Microzide)
- Bumetanide (Bumex)
- Ethacrynic acid (Edecrin)
- Furosemide (Lasix)
- Torsemide (Demadex)
- Eplerenone (Inspra)
- Spironolactone (Aldactone)
- Triamterene (Dyrenium)
Low potassium in the blood (whose function is to regulate heartbeat) is known to cause adverse effects of heart drugs like digoxin (Lanoxin). While apple cider vinegar contains potassium and other minerals, together with this class of drug it can negatively affect the body’s absorption of potassium.
Apple cider vinegar is probiotic and promotes healthy digestion. Its hydrochloric acid is similar to stomach acids that break down food and its fiber helps to move things along the digestive tract. If you’re taking a laxative in combination with apple cider vinegar, you may end up with the opposite of constipation, which isn’t particularly pleasant either.
Pregnant and breastfeeding mothers
Not enough is known about how apple cider vinegar interacts with the body, and it is definitely better to play it safe than sorry when it comes to the life of the baby inside your body. Take a pass on apple cider vinegar until after your baby is weaned.
Erosion of tooth enamel
Highly acidic foods can wear the enamel on your teeth, especially when taken in excess. Always dilute apple cider vinegar in water (1 cup of water or more per tablespoon of apple cider vinegar) to avoid tooth damage.
If you take apple cider vinegar over a period of time, rinse your mouth immediately and thoroughly afterward with plain water. Also, don’t brush your teeth for at least 30 minutes, as this can spread the acid around!
The health benefits of apple cider vinegar
Rich in acetic acid
Results of a research study in Japan suggest that acetic acid may help control blood pressure and fat accumulation. Investigators in Europe looked at the influence of sodium acetate and acetic acid on blood glucose and other biological responses to a mixed meal in healthy subjects.
Has cancer-fighting properties
A study was done in China, where they discovered that vegetable and vinegar consumption reduced the risk of oesophageal cancer. However, it’s effectiveness seems specific to certain types of cancers as it can increase the growth of bladder cancer by 4.4x.
Disinfectant and bacteria killer
Need to balance out your external body bacteria? Perhaps you have a yeast infection or are suffering from athlete’s foot. A bath with ACV can help with that.
Lowers bad cholesterol and prevent cardiovascular disease
Apple cider vinegar can help lower because it contains chlorogenic acids that help lower LDL or bad cholesterol, preventing it from accumulating and crystallizing in the bloodstream. This study was only on rodents, though, so it’s also a good idea to balance a healthy diet to keep low LDL levels.