Apple cider vinegar (ACV) is a herbal supplement, popular in alternative medicine. It has about 5% acid level. ACV is a natural heartburn remedy, but it has even more benefits, e.g. helping to lose weight and to cure acne. Many patients have tried it with success.
Does apple cider vinegar help acid reflux?
How does ACV work for acid reflux? For many of us the fact that apple cider vinegar is a heartburn remedy is not very logical. How come that acid helps curing an excess amount of other acid produced by the body? The explanation is simple when you think about how your body digests food – difficult to process meals require more of the stomach acid. Adding a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar makes the food easier to digest, so your stomach doesn’t need to raise it’s activity. By helping your stomach to digest and thus calming it, apple cider vinegar prevents acid reflux, the medical condition perceived as a burning sensation. The stomach acid is less likely to be pushed out to the esophagus, thus causing less problems.
Apple cider vinegar dosage
Any medication (or natural remedy) should be applied in just right amount. It’s called MED – minimal effective dose. You can take about 1-2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar a day, which would be enough to cure your heartburn. A popular way is to add it to a cup of tea instead of lemon juice. If you don’t like the taste – mix in a little bit of honey. Don’t consume ACV in excess, patients who consumed a glass of vinegar daily for years have been reported to have lowered potassium levels and reduced bone density, a medical condition known as osteoporosis (link to the research here).
Best apple cider vinegar
ACV is a natural product and it the less it is processed the better for its quality. The production process of apple cider vinegar includes pressing apple juice from apples, and than fermenting it twice, firstly from apple juice to cider, secondly from cider to vinegar. During the production process the nutrients and vitamins from apples are enriched by acids and enzymes resulting from the fermentation.
Subsequent processing, like distilling, filtering or pasteurizing do not improve the quality of the vinegar, quite the contrary additional treatment renders the apple cider vinegar less effective.
How do you find the best apple cider vinegar? It should be made from organic grown apples. The apple juice should be pressed cold. The ACV should contain the “mother of vinegar” which is a gelatinous substance formed during the fermentation from cider to vinegar. The ACV should not be pasteurized and it shouldn’t contain any preservatives, it would be labeled as raw apple cider vinegar. Another important factor is the packaging. Apple cider vinegar and vinegar in general contain acid. Acids have ability to dissolve certain substances like plastics. This is why you want to buy your ACV in a glass bottle, which is resistant against acid. The best selling brand of apple cider vinegar is Bragg.
Pills are of course more convenient to take than the ACV in a bottle. You can easily take them with you, without carrying around a bottle and risking a spill in your bag. However there are some facts regarding the ACV pills you have to be aware of. Vinegar pills are not very well regulated, the vinegar content may vary significantly from brand to brand. Scientific lab research confirms that various brands of apple cider vinegar pills are not created equal (link to scientific paper here), so it’s really important to pick a reliable manufacturer. The best selling apple cider vinegar pills come from Now Foods, user reviews show a high level of customer satisfaction with this brand.
Apple cider vinegar benefits
Apple cider vinegar was known as a medicine in Ancient Greece, Hypocrates prescribed it mixed with honey. Vinegar is not only effective for heartburn, another well known benefit of ACV is supporting the weight loss. A lab research on mice showed reduced body fat accumulation when ACV was administered (link here). Human tests on obese patients showed similar results (link here). Apple cider vinegar has been also successfully used for beautiful skin and hair.
Apple cider vinegar mother
One important property of a good ACV is the “mother”. Mother is a web-like structure which has not been processed beyond the natural fermentation (neither filtered nor pasteurized). Vinegar mother can be observed when the bottle is held to light. It is made of pectins (sugars) from apples and acetic acid bacteria remaining after the fermentation from alcohol (cider) to vinegar. The mother is a sign of gentle processing, it means that the enzymes and minerals have not been removed in the production process.