Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV): Hype Or Help? Here’s What One Doctor Found…

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Apple Cider Vinegar - Hype or Help (What 1 Doctor Found)
Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV)- Hype or Help? What 1 Doctor Found Graphic © Background photo: Pixabay (PD)

Dr. Ken Berry, popular Youtuber and a doctor with over 20 years of clinical experience, tackles the hype surrounding ACV – apple cider vinegar – in a popular video.

What is ACV?

Apple cider vinegar has seen a huge resurgence in popularity with all the clamor surrounding its health benefits. Before the health craze, ACV has in fact been in use since ancient times as a dietary and medicinal ingredient and has been popular in its own right as a flavoring added to food. However, recent studies have begun to uncover the numerous benefits of ACV and how adding it your diet can actually improve your overall health, mainly due to its significant flavonoid content. Flavonoids are phenolic structures typically found in fruits and vegetables that fight against oxidative stress. [1]

There are innumerable health claims about apple cider vinegar. Some of these have legions of personal testimonials and are very interesting, but have insufficient scientific research. I decided to cut through the hype and do some deep fact-checking on ACV. In short, Dr. Berry’s report “checks out” and has a solid basis in science. Here’s what scientific research says in detail:

1. Apple cider vinegar lowers post-prandial glucose and insulin levels.

Dr. Berry covers two studies that focused ACV’s effect on post-prandial glucose and insulin. Post-prandial glucose is your blood sugar levels after you eat, and high levels of this may mean that you are at risk for developing diabetes. So what does insulin have to do with blood sugar? Insulin is responsible for bringing in the circulating blood glucose into the cell, lowering post-prandial glucose levels. In people with diabetes, this insulin response is damaged, which causes glucose to remain circulating in the blood – a condition called hyperglycemia (literally “high blood sugar”), which is a hallmark symptom of diabetes. [2]

The first study, published in 2005 by Ostman, et. al., found that vinegar supplementation was able to improve the body’s metabolic and insulin response after eating a meal, lowering both glucose and insulin responses after the intake of white bread. [3] The second study published in 2017 had nearly identical results: lower post-prandial glucose and insulin levels after vinegar supplementation. [4]

A more recent study in 2021 reported that apple cider vinegar was able to reduce total cholesterol levels along with fasting plasma glucose. This was the result of a meta-analysis of 10 studies on ACV, showing the favorable effect of supplementation on lipid and glycemic parameters. [5]

2. Apple cider vinegar causes early satiety.

One of the obstacles in losing weight or keeping your diet healthy is an increased appetite. Despite eating a full meal, you may still feel hungry or unsatisfied. The study by Ostman in 2005 not only showed that vinegar was able to lower post-prandial glucose, but that it was also able to improve post-prandial satiety. The participants reported feeling full or satiated when they took vinegar with their meal. [3]

In 2014, researchers focused on this appetite suppressant ability of vinegar, however, results showed that this was due to the feelings of nausea after the intake of vinegar. [6] A more promising study was published later in 2018, showing that ACV supplementation together with a restricted calorie diet was able to decrease appetite significantly without any negative effects. [7]

3. Apple cider vinegar may potentially lower your blood pressure.

While more research still needs to be done on this third claim, a study early on in 2001 found that vinegar was able to reduce blood pressure by affecting the renin activity in the body. [8] Renin is an enzyme produced by the kidneys and plays a part in the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system, which is responsible for regulating blood pressure. Similar, if not identical, results were seen in a later study published in 2016, where acetic acid was able to reduce blood pressure together with Nifedipine, a drug used to manage hypertension. The researchers reported that vinegar and Nifedipine together were better at controlling blood pressure than either of them alone. [9]

4. Apple cider vinegar may assist with weight loss.

Dr. Berry cited a 2009 study by Kondo, et. al. who reported that acetic acid, the main component of ACV, was able to reduce body fat among obese, Japanese subjects in a double-blind clinical trial. After consuming 500ml of a beverage mixed with 15ml to 30ml of vinegar over a period of 12 weeks, the researchers reported a significant decrease in body weight, BMI, visceral fat area, waist circumference, and serum triglyceride levels compared to the placebo group. [10]

In a previously mentioned study published in 2018 where vinegar was able to reduce appetite, it was also reported to promote weight loss. [7] The researchers were able to conclude that supplementation with apple cider vinegar specifically in conjunction with a restricted calorie diet decreased body weight, body mass index, hip circumference, and visceral adiposity index. The study also showed how ACV was able to reduce triglyceride and improve HDL (also known as “good cholesterol”) levels – very similar results to Kondo’s study in 2009.

5. Apple cider vinegar may help your fatty liver.

If ACV can help promote weight loss and reduce visceral adiposity, is there a chance that it can help with your fatty liver? In 2009, Kondo and her team of researchers also reported how acetic acid could improve fatty acid oxidation in the liver and reducing liver lipids and the accumulation of body fat. [11] In 2016, Omar, et. al. reported that apple cider vinegar exhibited hepatoprotective effects on the liver in cases of diabetes or persistent high blood sugar. [12] More innovative studies published in 2019 and 2021 zeroed in on acetic acid-producing organisms and found that they were able to attenuate non-alcoholic fatty liver disease in test subjects. [13][14]

6. ACV and GERD

Dr. Ken Berry mentions one condition specifically when it comes to ACV benefits – GERD, or gastroesophageal reflux disease. GERD is a condition when your stomach acid flows back out into the esophagus, causing a feeling of “heartburn” or hyperacidity. [15] But can something acidic help with hyperacidity? Dr. Berry sounds off on this topic as something that definitely needs to be studied further with thousands of anecdotes online about how taking ACV has helped with heartburn and GERD, despite research being sorely lacking on the topic. However, GERD is only of the many health conditions that taking ACV has been associated with improving.

How Much Apple Cider Vinegar Should You Take?

If you do decide to supplement with apple cider vinegar, make sure do so with caution. Dr. Berry recommends mixing your dose of ACV with juice or diluting it with water in order to improve the palatability and reduce the acidity. If your stomach can handle it, you can try taking a 5 ml shot of ACV with each meal. Adding ACV to your food, either through cooking or even as salad dressings can be beneficial as well.



[1] Hadi, A., et. al. (2021). The effect of apple cider vinegar on lipid profiles and glycemic parameters: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized clinical trials.

[2] The Mayo Clinic. Hypergylcemia.

[3] Ostman, E., et. al. (2005). Vinegar supplementation lowers glucose and insulin responses and increases satiety after a bread meal in healthy subjects.

[4] Shishehbor, F., et. al. (2017). Vinegar consumption can attenuate postprandial glucose and insulin responses; a systematic review and meta-analysis of clinical trials.

[5] Hadi, A., et. al. (2021). The effect of apple cider vinegar on lipid profiles and glycemic parameters: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized clinical trials.

[6] Darzi, J., et. al. (2014). Influence of the tolerability of vinegar as an oral source of short-chain fatty acids on appetite control and food intake.

[7] Khezri, S., et. al. (2018). Beneficial effects of Apple Cider Vinegar on weight management, Visceral Adiposity Index and lipid profile in overweight or obese subjects receiving restricted calorie diet: A randomized clinical trial.

[8] Kondo, S., et. al. (2001). Antihypertensive Effects of Acetic Acid and Vinegar on Spontaneously Hypertensive Rats.

[9] Na, L. et. al. (2016). Vinegar decreases blood pressure by down-regulating AT1R expression via the AMPK/PGC-1α/PPARγ pathway in spontaneously hypertensive rats.

[10] Kondo, T., et. al. (2009). Vinegar intake reduces body weight, body fat mass, and serum triglyceride levels in obese Japanese subjects.

[11] Kondo, T., et. al. (2009). Acetic acid upregulates the expression of genes for fatty acid oxidation enzymes in liver to suppress body fat accumulation.

[12] Omar, N., et. al. (2016). Hepatoprotective and antidiabetic effects of apple cider vinegar (A Prophetic Medicine Remedy) on the liver of male rats.

[13] Yun, J., et. al. (2019). Indole-3-Acetic Acid Alleviates Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease in Mice via Attenuation of Hepatic Lipogenesis, and Oxidative and Inflammatory Stress.

[14] Hong, Y., et. al. (2021). Desulfovibrio vulgaris, a potent acetic acid-producing bacterium, attenuates nonalcoholic fatty liver disease in mice.

[15] Mayo Clinic. Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).

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