You might have heard the adage “too much of anything is bad”. But people often chug apple cider vinegar religiously because of the numerous health benefits it offers; one of the prime ones being weight loss.
If you’re one of those people, you must have wondered from time to time, is too much apple cider vinegar bad for your health? Or is it a more-the-merrier kind of thing?
Although vinegar has been proclaimed as the go-to cure for almost every ailment, too much of it can have numerous side effects, both short and long term. A survey published in 2020 shows that the demand and supply of apple cider vinegar is increasing every year, with shipments amounting to US $682.5 million in 2016.
Here we have listed how much you should consume per day, some of the side effects that having too much apple cider vinegar opens you up to, and tips for safe usage.
How Much Apple Cider Vinegar Should I Consume per Day?
From celebrities to fitness experts, apple cider vinegar is promoted by many for its benefits. For thousands of years, it has been used as a health tonic, and it benefits are backed by science. So why not consume more and more of it? How much should I take? How much is too much?
Its consumption must be regulated depending on why you’re taking it. If the idea is to simply consume it for general wellness, such as heart disease prevention, there are no dosage recommendations, since there is no data that backs these claims.
However, if you are looking for a more targeted treatment, the recommended dosage may vary.
1. To Manage Blood Sugar
Apple cider vinegar is recommended by many as a natural and risk-free way to keep blood sugar in check. Although not risk-free, you do get an organic solution.
However, it depends on how you take it. Studies have shown that when taken in small quantities before a high-carb meal, the vinegar assists in breaking down the food particles, increasing the amount of glucose that goes into cells, leading to lower blood sugar levels.
To have this effect, four teaspoons of vinegar before high-carb meals are recommended, either in water or mixed in the meal itself. Consuming too much apple cider vinegar before a low-carb or high-fiber meal can be counterproductive, though.
2. Weight Loss
Having trouble shedding some weight? You might have heard somewhere that the more apple cider vinegar you consume, the quicker you’ll lose weight, but that couldn’t be further from the truth!
One very prevailing benefit of apple cider vinegar is that it makes you feel like you are full. It’s true that its acidic nature can facilitate your stomach, but too much apple cider vinegar might end up damaging your stomach’s linings.
A study conducted by the Central Research Institute of Mizkan Group showed that two table spoons per day helped overweight adults loose 2.6 to 3.7 pounds(1.2 – 1.7 kg) during a period of three months.
Apple cider vinegar can be mixed with oils to make a salad dressing or mixed with water to be drunk before meals.
Fun Fact 1: Apple cider vinegar can act as a great herbicide for plants that like acidic environment such as cucumber, broccoli, roses, etc., while helping you get rid of weeds!
3. Improved Digestion
As mentioned above, the acidic nature of apple cider vinegar can help consumers with their digestion. The increased acidity creates more pepsin, the enzyme responsible for breaking down food. However, this fact is yet to be researched on humans.
It is recommended that one to two tablespoons per day be consumed with a glass of water before meals to not only improve digestion but also prevent overeating.
4. Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
Women with PCOS can also consume apple cider vinegar for relief. Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome is a condition where women face abnormal menstrual cycles because of increased androgen hormones, insulin resistance, and ovarian cysts.
Apple cider vinegar has been known to increase insulin sensitivity because of its improved digestion properties, thus tackling the insulin resistance in PCOS and providing relief.
A study conducted by the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology in Shiga University of Medical Science showed that by drinking one tablespoon per day with 1 cup of water after dinner can help regulate hormone levelsand lead to more consistent menstruation cycles.
Following is a short summary of the dosage recommendations in tabular form:
|Blood Sugar Management||20 ml before high-carb meals|
|Weight Loss||15-30 ml per day|
|Improved Digestion||15-30 ml before meals|
|Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome||15 ml mixed in 100 ml water|
|Diabetes/Heart Disease Prevention||15-30 ml per day|
Remember, apple cider vinegar shouldn’t be considered as a dietary supplement for medical disorders.
Fun Fact 2: The most beneficial part of apple cider vinegar is its cloudy residue, which often settles at the bottom. Shake it like crazy before use!
Side Effects of Too Much Apple Cider Vinegar
From food dressing to flavoring, baking, and straight-out drinking it in a glass, this vinegar is everywhere. Now that we know how much is too much, let’s focus on what happens if you drink too much apple cider vinegar.
But first, we need to understand that forgetfully drinking two or three more teaspoons once in a blue moon doesn’t mean the end of the world; just that your organs are going to have to work a bit harder to get it out of your system.
1. Tooth decay
Acidic foods are known to weaken tooth enamel if consumed too frequently, which can lead to tooth decay after some time. The damage isn’t visible nor felt much at first, but with time as the damage gets worst, you might suffer tooth aches when consuming sweet, hot or cold foodstuffs.
Consuming too much apple cider vinegar can increase the risk of tooth decay and if left unchecked, might require fillings or complete root canals in the long term.
A short-term side effect of apple cider vinegar is nausea. A study conducted by the Nutritional Sciences division in University of Surrey showed that people consuming more than 25 grams of vinegar a day suffered from nausea.
However, it turned out that the nausea occurred mainly due to the sourness of the apple cider vinegar, not the vinegar itself.
A blog published by Dr. Robert H. Shmerling, an associate medicine professor at Harvard School suggested that cider vinegar has been reported to lower potassium levels(hypokalemia) in consumers.
Severe hypokalemia cases report that sufferers experience muscle weakness and in extreme cases, paralysis.
To avoid this, it isn’t recommended to take too much apple cider vinegar, which he reported to be around 8 ounces. Overdose might also lead to an imbalance in electrolytes, causing heart and breathing problems.
4. Gastrointestinal issues
The weight loss properties of apple cider vinegar are perhaps the core reason why many people consume it in such large quantities. This is because you feel full after consuming it, effectively suppressing your appetite.
Drinking undiluted vinegar can worsen symptoms in the digestive system, the increased acidity resulting in ulcers or acid reflux.
5. Kidney Function
For people with existing kidney issues, consuming apple cider vinegar in large quantities might as well be as if they’re intentionally attacking their kidney. The acid in the vinegar is bound to reach your kidneys at some point, exacerbating any existing conditions further.
For such cases, it is advised to maintain proportion control over their consumption. You should avoid using apple cider vinegar altogether, or consume 1 to 2 teaspoons of diluted apple cider vinegar with 8 ounces of water if you’re insistent.
Fun Fact 3: Apple cider vinegar has been used for centuries. Residue has even been found in a 10,000 year old vase in Egypt!
Tips for Safe Apple Cider Vinegar Usage
Just because there are side effects to something doesn’t mean you should avoid using it completely. Following are some tips for healthy apple cider vinegar usage;
- Regulate how much you consume
- Always dilute the vinegar before consuming
- Due to its acidic nature, avoid skin contact for longer periods
- Use the vinegar as an ingredient rather than a drink
- Avoid the vinegar touching teeth – use a straw if you’re going to drink it.
Many people use apple cider vinegar regularly to enhance their overall health, and also as a weight-loss ingredient. In 2016, the search term “organic apple cider vinegar” saw an 86% increase in search volume, ranking fourth in the top volume food trend.
There is a number of health benefits associated with it, but consuming too much apple cider vinegar might have the opposite impact as the one you’re looking for. Regulate your intake with the tips we’ve mentioned above and the recommended quantities to enjoy this healthy treat safely.
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