Recently I found out my dad has been drinking apple cider vinegar with water, cayenne pepper, and lemon juice every morning. I suspect that he read about it in the most recent edition of the Prevention Newsletter. 

All over the internet people are claiming that apple cider vinegar helps with everything from acne to weight loss. Because of my dad, I felt inspired to dig into the research to see if it lives up to any of those marketed benefits. We take this kind of stuff more seriously when it involves a loved one. 

What is Apple Cider Vinegar?

Apple cider vinegar (ACV) is made in a 2 step fermentation process. In the first step, apple juice is fermented with yeast to turn the sugar into alcohol. A second fermentation takes place by adding bacteria to turn the alcohol into acetic acid. (P.S. Acetic acid is the main ingredient of ANY vinegar.)

Benefits: Good-ish, Moderate, None-ish 

Good-ish: Blood Sugar Control 

There is good evidence to show that ACV can lower blood sugars and improve blood sugar control in those who have diabetes or prediabetes. The acetic acid found in apple cider vinegar has been shown to slow the digestion of carbohydrates. This reduces the rate at which sugars enter the bloodstream and helps to maintain more consistent blood sugar levels.

Research shows ACV consumption decreases fasting plasma glucose, serum cholesterol, and hemoglobin A1C (a measure of your average blood sugar over three months). Another study showed that taking 2-3 tsp of apple cider vinegar with carbohydrate-rich meals, lowered blood sugar levels and improved hemoglobin A1C. 

Bottom line. If you have diabetes or prediabetes, you still need to take your medications. But, adding ACV diluted with water after meals is likely a safe edition to your treatment plan. Make sure to run it by your physician first, though. ACV can interact with some medications.  

Moderate-ish: Digestive Health

Raw apple cider vinegar contains something called the “mother” (floating strands you might see in raw apple cider). The mother is made up of a blend of bacteria and yeast and is a source of probiotics. Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that contribute to a healthy gut microbiome.

You’ll get a larger dose of probiotics from foods like kefir milk, sauerkraut, and kombucha than you will from ACV. And FYI,  pasteurized ACV doesn’t contain these live probiotics.

None-ish (in the research!) But Moderate-ish by testimony

ACV has also long been promoted to help with bloating. There are many reasons that people get bloated. Before you start any treatment for it, we recommend working with a registered dietitian before starting any kind of treatment.

It has been touted that taking 2-3 tsp of diluted vinegar (any kind) may help with digestion after a meal. There is no scientific evidence of this, but it has been widely reported anecdotally (take this one with a grain of salt!).

Moderate-ish: Heart Health & Weight Loss

A meta-analysis of 9 studies showed that taking ACV slightly lowered total cholesterol. These results were very minimal. Replacing a serving of meat with a serving of beans twice per week would likely have a greater impact. 

Studies suggest that ACV boost weight loss by increasing feelings of fullness or by causing nausea which results in less eating (weird, we know!). However, any weight loss reported in these studies is VERY small.

In a recent study participants classified as overweight or obese were provided 5, 10 or 15 mL of ACV daily for 12 weeks. At the 4, 8 and 12 week points, all participants regardless of amount of ACV they were taking had decreased BMI, body weight, and blood glucose levels. At the 8 and 12 week point, waist to hip ratio and body fat percentage were also decreased as well as reduced triglycerides and cholesterol. This study also found that the group consuming 15 mL had the greatest reductions. The most significant findings were at the 12 week point. 

It is important to note that in these studies, participants were also making lifestyle changes specific to diet and exercise during the course of the study. Basically this research shows that ACV may be helpful to speed up weight loss when partnered with lifestyle changes. 

Are there risks to drinking apple cider vinegar? 


Always check with your doctor or pharmacist before starting an ACV regimen. You should not take ACV if you have stomach ulcers and it may interact with certain medications. Some of these medications include diabetes medications, diuretics, and certain heart medications. 

Do you care about your pearly whites? ACV degrades your teeth enamel so if you choose to take it be sure to dilute the 1-2 tablespoons in at least one cup of water. You should also wait at least an hour after taking the ACV to brush your teeth as a way to help preserve enamel. 

Overall Thoughts

We definitely wouldn’t recommend apple cider vinegar as a magic elixir or cure all, but I’m still going to let me dad take it. If you want to have some watered down ACV after a meal to maybe support blood sugars, heart health, and digestion we can affirm it may offer a (tiny) boost of support. 


  1. Abou-Khalil R, Andary J, El-Hayek EApple cider vinegar for weight management in Lebanese adolescents and young adults with overweight and obesity: a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled studyBMJ Nutrition, Prevention & Health 2024;e000823. doi: 10.1136/bmjnph-2023-000823
  2. Carol S. Johnston, Cindy M. Kim, Amanda J. Buller; Vinegar Improves Insulin Sensitivity to a High-Carbohydrate Meal in Subjects With Insulin Resistance or Type 2 Diabetes. Diabetes Care 1 January 2004; 27 (1): 281–282.
  3. Hadi, A., Pourmasoumi, M., Najafgholizadeh, A., Clark, C. C. T., & Esmaillzadeh, A. (2021). The effect of apple cider vinegar on lipid profiles and glycemic parameters: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized clinical trials. BMC complementary medicine and therapies, 21(1), 179.
  4. Tomoo KONDO, Mikiya KISHI, Takashi FUSHIMI, Shinobu UGAJIN, Takayuki KAGA, Vinegar Intake Reduces Body Weight, Body Fat Mass, and Serum Triglyceride Levels in Obese Japanese Subjects, Bioscience, Biotechnology, and Biochemistry, Volume 73, Issue 8, 23 August 2009, Pages 1837–1843,