Till a couple of years back, apple cider vinegar (seb ka sirka) wasn’t very popular. However, of late, it is being recommended by dietitians and health conscious people who consider it as an all-in-one cure for a number of diseases ranging from diabetes and ulcers to weight loss. While its benefits are extensively known to a lot of people, only a handful of them are actually aware of its side effects, which can turn out to be gruesome.
In this article, we will talk about the various side effects of apple cider vinegar.
Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) – A Brief
We all know that apple cider vinegar is extracted from fermented apples. Apple cider vinegar literally means ‘sour wine of apple’ in Latin as well as in French. This sour juice is full of essential vitamins and minerals like pectin, vitamins B1, B2, B6, and C, folic acid, biotin, pantothenic acid, niacin, sodium, phosphorus, iron, calcium, potassium, magnesium, and acetic acid.
Hence, it’s no wonder that apple cider vinegar is utilized to treat a plethora of ailments.
Apple Cider Vinegar Side Effects
- Tissue Damage
- Low Potassium Levels
- Drug Reactions
- Gastrointestinal Problems
- Damaged Tooth Enamel
- Decreased Bone Density
- Sore Throat
- Low Blood Sugar Levels
- Acne And Itchy Skin
- Headaches And Nausea
- Decreased Mineral Levels
Apple Cider Vinegar Side Effects
As the saying goes, anything in excess is fatal. The same can be applied for apple cider vinegar as it can actually cause serious issues if its consumption exceeds the prescribed amount.
Let’s take a look at the side effects caused by the overuse of apple cider vinegar.
1. Tissue Damage
Whether you consume ACV in the tablet form or the liquid form, its overuse can damage or corrode the esophagus, tooth enamel, and stomach lining due to the high level of citric acidic content in it (1). Moreover, direct application of apple cider vinegar on the skin can cause irritation, rashes, and a burning sensation.
To prevent the side effects of apple cider vinegar on the skin, blend it with water, honey, juice or a pinch of baking soda, especially when you have sensitive skin.
2. Low Potassium Levels
According to a Natural Standard review, the high acetic acid content of ACV causes low potassium levels in your blood (2). This condition is called hypokalemia. This situation may cause many associated symptoms and ailments including weakness, nausea, cramps, frequent urination, low blood pressure, changes in heart rhythm, and paralysis.
Make sure you consult your doctor before you start taking apple cider vinegar orally. The topical application doesn’t pose as much threat as ingestion.
3. Drug Reactions
Since it is acidic in nature, ACV can easily react with some drugs like laxatives, diuretics, and insulin (3). Since ACV has a direct effect on the insulin levels and blood sugar, it may prove to be highly hazardous when taken with blood pressure and diabetes medications.
If you’re suffering from any health disorder and want to avoid any drastic reaction, consult your doctor before consuming ACV.
4. Gastrointestinal Problems
Other side effects that are caused due to the acidic nature of apple cider vinegar include serious diarrhea, indigestion, and heartburn (4). If you are using ACV for detoxification, these side effects are very common.
According to experts, consuming unrefined ACV with a pH level of 5-7 prevents these side effects to a large extent. If the side effects do not seem to abate over time, discontinue or lower your dosage.
5. Damaged Tooth Enamel
The high acidic level of undiluted ACV can destroy your tooth enamel if it is consumed orally (5). Besides giving a yellowish tinge to your teeth, it increases your dental sensitivity as well.
In order to avoid direct contact with your teeth, consume liquid ACV using a straw. Mix the ACV with juice or water before you consume it. This will lower the possible side effects of vinegar consumption. To reduce the potential damage to your tooth enamel, brush your teeth immediately after vinegar intake.
6. Decreased Bone Density
The excessive use of apple cider vinegar also reduces the bone mineral density, making our bones weak and brittle (6). Hence, people suffering from osteoporosis should never go overboard with this ingredient.
Take necessary precautions and consult a physician before consuming ACV. However, topical application isn’t that harmful.
7. Sore Throat
Many studies have concluded that the oral overuse of apple cider vinegar can eventually lead to throat irritation (7). This is caused mainly due to the presence of acetic acid in apple cider vinegar.
Generously dilute apple cider vinegar in water, if you want to use it for a prolonged period. It helps prevent the plausible damage to our esophageal wall.
8. Low Blood Sugar Levels
The excessive use of apple cider vinegar can lower the blood sugar levels in the body due to its antiglycemic effect on blood (8). In some cases, it may cause diabetic hypoglycemia, cutting off glucose supply to the brain, and resulting in unconsciousness and even coma. However, this activity of apple cider vinegar comes as a blessing to people suffering from type II diabetes and insulin resistance.
As this situation can be fatal, talking to your doctor before consuming it is the best advice.
9. Acne And Itchy Skin
One of the many purposes of apple cider vinegar is to flush out toxins from our system. However, it can lead to acne production since our body tends to expel toxins via our skin (9).
To avoid the untimely acne spurt, use diluted apple cider vinegar. You should see a doctor beforehand if you have a very sensitive skin.
10. Headaches And Nausea
The overuse of apple cider vinegar can eventually lead to painful headaches accompanied by a feeling of nausea. This occurs due to its detoxification property that makes our brain release harmful toxins.
One should generally avoid consuming apple cider vinegar first thing in the morning as our body is just out of a deep slumber. Also, dilute this product before consuming it as far as possible.
11. Decreased Mineral Levels
As much as detoxification is a must for our body, this process generally flushes out both good and bad substances from our body. It expels a few essential nutrients like minerals that are very important for our health.
We can avoid a drastic drop in the mineral composition in the body by using multivitamins and supplements. Consuming bananas daily can also help.
Expert’s Answers For Readers’ Questions
How much apple cider vinegar we should consume?
The recommended dose of ACV varies depending on your individual needs. If you want to avail the actual health benefits of ACV, mix two tablespoons of ACV with a cup of water and consume it once a day. Before you apply ACV to your skin, dilute it with water so that it doesn’t cause any skin irritation. Many experts advise consuming ACV via a straw to avoid it coming in contact with your teeth.
What should we keep in mind before buying apple cider vinegar?
In order to avoid any drastic damage to your skin and health, consider going for organic ACV that contains living supplements and microorganisms. Also, go through the label of the bottles before you buy ACV. Any brand that has the right constituents is good. Go for Heinz and Bragg – these two brands are really popular and for the right reasons.
How to identify organic apple cider vinegar?
The organic and natural counterpart of apple cider vinegar is unpasteurized and crude. It is considered to be the best is due to the presence of actual microscopic organisms that cure a spectrum of ailments. So, if you are unable to identify the natural one, go for the unfiltered and unheated one that contains a strand-type sediment at the bottom of the jar. But, make sure you shake the bottle before using it. The non-organic one, however, is devoid of such a sediment and is unnaturally clear.
Can apple cider vinegar be consumed with beverages?
Caffeine may affect the absorption of apple cider vinegar, so if you really want to mix it with your beverage, use homegrown decaf tea. Also, mixing them both can increase the acidic level of the beverage since both caffeine and ACV are acidic in nature. This applies to all carbonated beverages.
However, if you want to consume it with beverages, take it with honeyed water.
What time of the day is best for consuming apple cider vinegar?
You can consume apple cider vinegar at any time of the day, except for the time after you wake up. Consuming ACV an hour before your meals can help in the proper functioning of your digestive system.
How often should apple cider vinegar be consumed on a daily basis?
This totally depends on what your doctor suggests. However, consuming it twice a day is safe.
Can ACV be taken in the form of pills?
Yes, you can consume apple cider vinegar in any form you like, but make it a point not to overdo it.
Who should avoid using apple cider vinegar?
Apple cider vinegar is known to have a huge impact on a woman’s body. Pregnant ladies and lactating mothers are generally advised to avoid it. People who are on medication or going through chemotherapy should also avoid consuming apple cider vinegar.
Hope you are now aware of the apple cider vinegar side effects. Acetic acid is the basic component of ACV, and this causes certain health issues when consumed in the concentrated form. Using ACV in the right way and amount can help avoid its side effects.
We hope this article was useful. If you know any other side effects of ACV, please comment in the box below.
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