Apple cider vinegar (ACV) is well known for its numerous health benefits. We have all heard of at least one ailment that can be miraculously treated by taking a “spoonful of apple cider vinegar”; everything from aiding weight loss and reducing cholesterol to even treating cancer!
A bottle of ACV is a very common sight in most household kitchens and it’s often used as an ingredient in cooking and in salad dressings. But many people find its flavor unpleasant when taken as a supplement
Thankfully, nowadays apple cider vinegar is available in pill forms.
This article delves into the advantages and downsides of apple cider vinegar liquid vs the pills.
- What is Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV)?
- Apple Cider Vinegar Pills vs Liquid: Does your Method of Consumption Matter?
- The Pros and Cons of using Apple Cider Vinegar Liquid
- The Pros and Cons of using Apple Cider Vinegar Pills
- The Health Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar Liquid/Pills
- The Dosage of Apple Cider Vinegar Pills and Liquid
- The Risks and Precautions of Apple Cider Vinegar Pills/Liquid
What is Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV)?
Apple Cider Vinegar is made when yeast and bacteria are added to apple juice. The yeast ferments the sugar in the juice into alcohol and the bacteria then converts the alcohol into acetic acid. This acetic acid is what gives vinegar it’s strong, distinct smell and sour taste (1).
Apple cider vinegar has, over the years, been used as a home remedy to treat many ailments and problems. This can be owed to the antimicrobial and antioxidant properties of the vinegar.
It has also been proven to play a role in reducing weight, cholesterol, and blood sugar levels.
Its positive effects on weight loss have supported its use as a weight-loss supplement. Apple cider vinegar is now available in two forms, namely, liquid or as pills.
Summary: Apple cider vinegar is mostly apple juice that when yeast is added to it, the sugar gets converted to alcohol which then gets converted to acetic acid by bacteria.
Apple Cider Vinegar Pills vs Liquid: Does your Method of Consumption Matter?
When we take into account ACV’s many health benefits, we must also consider the efficacy of how we consume it. Does the way we take them (pill or liquid) have any bearing on how well it works?
You may be new to the concept of ACV and its uses or you just want to try a different method. Either way, we have compiled all the information about the ACV pills vs liquid and which is better.
Technically, both provide the same benefits when you come right down to it, since ACV pills are essentially dehydrated vinegar, put into tablet or capsule form. They give the same benefits, but the pills do possess a slight edge over the liquid in some ways.
Before we get into that, let’s look into what has made ACV such a success in our households.
Summary: ACV comes in both liquid and pill form. Although both have the same benefits, the pill form has a slight advantage.
The Pros and Cons of using Apple Cider Vinegar Liquid
The use of ACV as a home remedy has been going on for a very long time and has been available in the form of a liquid since then.
Only recently did the pill form appear on the market. So let’s explore the pros and cons of the liquid form of ACV first.
Pros of Liquid ACV:
- Easily available – Almost every household has a bottle of ACV in the kitchen since we use it in some way or another, for example, in salad dressing.
- Fairly inexpensive – On average, a bottle of 500ml ACV costs much lesser than a jar of 500mg of capsules.
- No additives – Unlike the pills, the liquid is purely apple cider vinegar. So you don’t have to worry about its constituents.
- Can be used in daily cooking – ACV is used a lot as salad dressing and in other dishes to enhance the taste. So adding it in with a glass of water or tea is easy.
Cons of Liquid ACV:
- Disagreeable taste – The sour and unpalatable taste is one of the main reasons why manufacturers came up with a capsular or tablet form of ACV.
- Tooth erosion and sensitivity – Chronic consumption of apple cider vinegar, especially if not sufficiently diluted, can erode the enamel of the teeth and increase its sensitivity (2).
- Chemical burns – The use of undiluted ACV on the skin can cause sustained burns. There was one reported case of a young boy who suffered from a chemical burn caused by using ACV undiluted (3).
Summary: ACV in liquid form is easily available and relatively inexpensive. Although it does have a disagreeable taste and chronic use without dilution can cause enamel erosion and chemical burns.
The Pros and Cons of using Apple Cider Vinegar Pills
Now, the ACV pills are a great substitute to the liquid, since it is designed to overcome the disadvantages that the liquid form poses. There are many brands available these days, to choose from. So here are the pros and cons of the ACV pills.
Pros of ACV Pills:
- Palatable– The ACV is coated in tablet form or encapsulated in capsule form, so the taste of vinegar can be avoided.
- Flavored coating available – Many brands also flavor the coating of the pills, making it easier to consume.
- Avoids enamel erosion and mucosal irritation – Since it’s in pill form, the chance of enamel erosion is avoided. The coating is harmless to the stomach lining as well.
- Vegan capsules available – Some brands cater to the vegetarians who will prefer it.
Cons of ACV Pills:
- ACV pills come under the category of dietary supplements, which in effect, do not need to comply with FDA regulations. This means that we can’t necessarily be sure of what it can and cannot do.
- There has also been a report of a woman who developed throat irritation and injury after a pill got stuck in her food pipe (4).
- ACV should be taken in moderate doses. It may in some people cause stomach discomfort, especially among people with a history of reflux or ulcers.
- There isn’t any standardization in the content, pH, or size of the different brands of pills available in the market. So, the quality of each product is unpredictable.
- The coating of the capsule of some brands may be animal-based, so that’s a disadvantage for vegetarians.
- Some brands of ACV pills may contain other ingredients like cayenne pepper or ginger. A few may be allergic to them.
- Most of the research on apple cider vinegar involves the liquid form and very little on the pill. So the findings may not all translate to the pills.
Summary: The ACV pills are more palatable and avoid the risk of enamel erosion and mucosal burns. Although, there isn’t any standardization to the constituents of different brands, so have to depend on individual manufacturer’s dosage instructions.
The Health Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar Liquid/Pills
The acetic acid in apple cider vinegar is the active compound of vinegar (5). This component is believed to impart the health benefits of ACV, which contains 5-6% acetic acid.
The murky appearance that you see in unfiltered, organic apple cider vinegar is due to the presence of a mixture of helpful bacteria, yeast, and some proteins. This is called “mother” and is probiotic in nature.
Here, we’ll look into it’s more proven health benefits.
The antimicrobial properties of vinegar make it useful as a natural remedy to help treat stomach or ear infections, or for removal of warts and treatment of nail fungus.
Acetic acid has been reported to be very lethal to E. coli bacteria and is also known to inhibit harmful bacteria on fresh fruits and vegetables (6).
Apple cider vinegar along with other kinds of vinegar contains chemicals called polyphenols that have antioxidant effects. They help stop cell damage, by fighting off free radicals (7). This keeps the body healthy.
Helps Reduce Blood Sugar Levels
A 2005 study done in Lund University, Sweden, noted that vinegar along with a carbohydrate-rich meal significantly reduced the blood sugar levels after the meal (8).
Vinegar does this by increasing the glucose uptake by the cells and inhibiting the breakdown of starch (9).
Although apple cider vinegar has a beneficial role in reducing blood sugar levels in diabetic patients, we must stress that you do not use it as a replacement for medical treatment (10).
Aids in Weight Loss
Evidence suggests that apple cider vinegar can help in weight loss when combined with a calorie strict diet and regular exercise (11).
A clinical trial was conducted in 2018, to study the beneficial effects of apple cider vinegar on weight management. They compared two groups, one with a reduced-calorie diet alone and the other along with ACV (12).
It showed the following results:
- More weight loss with apple cider vinegar
- Body mass index reduced
- An improvement in triglyceride and cholesterol levels
Lowers Risk of Heart Disease
Vinegar is known to decrease blood pressure and reduces blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels, and so it can reduce the risk of heart disease (13).
Since most of the studies have been conducted on animals, more concrete studies must be done on humans to give a more accurate picture.
Boosts Skin Health
Apple cider vinegar is commonly suggested for treating skin conditions like dryness and eczema (14). The acidic pH of vinegar restores the natural acidic pH of the skin and helps to retain moisture longer.
The antimicrobial nature of vinegar helps to prevent bacterial growth on the skin and reduce the chances of infections.
May Help Reduce Blood Pressure
Apple cider vinegar has shown to lower the blood pressure level in the body. It is known that acetic acid in vinegar, has the ability to decrease serum renin and angiotensin-converting enzymes that lowers blood pressure (15).
ACV, which contains about 5-6% of acetic acid, may follow a similar mechanism in doing that. However, more studies on the connection between ACV and its benefit on blood pressure needs to be done to totally confirm it.
Summary: ACV has been proven to help reduce blood sugar levels and the accumulation of fat cells in the body. The acidic nature of ACV can be used to restore the natural pH of the skin and help treat mild cases of skin dryness and eczema.
The Dosage of Apple Cider Vinegar Pills and Liquid
As it is essentially an acidic substance, it is generally a good idea to take ACV diluted in something as in small doses. Side effects can occur if it’s taken undiluted or if it’s applied to the skin directly.
A 2016 article noted that consuming 15 ml or 1 tbsp of acetic acid daily is usually enough to see its potential health benefits (16). However, the exact recommended dosage, to some degree, depends on the condition we’re looking to treat.
Below is a list of a few conditions where ACV is known to help manage, alongside the recommended dosages that have prompted an improvement.
Please note that one should talk to their doctor before they add extra ACV into their diet for medical purposes. It may not be suitable for certain conditions and may also interact with some medications.
- Blood Sugar Level – According to the 2004 study, taking 20gms of ACV with water and a tsp of sugar before a meal, helped increase insulin sensitivity in the subjects (17). Consuming around 2 tbsp of apple cider vinegar before bedtime, reduced the waking blood sugar levels favorably (18).
- Weight loss – A 2014 study and later a 2018 trial both proved that consuming around 15ml of ACV was sufficient enough to reduce body fat mass weight, and fat or lipids in the blood (19).
- PCOS – Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a condition that affects a woman’s ovarian function. It causes irregular menstruation, which may lead to decreased fertility. A study done in 2013 noted insulin insensitivity may be a potential cause for PCOS in some women.
Since ACV is effective in improving insulin sensitivity, the researchers gave 15ml of ACV to 10 subjects with PCOS for 90-110 days. They noted an increase in insulin sensitivity and improved menstrual cycles (20).
- For eczema and other skin issues – Adding 2 cups of ACV to a warm water bath helps to soothe the skin, according to the National Eczema Association (21). Adding 1 tbsp with ¼ cup of sunflower oil applied to the scalp after a bath can help soothe the skin and help retain moisture.
However, be sure to consult with your healthcare provider before switching to a home remedy to treat any skin disorder.
The Risks and Precautions of Apple Cider Vinegar Pills/Liquid
As wonderful as ACV sounds, it isn’t without some risks, especially when taken in large doses.
Risks of taking Apple Cider Vinegar Pill/Liquid
- Being essentially vinegar, it isn’t advisable for use by those who have stomach issues like ulcers.
- It can delay stomach emptying, leading to bloating, nausea, and heartburn (22).
- There was one report of low potassium levels and brittle bones due to the prolonged intake of ACV in large doses (23).
- Can cause tooth enamel erosion, and damage to the throat and esophagus if it’s not sufficiently diluted and proper rinsing isn’t done after swallowing. It can worsen tooth sensitivity (24) (25).
- Skin burns due to the application of concentrated ACV have been noted in a couple of studies.
- A couple of medications are known to interact with AC! such as some diuretic drugs, Digoxin, and Insulin or insulin stimulating drugs.
So, be sure to discuss with your healthcare provider thoroughly to see if ACV is a viable supplement to your daily treatment regimen.
Summary: If apple cider vinegar is consumed without properly diluting for a long time, it can cause nausea and enamel erosion. It delays gastric emptying causing heartburns and bloating. It may interact with medications such as Insulin, digoxin, and diuretics.
Precautions to Follow While Taking ACV
A few precautions may be considered when deciding on taking ACV as a supplement, be it in liquid or pill form. This is to ensure that one can avoid any potential side effects:
- Limiting intake. It is best to start with a lesser dose of ACV than required and slowly work this amount up to the actual recommendation. For the liquid form, you can start with less than a tablespoon, then work upwards. For the pill, half of the product label recommendation.
- Avoid direct contact with the skin. As apple cider vinegar is acidic, it can cause harm if applied directly to the skin without dilution with any medium. Doctors have documented chemical burns due to direct chronic contact with skin.
- Minimize tooth exposure. As we know ACV in liquid form can cause tooth erosion, it’s a good idea to drink it through a straw, after dilution, especially if you’ve got sensitive teeth.
- Rinsing the mouth. After drinking, rinsing the mouth will ensure no remaining acid is left that could potentially affect the teeth.
- Avoid if you suffer from gastroparesis. ACV is shown to aggravate the symptoms of gastroparesis (a condition that delays stomach emptying), which can lead to bloating and discomfort (26).
- Avoid, if allergic. Very rare, but if you experience any allergic reaction to ACV, it’s advisable to avoid further use.
Summary: A daily dose of 1-2ml of ACV mixed with a cup of water or tea has shown to be sufficient. Since it’s acidic in nature, it would be better to start with a reduced dose and slowly step up to the dose recommended by the manufacturer.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Can You Use Apple Cider Vinegar For Weight Loss?
Are Apple Cider Vinegar Pills Better Than Liquid ACV?
Apple cider vinegar, which contains acetic acid, also has the same effects as that of carbonated soft drinks on tooth enamel (29) (30).
Chronic use of ACV liquid can cause tooth enamel erosion. It can also burn the mucous membranes of your mouth, throat, and esophagus, especially if you’ve not diluted it sufficiently.
Erosion of enamel exposes the teeth to further damage like tooth sensitivity and ultimately, tooth decay.
To avoid this potential damage, ACV pills were made available. These give the same benefits, without the potential of tooth decay and the dreaded taste of vinegar.
Are Apple Cider Pills As Effective As The Liquid?
As ACV pills consist mainly of the dehydrated form of apple cider vinegar packed in a tablet or capsule, it is supposed to show the same results as the liquid form of apple cider vinegar.
Different brands claim to have other ingredients in it as well, like cayenne pepper or ginger for added benefits and flavor. You will need to check each brand for its complete list of constituents.
When Should You Take ACV?
Depending on what your particular need is, consuming ACV at least 30minutes before going to bed, will lower the risk of indigestion or acid reflux. Also, taking it before bed has shown to reduce morning blood sugar levels in Type II diabetic patients.
Be sure to dilute it with water (1-2 tbsps in 1 cup) or tea to avoid the risk of erosion and damage to the throat and esophagus.
Is Apple Cider Vinegar Acidic or Alkaline?
The main constituent in ACV is acetic acid and malic acid, along with some helpful bacteria and trace amounts of vitamins and minerals.
It has a pH of 4.2, which is acidic in nature. Any pH value less than & is acidic in nature.
The Final Note
We can now easily see that apple cider vinegar is an extremely versatile household item, and is here to stay. It also doesn’t hurt that they are generally safe for everyone to use.
The choice of whether to take ACV in liquid form or pill form is completely up to the individual.
Since the pill is essentially dehydrated ACV, it should be able to do the same things as the liquid. Moreover, taking the pill will help you get around the problem of the taste and harm to your teeth.
You easily order a bottle of ACV or its pill forms from online stores if they are not available in shops near you.