Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) is a vinegar made from fermented apples. It has been used for centuries to treat various ailments, be it an upset stomach or high blood glucose. ACV is also quite popular as a weight loss aid.
Although some of its alleged effects are a bit exaggerated, research into apple cider vinegar’s diverse effects has proven that many of its benefits are not just an old wife’s tale.
Here we’re going to explore what apple cider vinegar is and list out the different benefits of ACV pills, according to scientific research.
What is Apple Cider Vinegar?
When yeast is mixed into crushed apples, it ferments the sugars into alcohol. Then bacteria added to that converts the alcohol into acetic acid, which is the main active component of vinegar.
Vinegar’s pungent odor and taste come from the acetic acid, so does its many health benefits, according to several experts. Apple cider vinegar contains at least 5-6% acetic acid (1).
The antimicrobial and antioxidant properties of vinegar are some of the reasons why ACV has been used successfully in treating many ailments, including skin-related issues. ACV is also known to help in conditions such as diabetes and cholesterol.
Summary: Apple cider vinegar is obtained when yeast and bacteria are added into crushed apple juice to ferment and convert the sugars into acetic acid, which is essentially vinegar.
Why Choose ACV Pills over Liquid?
Apple cider vinegar pills are merely dehydrated, or powdered forms of ACV, packed into a capsule or tablet. In general, a tablet contains around 500mg of ACV, equivalent to 2tsp (10ml) of the liquid. Depending on the brand, the manufacturer may add other additional substances to provide digestive and metabolic benefits.
Before we go into the general benefits of ACV, let’s explore why we can opt for ACV pills instead of the liquid form.
Disadvantages of ACV Liquid
Despite the easy availability of the liquid, the following reasons made it the need for a pill form to be available and gain popularity.
- Disagreeable taste and odor: The vinegar’s strong, pungent flavor and smell often makes it quite unpalatable for people to tolerate. This has prompted manufacturers to come up with a capsular form.
- Tooth sensitivity and erosion: When ACV liquid is taken regularly with insufficient water to dilute its concentration, it causes tooth erosion and increases the sensitivity (2).
- Skin burns: Applying a concentrated amount of apple cider vinegar on the skin can cause chemical injury. A case of a boy who sustained burns on his leg after placing a cotton ball soaked with ACV on a skin lesion for 8 hours was reported in 2012 (3).
Advantages of ACV Pills over the Liquid
- Palatable: Powdered apple cider vinegar is packed into capsules or tablets, which makes taking ACV easier since you can avoid the taste.
- Available in different flavors: Many brands of ACV pills have come up with flavored coating for their capsules and tablets.
- Avoids teeth erosion and mucosal irritation: By using the pills, you can prevent irritation of the mouth mucosa and erosion of the tooth enamel.
- Gentler on the stomach: For those whose stomachs are sensitive to acidic foods, the capsules protect the stomach linings.
- Easy to carry around: Especially when you’re traveling, it’s easier to carry around a small, light bottle of supplement pills rather than lugging a bottle of ACV liquid!
Summary: ACV pills are a better substitute for the liquid primarily for the fact that one can avoid the unpalatable taste and odor of the liquid, and the capsule coating makes it gentler on the stomach.
12 Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar Pills
Apple cider vinegar contains a couple of components apart from acetic acids, such as helpful bacteria, yeast, and certain pectins, that are believed to add to its antimicrobial and antioxidant effects.
We’re listing 12 proven health benefits of apple cider vinegar pills below.
Apple cider vinegar contains a significant amount of polyphenolic compounds that protect the body’s cells from oxidative stress (4).
Oxidative stress causes an increase in unstable free radicals in the body. The phenolic compounds help by donating hydrogen which stabilizes the free radicals preventing it from causing cell damage (5).
The flavonoids present in ACV also play a role in reducing lipid peroxidation, which is what causes the damage to cells (6). ACV also increases the enzymes that help in protecting the cellular body.
Summary: ACV protects the body’s cells from damage by fighting off free radicals, mainly because of the phenolic content of apple cider.
Apple cider vinegar has definite antimicrobial effects on the cell structure of some harmful bacteria. This effect makes it a good remedy for stomach infections and ear infections.
A study done in 2018 showed that ACV caused the cellular breakdown of bacteria such as E-coli and Staphylococcus aureus that are responsible for various stomach and urinary tract infections (7).
They also noted that ACV increased the defense mechanism of the body against such bacteria. Therefore, ACV pills can be especially considered as a therapy tool for those whose natural immunity is compromised.
Summary: The antimicrobial effects of ACV helps in fighting many bacterial infections caused by E. Coli and Staphylococcus aureus bacteria. It is especially useful for immunocompromised patients.
Controlling Yeast and Other Fungal Infections
The antimicrobial properties of apple cider vinegar can be extended to its use as an aid in the treatment of certain fungal infections such as candida or yeast infections. Candida albicans is the fungus that causes certain yeast infection and oral thrush.
ACV acts by impairing cell integrity and protein expression of these fungi and thereby inhibits the production of essential enzymes.
In a 2014 study, researchers in Brazil stated that apple cider vinegar could be considered as a possible therapeutic alternative for patients who developed oral candidal infections (8).
Summary: Apple cider vinegar may be a good treatment option for yeast and other fungal infections.
As a Natural Laxative
There are some who believe apple cider vinegar is effective in relieving constipation and aid in digestion. The idea behind that is that apple cider vinegar contains a large amount of pectin (a soluble dietary fiber), and a common cause of constipation is a lack of fiber.
Vinegar’s acidic nature could also act as a natural laxative, further aiding in better digestion.
Unfortunately, there isn’t any scientific backing for this claim. Studies have validated its effectiveness in bacterial cell damage, but its use as a home remedy for everything is questionable (9).
Summary: ACV is believed to help in digestion and reducing constipation mainly due to its acidic nature and the presence of pectins.
May Relieve Stress
Apple cider vinegar may help in reducing stress and assist you in sleeping well. It basically breaks down proteins into amino acids such as tryptophan.
Tryptophan is a precursor for niacin which is essential for the creation of serotonin, a neurotransmitter. Serotonin plays a major role in reducing depression or regulating our anxiety (10).
Depression can lead to reduced sleep. ACV may help ensure a stress-free, good night’s rest.
Summary: ACV capsules may have an effect on our bodies by reducing stress and anxiety, which will enable us to sleep better.
Aids in Weight Loss
Apple cider vinegar pills are popular as a weight-loss supplement, pertaining to its active ingredient, acetic acid. Studies have shown that when combined with a calorie strict diet, ACV can reduce body fat and obesity (11).
In a study done in mice fed on a high-fat diet, vinegar helped to overcome the obesity and inflammation caused by such diets (12).
Vinegar also reduces fat accumulation around the organs and free fatty acids accumulation (13). The acetic acid in ACV as well as vinegar is responsible for most of these benefits.
A clinical trial conducted in 2009 on obese subjects showed that taking 15ml of vinegar (containing 750gm acetic acid) per day resulted in a significant reduction in body fat mass and fat production (14).
This reduction in body fat goes a long way in protecting the body from other diseases that come along with obesity.
Acetic acid also increases the feeling of fullness, which will reduce your food intake, helping further in controlling weight.
Summary: Apple cider vinegar pills help in reducing body fat and fat production combined with diet and exercise.
May Suppress Appetite
There are conflicting opinions about ACV’s effect as an appetite suppressant. One of the reasons it could be considered would be due to its acidic nature, which can suppress the desire to eat.
The ability of ACV to delay stomach emptying can make you feel full longer and reduce the feeling of hunger (15).
Since there is a lack of strong evidence to support using ACV as an appetite suppressant, it is better not to be used for this sole purpose.
Summary: It may help reduce the desire to eat unnecessarily and suppress appetite.
Helps Control Blood Sugar Levels
This effect was further proven when tested on diabetic patients. Consuming 20ml of vinegar during mealtime caused a significant lowering of after-meal blood sugar levels (18).
Vinegar helps increase the glucose uptake of the cells and inhibits the breakdown of starch (19).
Apple cider vinegar is shown to help reduce the complications of diabetes (20). We must point out that ACV pills must not be used as a substitute for antidiabetic medications.
Summary: Apple cider vinegar increases the uptake of glucose by the cells and reduces the sugar levels in the blood, thus aiding in controlling diabetes.
Reduces Risk of Heart Disease
Apple cider vinegar is shown to reduce blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels (21). This helps in reducing the risk of heart disease.
An animal study conducted in 2008 revealed that ACV helped in reducing the level of bad cholesterol while increasing the good cholesterol levels (22).
Since all these studies were done in animals, their results and conclusions should be taken with caution. Still, the effect of ACV on a reduction in fat accumulation does give us a positive understanding of the effect.
Summary: By being able to reduce fatty acids and cholesterol in the blood, apple cider vinegar can reduce the risk of heart disease.
May Help Reduce Blood Pressure
Apple cider vinegar can help reduce blood pressure by decreasing renin levels (23). Renin is an enzyme released by the kidneys and is involved in increasing blood pressure. It is noted that this reduction is mainly because of the action of acetic acid in the vinegar.
An indirect way, in which ACV can aid in lowering blood pressure is through its role in reducing the blood glucose and cholesterol levels in the system.
This will reduce the strain on the heart to pump blood, as it is known that increased cholesterol in the blood is one of the main reasons for increased blood pressure (24).
Summary: ACV’s ability to reduce fat accumulation and reduce cholesterol in the blood, combined with its effect on blood sugar, it may help in controlling blood pressure.
Potential Anti-Cancer Properties
Otto Heinrich Warburg, the famous German physiologist, and medical doctor, along with his co-workers suggested that one of the main reasons for cancer was a high level of acidity in the body. Therefore, a reduction in the acidity level could potentially kill the cancer cells.
Apple cider vinegar was believed to alkalize the blood, unlike most other vinegar. It was concluded that ACV could perhaps do it thereby decreasing the risk of cancer.
Summary: Apple cider vinegar can potentially kill the cancer cells by alkalizing the blood thereby preventing their growth. Cancer cells thrive in an acidic environment.
Soothes Sore Throat Infections
It is claimed that apple cider vinegar can soothe sore throats. As it has antibacterial properties, it can relieve a sore throat that is caused by bacteria.
ACV pills can be broken and mixed with a glass of warm water (8 ounces) and can be used as a remedy for sore throat infection. Gargling for 20-30 seconds with this water, can kill the bacteria in the throat and can loosen the phlegm that may irritate your throat.
Summary: The antibacterial property of ACV can help get relief from sore throat infections caused by bacteria.
The Recommended Dosage for Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) Pills
Many brands of apple cider vinegar pills are available in the market these days with their unique blend of constituents. Some come in tablet form while others in the form of capsules. They are also available in the form of chewable gummy supplements.
Although it varies from brand to brand, on average, one ACV pill contains 500mg or approx. equivalent to 2tsps (10ml) of ACV liquid.
Apple cider vinegar’s effects are mostly dose-dependent, which basically means that at least 10-20ml of ACV per day is needed to enjoy its benefits fully.
These days, many of the ACV pill brands that have come into the market are FDA approved and mostly USDA certified, which goes a long way to confirm its authenticity and standards. Furthermore, the capsules also contain other helpful ingredients that boost their effectiveness.
In whichever form they come in, the important thing to note is the percentage of ACV in each pill and to follow the manufacturers’ instructions with dosages.
The best way to ensure that you’re taking the best product available is to make sure to choose those that don’t have any artificial flavoring and added sugars.
Summary: Most dosages depend on brand to brand, but generally, 10-20ml (500mg) of ACV is sufficient to see its benefits. Ensure that the additives are not allergenic, and the amount of ACV is sufficient when choosing your brand.
The Drawbacks of Apple Cider Vinegar Pills
So, we have to point out that apple cider vinegar pills have their drawbacks. We have heard of the phrase, “everything in moderation” right? Well, it applies here too. Too much can affect the body. A few of its risks and side effects are:
- Being essentially vinegar, too much can aggravate conditions such as acid reflux or stomach ulcers.
- Excessive use can also lead to decreased potassium levels and weak bones.
- A few tablets have additives like cayenne pepper or ginger that some people may be allergic to.
- A case in 2005 reported an injury to the vocal cords of a woman when an ACV tablet got lodged in her throat (25). So the size of the tablet can be inconsistent.
- Although some of the brands have acquired FDA approval and certifications, as dietary supplements, in general, they needn’t comply with FDA standards. So choose carefully.
- The coating of some of the pill brands may be animal-based, so vegetarians will be at a disadvantage.
- It can aggravate a condition known as gastroparesis, which is a delay of stomach emptying, which can lead to bloating and discomfort (26).
- Apple cider vinegar interacts with certain medications such as Digoxin, some diuretic drugs, and insulin and insulin stimulating drugs.
Be sure to discuss with your doctor before looking into ACV as a viable supplement to your specific healthcare needs.
Summary: Being vinegar, excessive use can affect the potassium levels in the blood and aggravate stomach ulcers. Many brands have different ingredients that may cause allergies in some people and have to be carefully evaluated.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Is Apple Cider Vinegar Pills as Effective as their Liquid Form for Weight Loss?
Essentially, both apple cider vinegar pills and the liquid provide the same benefits since the pills are just dehydrated and powdered ACV packed into a tablet or a capsule.
The pills usually have some additives like ginger or cayenne pepper to aid in metabolism. Some brands also add in fruity flavors and small amounts of Vitamin B9 and B12 to increase its health value.
It’s essential, though, to carefully look into the constituents to make sure none of the ingredients cause you any allergies.
When is The Best Time to Take the Apple Cider Vinegar Pills?
There isn’t any specific timing of dosage that can be recommended. Some suggest taking it during meals just as you would the liquid form.
Conversely, some suggest that taking it 30 minutes after a meal may help in increasing the glucose uptake by the cells and reduce blood sugar levels. It may also curb the need to eat more than required, an advantage for weight loss.
Generally, taking it on an empty stomach might not be a great idea as it may cause nausea. Taking just before bed has shown to reduce morning blood sugar levels in Type 2 diabetics.
Which Dosage is Better – A 300mg Tablet or a 500mg Tablet?
Most of the research regarding the effects of ACV has noted that to get the best out of the supplement, at least 15-20ml of ACV is needed. Typically a 500mg tablet usually contains 50mg of ACV which is equivalent to 1 teaspoon of the liquid (10ml).
Considering the fact that ACV is a fairly safe substance, it should be okay to take 500mg supplements without the worry of extreme side effects.
The Final Note
Apple cider vinegar has been in the annals of history for its many noted health benefits. Being natural and time tested ensures that ACV is likely to remain a staple ingredient in most households.
Many of its supposed benefits may not be accurate, but it has proven to be useful in losing weight and controlling sugar levels in the blood.
When it comes to choosing whether to take the pill or the liquid option, the decision is entirely up to the individual. But knowing that the benefits of taking ACV pills are just as good as the liquid will go a long in helping you make that decision!