What Exactly is Apple Cider Vinegar?
Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) has a massive following of people who proclaim its beneficial effects. It is known as an effective bacteria-fighting agent that is good for the skin and overall health. It is a source of calcium, iron, fluorine, magnesium and potassium.
Traditionally, ACV is made by crushing ripened aples and collecting the juices into wooden barrels. The apple juice naturally ferments, a process that is enhanced by the wooden barrel. When it matuers, it develops a cloudy, dark bacterial foam referred to as the “mother.”
This mother foam includes a variety of enzymes and minerals that is not present when producing ACV via more industrialized methods, which is why it is often advised that you seek ACV with the mother when using it for health reasons. Similar to making other fermented foods like yogurt, kefir and kombucha, the culture of beneficial bacteria from one batch can be re-used in future batches to assist the brewing process.
How to Use Apple Cider Vinegar for Heartburn and Acid Reflux
When searching for the best apple cider vinegar, look for natural and organic varieties that are dark and cloudy, as the more clear types have less nutritional value.
Apple cider vinegar is a common ingredient in salad dressings, marinades, meat tenderizers and pickling. But when using it for health reasons, it’s common to consume it within a glass of water or other beverage.
Two tablespoons in a glass of 8 oz water is a common prescription. Many adding honey and sometimes lemon to help with a taste that some find unappealing.
To see if it benefits you, you can start with the above once or twice a day. Some people like to consume it on an empty stomach in the morning. You can start this regimen daily, or you can simply use ACV as needed when heartburn strikes.
Certainly ACV is a bit of an acquired taste, but if you become accustomed to it, it can actually be enjoyable.
Pro tip: Add a couple tablespoons to a glass of sparkling water (flavored or unflavored) for an enjoyable apple cider vinegar spritzer!
How Does Apple Cider Vinegar Work?
One important thing to note is that it appears there has been no published research on the effectiveness of apple cider vinegar to treat or prevent heartburn and acid reflux.
However, there has been an overwhelming amount of anecdotal reports that ACV can help with these conditions. But it is unclear HOW the vinegar might help with these digestive disorders.
It’s often said that acid reflux can be a result of too little acid, and so perhaps introducing the acidity of ACV can help with digestion. However, this theory doesn’t address why it has to be apple cider vinegar and not another acidic substance.
Others say that ACV improves the PH levels of the existing acid in your stomach to reduce acidity. Still others suggested that ACV simply stimulates digestion to keep things from getting backed up.
In summary, it’s not quite known why apple cider vinegar seems to improve heartburn and acid reflux in so many people.
Additional Health Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is one of the most popular and inexpensive alternative health remedies on the market, and for good reason. It has a reputation beyond just being a digestive aid. It is said that at ACV:
- Reduces cholesterol and helps in regulating blood pressure and blood sugar do to its pectin content.
- Fights bacterial, fungal, and yeast infections by adjusting the body’s PH.
- Relieves joint pain and helps with gout by dissolving uric acid crystals, as well as aids in preventing kidney and bladder stones.
- Helps with hair loss, brittle fingernails and teeth do is vote as him content.
- Helps with weight loss.
- Helps with acne, bad breath, and body odor because of its acid content, breaking down odor-causing bacteria and lowering PH (for bad breath, try gargling one tablespoon of ACV with water for five to ten minutes).
- Eliminates chronic foot odor with an apple cider vinegar foot soak.
- Helps with with diarrhea, as it’s pectin content code to lining of the colon.
- May help with age spots due to add sulfur content.
- Treats dandruff when applied on the scalp by destroying fungus on the scalp and restoring is proper PH balance.
- Provide sunburn relief when applied topically.
- Boosts your immune system because of the beta-carotene content.
- Can help with sinusitis and a runny nose, again due to the potassium content.
- Helps with sore throats when gargled.
- Can help with ear infections when applied into the ear.
Side Effects of Consuming Apple Cider Vinegar
Though apple cider vinegar is a very safe ingredient to consume, it comes with a couple of concerns. The main concern is tooth enamel decay.
If consumed regularly and if not properly diluted, it is said that ACV can break down tooth enamel. Watch out for tooth sensitivity if you consume ACV on a regular basis (although reports of this happening don’t seem to be that common).
Some report that the strong acidic nature of ACV affects the smell of urine, sweat and other bodily fluids, though this side effect is not highly reported.
After using apple cider vinegar, you may sense some movement in your heartburn intensity. As time goes on, you may experience less heartburn and acid reflux. Though ACV doesn’t work for everyone, it is an easy home remedy to try.
With so many anecdotal reports of people experiencing relief from heartburn, acid reflux and GERD, trying it for yourself seems like an obvious choice. As with anything, you should consult your doctor or other medical professional when it comes to any conditions you may have.