Pankaj

B. Sc Chemistry, M.Sc Dietetics & Nutrition

Are you one of those who have been wondering for weeks now if apple cider vinegar really works or not? Well, you are in luck if you are reading this. Today in this post I will discuss the science behind how and why apple cider vinegar works. And not just the science behind it, but also some myths and benefits it comes with.

First things first, people believe that apple cider vinegar comes with a lot of nutrients.  Well, what if I say they are wrong. It doesn’t have lots of vitamin c, vitamin a, minerals. What it does have is acetic acid (CH3COOH).

Now, acetic acid might sound dangerous as it is very corrosive. If it comes in contact with eyes, it can cause loss of vision. However, it does work for the betterment at the right concentration.

By the point when we get into the meat and potatoes of this post, you will have some insight on the science behind how apple cider vinegar works.

Now the Question is how is acetic acid beneficial?

Most people have a blood pH that is extremely alkaline. Now, some might say that your blood should be alkaline, but in some cases, it becomes way too alkaline. And this is where acetic acid comes in handy, as it can change the pH of the blood. And you can only wonder how much huge effects it can cause with a small change in pH.

pH is crucial in carrying out different processes like allowing enzymes to work, to stimulate the thyroid and many other things as well.

Acetic acid has a pH of 2.5, which is very acidic. Similar to the acid we have in the stomach (0.155 Molar HCl).  Now, when people have conditions like acid reflux, indigestion etc that is actually caused by an alkaline stomach. Well, I know how helpful it can be to consume some apple cider vinegar in such conditions. But before doing anything make sure you see a doctor or a dietician to know the underlying cause. Hey! I’ve not been certified yet. Still studying.

Now there are many factors that increase the pH levels of your stomach. One of them is aging. As we age our stomach pH levels start increasing, hence becoming more alkaline. So, guess what, you’ll need to consume more acetic acid as you age. And if the alkalinity in the stomach continues to exist, then absorption of minerals, proteins, calcium becomes more difficult.

As this problem becomes persistent, minerals like calcium start building up in the soft tissues. This is called calcification. Ever wondered why people become stiffer as they grow older? They have calcium developed in their eyes as cataracts, on the nerves as neuritis, on the gallbladder as gallstones. Yes, that could happen due to a high stomach pH level.

People can definitely do something like consuming fat-soluble vitamins which help in keep moving and transporting the calcium out. Vitamins like vitamin D and K2 are great.

However, not just aging, but stress, it can increase cortisol levels. And this high cortisol levels can cause alkalosis.

 Now, stress is something everybody has in life. And so everybody faces the problem of alkalosis at some point in their life. Btw have you ever tried to read the pH levels of the water you drink? The worst thing you can do is drink alkaline water. It only adds to the misery.

So, the adrenal causes to lose hydronium ion (H+) through urine. Hydronium ion loss means loss of acid. And with the loss of it we become too alkaline.

So stress can create an alkaline body which can then block calcium. And you have this calcium that plugs up everything, but it is unavailable to you. So, you start getting a twitch in your left eye. You might have seen when people get stressed they experience twitching in their left eye because the pH is changed and the person cannot absorb calcium. This is caused due to calcium deficiency. So, even if you consume calcium it won’t work if the pH isn’t balanced. The best thing to do in such condition is to drink apple cider vinegar and the pH drops making the body more acidic. And the mobilization of the calcium starts again and twitch goes away.

Another condition is experiencing cramping in the calf. Apple cider vinegar can help with that too mobilizing the calcium.

So when you become stressed you lose acid as well as potassium (K+) ion. And when you lose potassium your body becomes more alkaline. Drinking apple cider vinegar can help you holding that potassium more firmly in your body. And potassium deficiency can cause high blood pressure, fatigue, irregular heartbeats.

So, this might sound unreal, apple cider vinegar turning out to be so helpful. It balances the pH and the rest is like a chain reaction.

How does it help people with high protein diet?

Now people who are on a high protein diet including me tend to break down protein and create a byproduct inside the body named guanidine. Guanidine is a strong base and hence very alkaline and can cause nerve pain, cramps, arthritis. So, for people who are on some high protein diet should consume some apple cider vinegar on a daily basis to flush out the byproduct guanidine. So, apple cider vinegar can be considered an antidote to the residue left behind by protein. Write it down somewhere to remember drinking it the next time you try a high protein diet.

Well, you must have seen people or you yourself had taken vitamin C for various infections, cold. But some of you might know this that most of the vitamin C in the market is an ascorbic acid which is only an isolated part of the entire vitamin C complex. But it still works to some level. Ever wondered why? It is the acid that does the work. However, apple cider vinegar does that too.

So these are the benefits and the science behind how apple cider vinegar works. Hope you’ll drink apple cider vinegar on a regular basis now.

What should be the dosage of apple cider vinegar?

Well, that will differ from person to person and you would like to consult your dietician before taking it if you already have any condition.

However, in general, people can consume one or two tbsp of apple cider vinegar diluted with a cup of water (250ml) everyday or on alternate days.

Resources

  1. Endocrine System and Selected Metabolic Diseases (The CIBA Collection of Medical Illustrations, Vol. 4)