Apple cider vinegar combined with Dijon mustard and a little EVOO makes a tasty salad dressing but does it alter blood PH or aid in weight loss? I remember a call-in radio show I was doing a good 15 years ago when someone asked if apple cider vinegar would balance the PH in the body. I still get these questions today. Do you?
As a quick review, bacteria and yeast are added to crushed apples that cause fermentation. The natural sugars in the apples convert to ethanol and then to acetic acid, which all varieties of vinegar contain. Apple cider vinegar according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) must contain no less than 4% acetic acid plus other acids such as citric, lactic or malic. The popular balsamic vinegar is 4.5% acetic acid so both are mildly acidic. You will find vinegars that contain as much as 7-8% acetic acid.
Have you heard of what’s referred to as “the mother” or the mother of vinegar? This name refers to that cloudy-looking mass formed during fermentation from pectin and cellulose in the apples along with the yeast and acetic acid bacteria. A study reported in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition found that this mother contains phenolic acids such as chlorogenic and gallic along with small amounts of minerals including magnesium, potassium, iron and calcium.
When you or your patients buy the vinegar, you’ll find varieties that are filtered to be clear by removal of any residue along with the mother or unfiltered versions that keep the mother, which have a cloudy or darker look.
Also important to share with your patients is that apple cider vinegar may or may not be pasteurized regardless of whether it contains the mother. If the label says ‘raw’, it’s likely not pasteurized and probably unfiltered too. Organic vinegar can be found both pasteurized and unpasteurized so it’s a personal choice.
Listen to hear more about weight loss and body PH.
Apple Cider Vinegar Practice Points to Remember:
- Currently the studies focus on liquid apple cider vinegar not pills even though apple cider vinegar is available in liquid, capsule and tablet form.
- Apple cider vinegar should list the percent acidity averaging 4-6 %. For weight loss, 1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon is typically diluted in 2-8 ounces of water and consumed before meals.
- One word of caution: apple cider vinegar could worsen gastroparesis or delayed stomach emptying and possibly decrease glucose control in patients with type 1 diabetes.
- Remember, a change in the urine or saliva PH doesn’t alter the blood PH nor is it helpful.
Nutritional disturbance in acid–base balance and osteoporosis: a hypothesis that disregards the essential homeostatic role of the kidney. Br J Nutr. 2013 Oct 14; 110(7): 1168–1177
Acetic acid bacteria in traditional balsamic vinegar: Phenotypic traits relevant for starter cultures selection. International Journal of Food Microbiology Volume 125, Issue 1, 30 June 2008, Pages 46-53
Bioactive components of mother vinegar. J Am Coll Nutr 2015;34(1):80-9
Vinegar intake reduces body weight, body fat mass, and serum triglyceride levels in obese Japanese subjects. Biosci Biotechnol Biochem. 2009 Aug;73(8):1837-43. Epub 2009 Aug 7