7 Warning Signs You Are Overdosing on Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is a natural tonic. It has several health benefits that are supported by scientific studies in humans. However, people have also raised concerns about its safety and possible side effects.
This article takes a look at apple cider vinegar’s potential side effects. It also provides instructions on how to consume apple cider vinegar safely.
What Is Apple Cider Vinegar?
Apple cider vinegar is made by combining apples with yeast.
The yeast then converts the sugar in the apples into alcohol. Bacteria are then added to the mixture, which ferment the alcohol into acetic acid.
Acetic acid makes up about 5–6% of apple cider vinegar. It is classified as a “weak acid,” but still, has fairly strong acidic properties when it is concentrated.
In addition to acetic acid, vinegar contains water and trace amounts of other acids, vitamins, and minerals.
Several studies in animals and humans have found that acetic acid and apple cider vinegar may promote fat burning and weight loss, decrease blood sugar levels, increase insulin sensitivity and improve cholesterol levels.
Bottom Line: Apple cider vinegar is made from acetic acid, which may provide several health benefits. These include weight loss, lower blood sugar, and healthier cholesterol levels.
7 Side Effects of Apple Cider Vinegar
Unfortunately, apple cider vinegar has been reported to cause some side effects.
This is particularly true in large doses.
Although small amounts are generally fine and healthy, taking too much can be harmful and even dangerous.
1. Delayed Stomach Emptying
Apple cider vinegar helps prevent blood sugar spikes by reducing the rate at which food leaves the stomach and enters the lower digestive tract. This slows down its absorption into the bloodstream.
However, this effect may worsen symptoms of gastroparesis, a common condition in people with type 1 diabetes.
In gastroparesis, the nerves in the stomach don’t work properly, so food stays in the stomach too long and is not emptied at a normal rate.
Symptoms of gastroparesis include heartburn, bloating, and nausea. For type 1 diabetics who have gastroparesis, timing insulin with meals is very challenging because it’s hard to predict how long it will take food to be digested and absorbed.
One controlled study looked at 10 patients with type 1 diabetes and gastroparesis.
Drinking water with 2 tablespoons (30 ml) of apple cider vinegar significantly increased the amount of time that food stayed in the stomach, compared to drinking plain water (10).
Bottom Line: Apple cider vinegar has been shown to delay the rate at which food leaves the stomach. This may worsen symptoms of gastroparesis and make blood sugar control more difficult for people with type 1 diabetes.
2. Digestive Side Effects
Apple cider vinegar may cause unpleasant digestive symptoms in some people.
Human and animal studies have found that apple cider vinegar and acetic acid may decrease appetite and promote feelings of fullness, leading to a natural reduction in calorie intake.
However, one controlled study suggests that in some cases, appetite and food intake may decrease due to indigestion.
The people who consumed a drink containing 25 grams (0.88 oz) of apple cider vinegar reported less appetite but also significantly greater feelings of nausea, especially when the vinegar was part of an unpleasant-tasting drink.
Bottom Line: Apple cider vinegar may help reduce appetite, but may also cause feelings of nausea, particularly when consumed as part of a drink with bad flavor.
3. Low Potassium Levels and Bone Loss
There are no controlled studies on apple cider vinegar’s effects on blood potassium levels and bone health at this time.
However, there is one case report of low blood potassium and bone loss that was attributed to large doses of apple cider vinegar taken over a long period of time.
A 28-year-old woman consumed 8 oz (250 ml) of apple cider vinegar diluted in water on a daily basis for six years.
She was admitted to the hospital with low potassium levels and other abnormalities in blood chemistry.
What’s more, the woman was diagnosed with osteoporosis, a condition of brittle bones that is rarely seen in young people.
Doctors who treated the woman believe the large daily doses of apple cider vinegar led to minerals being leached from her bones to buffer the acidity of her blood.
They also noted that high acid levels can reduce the formation of new bone.
Of course, the amount of apple cider vinegar, in this case, was much more than most people would consume in a single day — plus, she did this every day for many years.
Bottom Line: There is one case report of low potassium levels and osteoporosis likely caused by drinking too much apple cider vinegar.
4. Erosion of Tooth Enamel
Acidic foods and beverages have been shown to damage tooth enamel.
Soft drinks and fruit juices have been more widely studied, but some research shows the acetic acid in vinegar may also damage tooth enamel.
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