Apple cider vinegar: the facts behind the fad

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By The Gut Health Doctor Team

Dr Megan Rossi in a lab looking through a microscope

Put down that shot of apple cider vinegar and read this…

There is no clinical evidence that suggests ACV (apple cider vinegar) is beneficial for digestion, in fact it may trigger heartburn in some!

When you Google search ACV, it’s touted as a fix for everything from lowering blood sugar and boosting gut health, to losing weight and even helping with some cancers… But as far as the science goes, studies are pretty minimal.

Where do the health claims come from?

There is a little bit of evidence for vinegar (not exclusive to ACV) to help regulate appetite and lower your blood sugar response if you’re having a high carb meal, like pasta, particularly if you have type 2 diabetes. In some vinegars that haven’t been pasturised (i.e. heated at high temps), there is also some bacteria.

Here’s what to keep in mind next time you read any bold claims

  • Our stomach naturally produces acid that is MUCH stronger than ACV. So despite the marketing claims that ACV increases the acidity of your stomach and in turn helps you digest food better, human studies don’t back this up.

  • Despite the claims about good bacteria in it, the little bit you might find in ACV doesn’t seem to be anything special or magical (we even get bacteria from the air!). The number of bacteria is quite low per serve compared to things like kombucha or kefir… and playing in dirt.

  • Concentrated ACV may erode the enamel on your teeth, which can lead to tooth decay, and it’s also a common trigger for people who suffer with heartburn and reflux.


If you like the taste, by all means use ACV as part of a delicious salad dressing. It can also help with making poached eggs (anecdotally speaking!) – and it can be used for cleaning windows… But please don’t over-pay nor force it down thinking it will help or ‘cure’ anything when it comes to your health. The evidence simply isn’t there.


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