Apple Cider Vinegar What’s the Real Story?
Apple cider vinegar has long been touted as a miracle-worker in the health and nutrition fields, with many high-profile people claiming its long list of benefits, ranging from weight loss, to lower blood sugar levels and improved symptoms of diabetes. Is this just another health food fad, or does apple cider vinegar truly help you to lose weight?
Apple cider vinegar is made by crushing apples and collecting the resulting juice. Bacteria and yeast are then added to this juice, beginning an alcoholic fermentation process. The sugars in the juice are turned into alcohol. A second fermentation process then converts the alcohol into vinegar through the use of acetic acid forming bacteria (acetobacter). Along with its health benefits, apple cider vinegar is also used in cooking, taking the form of salad dressings, marinades, vinaigrettes, food preservatives, and chutneys.
There’s a common belief out there that apple cider vinegar contains many nutrients, but it does not contain Vitamin A, vitamin C or many minerals at all – contrary to popular belief. However, what it does contain is something even more important, something that’s the true reason this vinegar is celebrated for its weight loss abilities, alongside its other health benefits. Affordable and easily available in normal supermarkets, apple cider vinegar’s healing properties and health benefits are well worth an investigation.
The apple cider vinegar magic ingredient is called acetic acid. The reason why this acetic acid is so effective is because many bodies are too alkaline, with pH levels that are out of balance. When discussing the body’s pH levels, it’s important to understand that every part of your body has a different pH. The pH levels of the urine are different in turn to the pH levels of your saliva.
It’s crucial to maintain a healthy body pH level, as this is a necessary factor to achieving and maintaining good overall health. Any acid-alkaline imbalances can lead to chronic diseases. The acid-alkaline balance refers to the balance of the amount of acids and non-acids which are found in your body’s fluids and tissues. This ratio is determined by measuring pH levels.
The true way to test for an indication of body pH levels is to test the blood – however, as soon as blood is removed from the body, it begins to oxidize, and pH levels begin to change immediately. Therefore, the easiest and most reliable way to test your pH is to go by your symptoms.
A simple Google will bring up a list of symptoms experienced by those experiencing acidosis, which is what occurs when there’s too much lactic acid in your body. Many things can lead to a build-up of lactic acid, including chronic alcohol use, heart failure, cancer, seizures, liver failure, prolonged lack of oxygen, and low blood sugar.
Symptoms of acidosis include…
- Fatigue or drowsiness
- Becoming tired very easily
- Experiencing shortness of breath
- Lack of appetite
- Increased Heart Rate
Apple cider vinegar’s acetic acid is so useful to the body because of the effect it has on your body’s pH levels. Even slight changes can create huge effects, as keeping a balanced pH is so important to your overall health.
When blood pH levels are within safe alkaline parameters, it is better able to:
- Transport minerals
- Allow enzymes to work effectively
- Stimulate the thyroid
- Increase your metabolism
The pH of acetic acid is extremely acidic, at 2.5. This is almost the same pH level as stomach acid. This means acetic acid is great for the stomach, and many people take it to treat heartburn, acid reflux and indigestion. When your stomach is too alkaline and as a result, the valve at the top of it does not close, apple cider vinegar is able to ease your symptoms and improve the way you feel. It will cause this valve to begin to close, therefore stopping the ability of acid to be regurgitated through the valve.
As we age, especially from the age of 50 onwards, the pH of our stomachs begins to get higher, becoming more and more alkaline. We require more acid as we age in order to fully digest protein and absorb minerals from the food we’re eating. When your pH is too alkaline, you are unable to absorb calcium and minerals. This can also lead to soft tissue calcification as calcium builds up in the body’s soft tissues due to lack of absorption.
This is obvious as many people get older: their joints grow stiff and arthritis often sets in, as well as bursitis. Calcium can develop on eyes as cataracts, on joints as arthritis, on nerves as neuritis, on the kidney as kidney stones, on the gallbladder as gallstones, and on the teeth as tartar. These problems can often arise from a pH problem called systemic alkalosis when the entire body is too alkaline to fully absorb what it needs to in order to function at its healthiest capacity.
Causes of Alkaline pH
The Ciba Encyclopedia of Endocrinology Volume 4 by Frank Netter, MD., is one of the main resources used in medical schools today. It’s a physiology book that describes in detail many of the body’s functions.
Dr. Netter discusses cortisol, which is a stress hormone. When high levels of cortisol are released through your body in response to stress, alkalosis can be caused as a result. This cortisol has a direct impact on putting your body in an alkaline state where it is lacking the acidity levels it needs to function well.
Many people respond to stress by turning to alkaline waters, with the goal of alkalizing their bodies to an 8 or 9 pH reading. However, this only serves to make their bodies worse, as they are then unable to absorb calcium and other minerals as effectively.
Adrenal, another stress chemical, also causes the body to become too alkaline through the loss of an acid called H+. Adrenal causes you to lose this acid through urine, directly affecting your body’s pH levels.
Stress is a direct trigger for an alkaline body, which then blocks necessary calcium from absorbing into its system. This is how people operating at high-stress levels have come to suffer from twitches in their eyes – proof of a calcium deficiency.
How to treat it
The best thing to do for your body when suffering from calcium deficiencies and an overly alkaline pH is to drink apple cider vinegar. This will immediately drop your blood’s pH to make it more acidic, which allows for the mobilization of calcium – there goes the eye twitch and those nasty calf cramps! Calcium is a necessary tool your body uses in many different manners. It works to build healthy bones, but your heart, muscles, and nerves also require calcium in order to function at their best capacity. Studies have found that calcium may have further benefits beyond bone health, and can possibly work to protect your body against cancer, diabetes, and high blood pressure.
Further symptoms such as nerve pain, migraine pain and pains arising from arthritis can also be treated through ingesting some apple cider vinegar.
Alkaline bodies also tend to suffer from a loss of potassium, which in turn causes more alkaline issues. People often advise drinking apple cider vinegar in order to increase your potassium levels – however, what actually occurs is the potassium that is already in your body is saved from being lost. A higher acidity within your body will also assist with potassium levels.
Potassium deficiencies can lead to high blood pressure, constipation, weakness, fatigue and irregular heartbeats. When apple cider vinegar is ingested, potassium is not lost and is able to active work against the occurrence of these debilitating symptoms.
The immune system and apple cider vinegar
When people get a cold, one of the first things they turn to is vitamin C. However, they’re often unknowingly taking a fake vitamin C lookalike called ascorbic acid, which does not represent the true vitamin C complex.
Synthetic vitamin C is made from ascorbic acid and cornstarch. On their own, neither of these ingredients contain vitamin C – mixing them together only creates a fake. The real benefit of taking this is the acid that is derived from the ascorbic acid ingredient.
However, you would be much wiser to take acetic acid instead to help your immune system. If you’re suffering from a cold, fever or viral infection, apple cider vinegar can help to acidify your alkaline body and improve your immune system’s ability to fight the intrusive bacteria.
The probiotic bacteria apple cider vinegar contains also helps to aid the immune system. This specific bacterium promotes a healthy intestinal tract, leading to an improvement in the body’s overall immunity. As well, the magic acid apple cider vinegar contains acts as a strong antiviral agent. Many health professionals recommend taking 1-2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar in water per day to fully benefit from its immune-system boosting effects.
Apple cider vinegar effects
There is a chain reaction that occurs when the body’s pH reaches the correct level. Apple cider vinegar is also the antidote to too much protein creating residue on your liver and within your body and is able to act as a powerful cleanser.
In total, apple cider vinegar has a powerful and positive effect on…
- The body’s ability to absorb minerals
- The mobilization of calcium
- Potassium levels
- Digestion of protein without waste
- The immune system
Apple cider vinegar and weight loss
So how does apple cider vinegar help you to lose weight?
By stimulating the thyroid and acidifying the stomach, apple cider vinegar is a powerful tool in the fight against weight gain and indeed in assisting those who need to lose weight in the first place. The vinegar it contains lowers blood sugar and insulin levels, which is of great use to those suffering from Type 2 Diabetes. Many individuals with an under-active thyroid struggle with weight loss, so by stimulating the thyroid, weight loss can be achieved at a higher rate as a result.
Apple cider vinegar can increase satiety, therefore helping you to consume fewer calories and feel fuller for longer. When ingested alongside a high-carb meal, vinegar can increase feelings of fullness and has been found to help people eat as many as 200-275 fewer calories per day. By adding apple cider vinegar into your diet, satiety can be achieved without the addition of extra carbohydrates, which is an extremely useful tool psychologically and physically for those on weight loss journeys.
A study in obese individuals found that the daily consumption of vinegar also led to reduced belly fat, waist circumference, lower blood triglycerides and overall weight loss. Those who consumed 1 tablespoon a day lost an average of 2.6 pounds in 12 weeks, whilst those who consumed 2 tablespoons lost 3.7 pounds over the same time period. Whilst these results are by no means dramatic, incorporating apple cider vinegar into your daily diet is an easy way to encourage natural weight loss as a part of a cohesive weight loss approach.
Overall, apple cider vinegar is an effective tool for weight loss as it serves as an appetite suppressor, and also controls blood sugar levels, stopping sugar spikes and crashes which can often lead to extra snacking and increased caloric intake between meals. A stable blood sugar level is integral for individuals looking to lose weight, as they’re much better equipped to stick to their diet and eat only when they truly need it.
Apple cider vinegar can also prevent fat accumulation by stimulating your metabolism, causing you to burn fat faster. The organic acids and enzymes it contains speed up the metabolism and increases the rate at which body fat is burnt.
Lastly, because apple cider vinegar causes the body to naturally detoxify, all of the body’s processes (including digestion and metabolism) become more efficient, no longer hindered by detrimental toxins. Apple cider vinegar flushes the body, allowing nutrients from food to be absorbed and used in the most effective way.