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Apple Cider Vinegar for Heartburn and Weight Loss

Medically reviewed by Asma Khapra, MD, Susan Kerrigan, MD and Marianne Madsen on January 8, 2023

Apple cider vinegar, a vinegar made from fermented apple juice, has a number of purported health benefits. Traditionally, it’s been used for everything from lowering cholesterol to improving digestion to regulating blood sugar levels. But does apple cider vinegar actually do what its proponents claim it does? 


Two conditions apple cider vinegar is used to treat include heartburn and weight gain. Let’s see if the remedy holds up when examined under a scientific light.


Apple cider vinegar for heartburn


Millions of Americans suffer from heartburn, also known as acid reflux. The condition, which causes a burning sensation in the chest, is usually harmless, and can be triggered by eating spicy or fried foods or drinking alcohol or coffee. Nonetheless, it’s unpleasant to experience, and many turn to natural solutions, such as apple cider vinegar, to ease their symptoms.


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GERD - Condition Overview

GERD - Condition Overview

Unfortunately, there’s no scientific evidence that apple cider vinegar alleviates heartburn. While advocates of the beverage claim the vinegar reduces levels of stomach acid thus curing acid reflux, no research has been able to support these claims. 


Apple cider vinegar for weight loss


Like heartburn, obesity and overweight are two health problems that millions of Americans live with. But while heartburn can be difficult to treat since its exact cause is hard to pinpoint, losing excess weight isn’t as complicated. Still, many people prefer trying natural remedies before committing to a weight-loss diet or exercise plan. Apple cider vinegar is widely used for weight loss, but how effective is it really?


Apparently, quite. In 2018, researchers tested the effectiveness of apple cider vinegar for weight loss on 39 participants, who were divided into two groups. Both groups consumed 250 fewer calories than usual during the day, but one group received a daily dose of 30 ml of apple cider vinegar in addition. 


At the end of the trial, it was found that participants who followed a calorie-restricted diet and drank apple cider vinegar lost an average of 8.8 pounds over 12 weeks. The other group, calorie-restricted diet alone, only lost 5 pounds over the same amount of time. Furthermore, those who received apple cider vinegar had lower cholesterol levels. Adding apple cider vinegar to a reduced calorie diet thus was shown to improve weight loss parameters in this small study. It may be helpful to ask your doctor if this strategy could work for you.

How can I include apple cider vinegar in my diet?


If you’re looking to cure heartburn, it won’t hurt you to try a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar, though you may need more effective help, such as over-the-counter or prescription medication. But for weight loss, you can try drinking a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar mixed into a glass of water twice a day to reap the potential benefits. Keep in mind you’ll still have to control your diet and exercise regularly to lose any significant amount of weight. 


Is apple cider vinegar safe?


Apple cider vinegar is safe when taken in small amounts and in moderation. Large amounts of apple cider vinegar, when used over longer periods of time, can cause throat irritation and even contribute to lower potassium levels in the body. Make sure to stick to the recommended amount, which is 1 to 2 tablespoons per day, diluted in water. If you have any further questions about the safety of apple cider vinegar, it’s always best to consult with your doctor.


Written by Natan Rosenfeld

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