What’s with all this apple cider vinegar gut health talk? Is it really just hype, or is there something else to the story?
I can remember apple cider vinegar playing a big role in my childhood. It was something that my Grandmother always had in her cupboard of tricks. As a Naturopath, she would turn to products like this frequently. To this day it is still widely used to support digestive health.
Some people choose to self administer Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) as an acid to aide with digestion as their acid levels need some assistance. For those concerned about being in an alkaline state, this is not to say that ACV being acidic is a bad thing, it may well be exactly what someone needs.
Typically, the active acid in vinegars is acetic acid. ACV is usually somewhere between 5% and 6% acetic acid, while Brown Vinegar is somewhere between 7% and 9% acetic acid. 
Under the right conditions, an apple cider vinegar gut health regimen can help improve digestion if your natural stomach acids are of a weaker pH. But this is something that you shouldn’t just assume and start self administering without first seeking specialist advice.
Reason being, it only takes a small shift to a stronger pH (moving from 7 towards 0) and you may experience some unpleasant results.
For those who have concerns with high acidity and the effects of acetic acid, which can result in stomach ulcers, there are valid concerns.
However, there is hope. Studies have been conducted where Researchers have investigated the effectiveness of Shilajit in dealing with stomach ulcers as connected to acetic acid. The results of which provide for some interesting insights. 
So, if you’re digestion is fine, you probably don’t need to make an apple cider vinegar gut health approach a part of your day.
It is probably better to allow your stomach to keep the natural balance it has. Some vinegars, including ACV have the potential to interact with certain medication. Specifically insulin and diuretics.
Also, there are concerns that consuming too much ACV may irritate your throat, or result in the lowering of potassium levels. Either way, seek advice from a trusted Doctor or Dietitian first.
Benefits of Taking Apple Cider Vinegar
With a long trusted history, ACV has been relied upon by both men and women for generations. The facts about the benefits of taking Apple Cider Vinegar are that it is trusted by many to:
- Help improve energy levels
- Help improve gut health
- Support better heart health
- Satisfy runaway cravings and reduce appetite
- Play a role in supporting weight management
- Reduce fluid retention
- Improve skin complexion and health
- Support the immune system
But that’s not all. The humble ACV is relied upon for much more.
Pssst! I’ll let you in on a secret. Our apple cider vinegar gut health deep dive doesn’t stop here.
Apple cider vinegar gut health devotees who take to drinking it to maintain a good gut health balance isn’t something new. As I mentioned earlier, my Grandmother used it, and she swore by it.
As a young child I can recall her medicine cabinet was a big walk in style pantry. As a Naturopath she has all sorts of things in brown glass bottles, jars, hanging up drying, and carefully stored away in little timber boxes.
It was the type of medicine cabinet that you would see in the old films. Nothing in there was made of plastic, and there were no pharmaceuticals to be found anywhere in the house.
How to Take Apple Cider Vinegar for Gut Health
The apple cider vinegar gut health movement is full of people with different suggestions on how to take ACV for gut health. The most popular ways typically include:
- Adding between 5ml and 15ml of ACV to a glass of water, taken three times daily
- Adding 1 teaspoon of lemon juice and 1 to 2 teaspoons of ACV to a glass of lukewarm water
- Adding 15ml of ACV to one quarter of a cup of blended fresh pink grapefruit juice
- Adding 1 to 2 teaspoons of ACV to a lukewarm cup of ginger tea, with some Manuka honey and coconut oil, or
- Drinking up to 15ml of room temperature apple cider vinegar straight.
Your options for using apple cider vinegar don’t need to be limited to these.
Drinking ACV without Gagging
Is it really possible to drink ACV without gagging? Well, that’s a very personal thing, but I have found that it is.
It can be challenging for some people to drink ACV without feeing that unpleasant gag reflex kicking in. So how do you get around it? Even when drinking Apple Cider Vinegar for gut health, you’ve got to be able to get it down.
There are some simple tips that you can use to make a drink with ACV that is easy to consume, and arguably enjoyable. Spices and herbs can be used to tweak up the flavour. Sometimes I like to add a little ginger and cinnamon.
For a sweet touch you could drizzle in a little dark agave nectar. You could use maple syrup if you can’t find agave. As a part of my apple cider vinegar gut health strategy I find this really helps.
The trick is to not go overboard on the ACV. It’s always possible to have some more later, so keep it at a couple of tablespoons per glass.
Using chilled water as your base will help with taking any unpleasant dominant flavours out. Just like having berries or chocolate out of the fridge, the cold can suppress the taste of some things. Chilling your ACV can help with this too.
What is the Best ACV to Choose?
If you can find Apple Cider Vinegar in a brown glass bottle, you’re on the right track. The next step is to look for what is called the ‘Mother’. This can look like a strange clump in the bottom of a settled bottle of ACV.
It can also look like gritty sediment in some cases. As off-putting as some people might think this looks, it’s actually the part that brings all the goodness and the magic!
If you’ve ever had Kombucha, you’ll know what the Mother is. Same deal here.
Many people these days are choosing Bragg’s for their apple cider vinegar gut health routine. This is not to be taken as an endorsement of their product, or a negative review. I grew up with Braggs. These days I choose to get mine from a local producer who sells through a health food shop I live near.
I prefer to source ACV that is also organic. But, if this is out of your price range, or not an option, stick with the brown glass and the Mother as your key things to look for.
Getting the most out of your Apple Cider Vinegar for gut health is really quite easy.
Does Apple Cider Vinegar Kill Good Gut Bacteria?
Studies undertaken have found that there were direct antimicrobial effects from ACV on Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus, and Candida albicans. 
Good gut bacteria, however, were not reported to have been significantly impacted. Many ACV options are likely to contain probiotic bacteria. This is going to vary from batch to batch, and from one producer to another.
Speak with your Supplier about what they can offer you and ask if they have any data to support the evaluation of probiotic bacteria found in their ACV.
How to Drink Apple Cider Vinegar for Weight Loss
You might choose to take on an apple cider vinegar gut health challenge for weight loss reasons. If so, consider this.
There are not enough studies to show consistent results across a broad enough set of people in the opinion of many in the health field. However, other aspects of lifestyle, diet, and exercise have a compounding effect too. So it is reasonable to suggest that the dismissive diminishing the effectiveness of ACV on this expansive basis may be short sighted.
Studies show that the anti-obesity potential of certain vinegars have been reported to play a part decreasing the glycemic effect of meals. It is understood that vinegars such as Ginsam (from Panax Ginseng) supports achieving satiety more effectively. 
Other vinegars that have been studies for weight loss effect include Red Raspberry Vinegar (which is delicious),
How to Drink Apple Cider Vinegar in the Morning
Applying apple cider vinegar gut health methodologies are espoused by many as being best followed in the morning. This is because it is understood that by consuming ACV before eating, you are likely to achieve a state of satiety quicker.
Something important to keep in mind with following an apple cider vinegar gut health routine, the acidity in all vinegars can cause damage to your teeth if allowed to stay in contact with them. Rinsing your mouth out and brushing your teeth afterwards may held to reduce this.
If you’re inclined to go a little deeper down the rabbit hole, you could check out the apple cider vinegar gut health Reddit discussion points for some anecdotal perspectives. Keep in mind that this is a forum, and like this article, it is not a substitute for specific medical advice.
- “Vinegar” in Encyclopedia of Food Sciences and Nutrition (Second Edition) – M. Plessi, 2003 [Science Direct]
- “Acetic Acid Hazards & Safety Information” – VelocityEHS, 19 November 2014 [VelocityEHS]
- “Antimicrobial activity of apple cider vinegar against Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus and Candida albicans; downregulating cytokine and microbial protein expression” – D. Yagnik, V. Serafin, A. J. Shah, January 29 2018 [NIH]
- “Functional Properties of Vinegar” – N. H. Budak, E. Aykin, A. C. Seydim, A. K. Greene, Z. B. Guzel-Seydim, 8 May 2014 [Journal of Food Science]