Apple cider vinegar side effects sound unusual since ACV is a popular home remedy for numerous ailments. Be it diabetes or weight loss; natural medicine enthusiasts claim it can help deal with them all.
Unfortunately, too much apple cider vinegar can cause some health problems as well. It can irritate your throat and affect your teeth. Too much apple cider is also known to affect blood sugar and potassium levels than the body.
Let us learn about apple cider vinegar side effects if taken in excess, directly or for too long. We will also find out the correct dosage of apple cider vinegar.
Apple cider vinegar is made with apple juice. It is made by adding yeast to apple juice. The yeast turns the fruit sugar into alcohol. Bacteria, which are added to the mixture, then convert the alcohol into acetic acid. It’s this acetic acid that gives the vinegar its sour taste and strong smell.
Apple cider vinegar contains beneficial bacteria and enzymes which give it many of its health benefits. It also contains vitamin B1, B2, B6, vitamin C, niacin and folic acid and minerals like calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, and sodium.
How is it used?
Apple cider vinegar is used in salads, pickles, as a preservative and also in baking. In the recent years, it has become a popular remedy for bad breath, weight loss and for reducing blood cholesterol.
But the usage of ACV for medicinal purposes is not a recent phenomenon. In ancient Greece, Hippocrates prescribed apple cider vinegar mixed with honey to treat a variety of ailments like coughs and colds.
Roman and Japanese soldiers were also known to drink diluted apple cider vinegar to speed up wound healing in the ancient times.
Apple cider vinegar side effects
Apple cider vinegar is highly acidic. It can be harmful and even dangerous if taken directly or for too long. Let us learn more about apple cider vinegar side effects when there is a prolonged use of this drink.
1. Throat irritation
Throat irritation is one of the most common apple cider vinegar side effects. This happens usually when there is a prolonged use of apple cider vinegar.
Our mouth, throat, and esophagus are lined with a mucous membrane, which can burn if exposed to acid. Taking apple cider vinegar over an extended period or using it undiluted can damage this membrane and cause throat pain, heartburn and nausea.
There have also been cases where apple cider tablets have caused permanent damage to the throat and the esophagus (1).
Ways to prevent – Diluting the vinegar with water can avoid damage to mouth, throat, and esophagus.
2. Delayed stomach emptying
Apple cider vinegar can help in managing post-meal blood sugar spikes. It does this by increasing insulin sensitivity and by delaying the passage of food from the stomach to the small intestine (2).
While this may be beneficial for healthy people, it can worsen the symptoms of gastroparesis in some people with type-1 diabetes.
Gastroparesis is a condition in which the stomach does not empty itself normally, so the food stays in the stomach for too long. When ACV prolongs the stomach emptying even further, it leads to unpleasant symptoms like nausea, heartburn and bloating.
According to a study on ten people with type-1 diabetes and diabetic gastroparesis, vinegar delays stomach emptying even further, which may severely affect their glycemic control (3).
Ways to prevent – People with type-1 diabetes should avoid having ACV.
3. Potassium deficiency
Prolonged consumption of ACV can lead to low levels of potassium in the blood. Potassium is an essential mineral, and its low levels can cause heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, arthritis, digestive problems, infertility and even cancer.
Low levels of potassium can also cause hypokalemia, a condition that results in nausea, cramping, weakness, disturbed heart rhythms and even paralysis.
If the blood levels of potassium are low over a prolonged period, it can even lead to osteoporosis.
According to one case report, a 28-year-old Australian woman who consumed eight ounces of apple cider vinegar daily for six years developed osteoporosis (4).
Osteoporosis is a condition that is rarely seen in people this young. The acid load from vinegar affected her bone mineral density and made them brittle.
Ways to prevent – Stick to the recommended doses of ACV.
4. Damaged teeth
Apple cider vinegar side effects are also seen in dental health. Foods and drinks that are acidic can erode the teeth enamel(5). Apple cider vinegar can damage the tooth enamel due to its highly acidic content.
According to a study published in the Dutch Journal of Dentistry, a 15-year-old Moroccan girl, who drank eight ounces of ACV every day for weight loss, suffered from severe dental decay (6).
During another lab study, enamel samples from wisdom teeth were immersed in different kinds of vinegar. The results showed minerals loss of up to 20 percent after eight hours (7).
Though the saliva in the mouth can reduce the effect of vinegar to some extent, this study proved the harmful effect of vinegar on teeth enamel.
Ways to prevent – You can take diluted ACV with a straw and rinse your mouth after you consume it. People with sensitive teeth should avoid taking apple cider vinegar altogether.
5. Digestive issues
Many people take apple cider vinegar as a detox drink but it can have the opposite effect in some people and can lead to digestive problems.
Some people feel incredibly nauseous after consuming ACV. Consuming more than the recommended dosage can also lead to heartburn, indigestion, and diarrhea.
Many studies show that ACV helps reduce appetite, but this may be due to indigestion.
According to a 2014 study, consuming a drink containing 25 grams of apple cider vinegar did help in lowering the appetite, but it also led to an increase in nausea (8).
Ways to prevent – Don’t mask the effects of indigestion with medication. Reduce your dosage of ACV.
6. Skin irritation and burns
Apple cider vinegar is acidic and can lead to skin irritation or burns if applied on the sensitive skin. There have been reports of chemical burns due to unsupervised use of ACV on sensitive skin.
According to one case study, a 14-year-old girl suffered from erosions on her nose when she applied apple cider vinegar to remove two moles from her nose (9).
In another case, an 8-year-old boy suffered from chemical burns and fever after his mother treated a viral skin infection on his leg with apple cider vinegar (10).
Though many people claim that ACV is good for the skin because it contains pectin, beta-carotene, and vitamin C, a USDA report confirms that it does not have these nutrients in detectable amounts.
Ways to prevent – Use diluted ACV if you have sensitive skin. Never dilute ACV with lemon or carbonated drinks that are acidic.
7. Low blood sugar and blood thinning
If you have a history of diabetes in the family, it is better to check with a doctor before taking apple cider vinegar. Apple cider vinegar can increase the chances of hypoglycemia or low blood sugar in people with diabetes.
People who take insulin may also experience dangerously low blood sugar and potassium levels if they take apple cider vinegar.
If you are taking anticoagulant medication, do not take ACV without the approval from your doctor. Apple cider vinegar also acts as an anticoagulant and taking it along with your medicine can lead to hemorrhage after injury.
Ways to prevent – Always check with your doctor to avoid any drug interaction with ACV.
8. Increase in urination frequency
If you are already taking diuretics, it is best not to consume apple cider vinegar. Vinegar acts as a diuretic in the body and drinking this along with diuretics can lead to dehydration.
If you have an overactive bladder, a medical condition that causes bladder irritation and an increasing need to urinate, drinking AVC can worsen the symptoms.
Ways to prevent – Avoid ACV if you have an overactive bladder or are taking diuretics.
The recommended dosage for apple cider vinegar
There is no official recommended dosage for apple cider vinegar. The appropriate dosage depends on the age, sex, body mass index and health of the person.
Some people take around two teaspoons of ACV diluted in a glass of water every day. Others take one teaspoon in a glass of water up to three times a day. You should not take more than two tablespoons or 30 ml of ACV in a day.
Tablets with 285 mg of dehydrated apple cider vinegar are also commonly sold.
Be sure to take ACV with lots of water. Always rinse your mouth after you have taken it. Always consult with your doctor if you are taking any other medication like diuretics, insulin or Lanoxin.
Over to you on apple cider side effects
Apple cider vinegar is made by fermenting apple juice. It has numerous health benefits including weight loss, improved blood sugar levels and lower cholesterol.
Unmonitored intake or undiluted form consumption can lead to a number of apple cider vinegar side effects like potassium deficiency, digestive issues, damaged teeth and throat irritation.
Applying it directly on sensitive skin can also lead to chemical burns. So, always use ACV in moderation and dilute in it water before you drink it or apply it to your skin.