Apple Cider Vinegar and Blood Pressure

Introduction

“An apple a day keeps the doctor away”. 

This is one of many old wives’ tales that we have all heard and in this case, one glass of apple cider vinegar should work wonders. In this article, we will attempt to debunk the myths revolving around apple cider vinegar and clear up what the actual benefits of consuming apple cider vinegar are.

What is apple cider vinegar?

Apple cider vinegar, also known as cider vinegar, is a type of vinegar that is made from fermented apple juice. Adding yeast to apple juice allows the sugar present in it to turn into alcohol, leading to fermentation. Apple cider vinegar is mainly used as a salad dressing, as an all-purpose cleaner due to its antibacterial properties, and as a food preservative thanks to its acidity which kills bacteria and inhibits any enzyme that can lead to food spoiling. Cider vinegar has been used as a home remedy for many years. It is believed that it can help treat blood pressure and alleviate its symptoms.

Apple cider vinegar and blood pressure

Blood pressure is a vital indicator of a person’s health status. It is measured by two numbers. The systolic number, which is the highest of the two, measures the force at which the heart pumps blood into the body. The diastolic number, which is the lowest of the two, measures the resistance to blood flow. Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is a condition that is becoming increasingly more common, and that can lead to severe heart problems. 

A common myth that has been passed on from one generation to another, is that apple cider vinegar can help treat high blood pressure. However, there is no scientific evidence to back this claim. While some studies have found that cider vinegar can have a modest effect on weight loss, which might improve and reduce hypertension, consuming it on its own as a remedy is simply not enough. 

Another hypothesis states that apple cider vinegar plays a role in decreasing renin levels in the body. Renin is an enzyme that is released by kidney cells into the blood. It aids in maintaining proper levels of potassium and sodium, thus playing a part in controlling blood pressure. While a study conducted on rats states that apple cider vinegar decreases renin and hypertension, these findings were not reproduced in human studies. Therefore, the conclusions drawn from a single study conducted on animals are unreliable. 

If you have hypertension, it is best to consult with a GP to ensure proper management of the condition. Maintaining a healthy diet along with a consistent exercise plan is just as important as taking medication prescribed by your doctor. 

Benefits of apple cider vinegar

While it is not a magic potion that will cure all illnesses, apple cider vinegar does have some benefits. For instance, some studies have found that cider vinegar plays a small role in lowering blood sugar levels. In fact, due to the anti-glycemic effects of the acetic acid, a decrease in blood sugar levels and an increase in insulin sensitivity were observed. It is important to note, however, that apple cider vinegar cannot and should not replace the use of medication for high levels of sugar in the blood, or diabetes. It can be used along with the medication prescribed but only after consulting with a GP to ensure proper management and to avoid any complications. 

Apple cider vinegar may also help in reducing high cholesterol levels. In a study conducted in 2012, it was found that the consumption of apple cider vinegar has decreased the cholesterol levels of the study participants. However, the small number of participants in this study makes it unreliable, and therefore its findings should be considered carefully before drawing any hard conclusions. Similar to the case of blood pressure and diabetes, apple cider vinegar may play a role in the improvement of these conditions. However, it is by no means a remedy or a treatment for them.

As previously stated, apple cider vinegar can have a modest effect on weight loss. It can lead to the feeling of being full, therefore leaving you not wanting to eat. However, there is a misconception regarding its “weight loss” abilities. In fact, contrary to popular belief, apple cider vinegar does not burn fat, and there are very few to no studies that prove that cider vinegar can burn fat. 

Side effects

Apple cider vinegar is generally safe to use. However, just like everything in this world, too much of a good thing is bad. Apple cider vinegar is highly acidic. Therefore its consumption in large amounts can lead to throat irritations, teeth damage and acid reflux, or even severe ulcers if consumed in excessive amounts. 

Furthermore, apple cider vinegar can interact with certain drugs and supplements such as insulin and diuretics, which can decrease potassium levels. This is why it is crucial to consult with a GP before consuming apple cider vinegar in large amounts. 

Summary

To conclude, apple cider vinegar is a type of vinegar mainly used in salad dressings and vinaigrettes. It can also be used as an antibacterial cleaning tool for both vegetables and hard surfaces. There are several myths revolving around the benefits of apple cider vinegar, the main ones being that it can reduce high blood pressure, high blood sugar and weight loss. Unfortunately, there is no scientific evidence confirming the ability of apple cider vinegar to treat those conditions. Nonetheless, it is considered part of a healthy diet which contributes to maintaining good health.

References

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  3. Healthline. 2022. 28 Surprising Uses for Apple Cider Vinegar. [online] Available at: <https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/apple-cider-vinegar-uses> [Accessed 20 May 2022].
  4. Mayo Clinic. 2022. Can apple cider vinegar help you burn fat?. [online] Available at: <https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/weight-loss/expert-answers/apple-cider-vinegar-for-weight-loss/faq-20058394.> [Accessed 20 May 2022].
  5. Mayo Clinic. 2022. High blood pressure (hypertension) - Symptoms and causes. [online] Available at: <https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/high-blood-pressure/symptoms-causes/syc-20373410> [Accessed 20 May 2022].
  6. nhs.uk. 2022. High blood pressure (hypertension). [online] Available at: <https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/high-blood-pressure-hypertension/> [Accessed 20 May 2022].
  7. Uchicagomedicine.org. 2022. Debunking the health benefits of apple cider vinegar. [online] Available at: <https://www.uchicagomedicine.org/forefront/health-and-wellness-articles/debunking-the-health-benefits-of-apple-cider-vinegar> [Accessed 20 May 2022].
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