Apple Cider Vinegar And Baking Soda: Benefits & Downsides 2023

Healthcanal

Updated on - Written by
Medically reviewed by Kathy Shattler, MS, RDN

apple cider vinegar and baking soda

Apple cider vinegar and baking soda are two common household staples that offer several health benefits. Both will provide health benefits on their own, but does consuming them in combination provide additional health benefits that aid with weight and fat loss? This article will explore the benefits and risks of baking soda and apple cider vinegar.

Benefits Of Apple Cider Vinegar And Baking Soda

Both baking soda and apple cider vinegar have been promoted as healthy products that can help with numerous ailments. Both are easily purchased at any grocery store, and organic apple cider vinegar gummies are widely available. What does the real evidence say? 

Reflux

apple cider vinegar and baking soda

The use of baking soda for acid reflux[1] is an easy homemade remedy for short-term acid reflux relief. This is because baking soda, also known as sodium bicarbonate, has an alkaline pH which neutralizes acidic reflux. Baking soda for acid reflux is recommended in acute cases that last for two weeks or less. 

Many over-the-counter products contain sodium bicarbonate. However, you can make your own remedy at home by mixing 1/2 teaspoon with 1/2 cup of water. This OTC remedy is suitable for all non-pregnant adults. 

Regarding apple cider vinegar, despite many internet sites claiming apple cider vinegar can provide acid reflux relief, there is no scientific evidence to back up those claims. As a result, using apple cider vinegar and baking soda for acid reflux is not recommended as a safe or beneficial remedy, as there is no evidence that including apple cider vinegar will provide any additional benefits.

It is best just to use baking soda mixed with water, as described above, as a short-term home remedy for acid reflux. 

Hair Care

apple cider vinegar and baking soda

The benefits of apple cider vinegar and hair care have been explored. Due to apple cider vinegar’s high pH and anti-fungal properties, it cleanses hair and leaves it shining.

Baking soda,[2] however, has not been proven to be beneficial for hair. While no scientific studies are looking specifically at the effect of baking soda on hair, there is evidence that an alkaline pH may lead to hair cuticle damage and fiber breakage. Further, shampoos with an acidic pH may cause less frizzing. 

Since baking soda has an alkaline pH, it is best to keep it out of your hair care routine. Using apple cider vinegar and baking soda for hair care is also best to keep out of your hair care routine as there is no evidence that combining baking soda and apple cider vinegar will be beneficial and baking soda is known to have a negative effect on hair.

Skin Care

apple cider vinegar and baking soda

Baking soda is often touted as a popular skin care product. Sodium bicarbonate can be found in cosmetic products,[3] and the present amounts in these products have been determined as safe. 

Taking an apple cider vinegar and baking soda bath with Epsom salts has been stated to soothe irritated skin.[4] Regardless, caution should be exercised when trying these do-it-yourself home remedies, and you should be sure to use appropriate amounts of each ingredient. 

While many internet websites have claimed that apple cider vinegar benefits the skin, evidence is lacking. Two cell culture studies from 2018 and 2021 show apple cider vinegar has antimicrobial and antibacterial potential. Although some of the bacteria analyzed in those studies have been associated with acne[5] flare-ups, there is no scientific evidence that applying apple cider vinegar to human skin will be beneficial.  Use caution if choosing to do so, as it may burn the skin.

Weight Loss

apple cider vinegar and baking soda

Topics such as ‘apple cider vinegar and baking soda for fat loss’ and ’how to use apple cider vinegar to lose belly fat are common. Could combining the two make a weight-loss drink? Weight loss research indicating either product can help with weight loss, however, is quite limited or shows no benefit. 

Regarding baking soda, there is no scientific evidence showing that consuming a baking soda drink, supplements, or any baking soda product promotes weight loss. In fact, a 2014 animal study[6] showed that animals treated with sodium bicarbonate before being given a chemotherapeutic agent exhibited normal weight gain. This does not mean sodium bicarbonate will cause weight gain in humans, but there is certainly no evidence that it will help anyone lose weight.

For apple cider vinegar, a 2020 animal study[7] did show that mice fed an apple cider vinegar drink had reduced food intake, reduced weight gain, and improved glucose tolerance. Although these findings are interesting, larger studies with humans are required to draw conclusions on the effectiveness of apple vinegar for weight loss.

A 2020 systematic review[8] did assess the association between apple vinegar intake and body weight among thirteen human studies and twelve animal studies. The authors concluded that while there may be some health benefits associated with the daily consumption of apple vinegar, there is insufficient evidence to recommend health and weight loss promotion. 

Given that there is insufficient research on using both baking soda and apple cider vinegar for weight loss, it is best not to rely on either product or a combination of both to lose weight.

Apple Cider Vinegar And Baking Soda Recipe

Can you drink apple cider vinegar and baking soda together? Due to there being a lack of scientific evidence to justify any health benefits associated with combining these two ingredients, it would be best to consume them separately. 

In the aforementioned 2020 systematic review, it suggests consuming apple vinegar in moderate amounts, for example, 2 tablespoons of commercial apple vinegar. It also states that diluting the vinegar with water can help minimize the risk of side effects. Furthermore, one-half teaspoon of baking soda mixed with one-half cup of water is safe for short-term consumption. 

Side Effects

It is possible to overdose[9] on baking soda when consumed in large amounts, and the symptoms include constipation, convulsions, diarrhea, frequent urination, feeling of fullness, irritability, muscle spasms, muscle weakness, and vomiting. Dehydration can occur as a result of diarrhea and vomiting, leading to electrolyte imbalances which can cause heart rhythm disturbances. 

Long-term use of baking soda could also be problematic. A 2013 case study[10] reported that an adult male had been consuming baking soda to treat heartburn and gastric upset for seven years. The man presented to the emergency room with abnormal heart rhythm and abnormal lab values as a result of consuming too much baking soda for a long period of time. 

Another case study[11] found that using baking soda and water to treat acid reflux resulted in severe metabolic alkalosis. Metabolic alkalosis[12] is when the blood acid-base is disrupted and can cause symptoms such as confusion, coma, tremors, tingling, numbness, muscle weakness and twitching, and irregular heartbeat. 

Regarding apple cider vinegar, one study found that while vinegar may increase the feeling of fullness, this is due to vinegar causing nausea.[13] The negative effects of vinegar drink consumption were also shown in a case study where a young teenage boy who had been drinking a vinegar drink[14] daily without proper dilution gave his esophagus acidic burns. 

Caution should also be exercised when applying vinegar to the skin. A case study describes how a young teenage girl gave herself a chemical burn[15] after using apple cider vinegar in an attempt to remove a mole. 

The Bottom Line

Although baking soda and apple cider vinegar provide some health benefits when consumed individually, there is no evidence to justify mixing them together, except for a soothing skin bath. Overall it is best to keep them separate.

There are many quick fixes for health problems and weight loss on the internet. The best way to promote a healthy weight and good health is to eat a well-balanced diet, get enough sleep, and participate in regular exercise and stress-reducing activities.


+ 15 sources

Health Canal avoids using tertiary references. We have strict sourcing guidelines and rely on peer-reviewed studies, academic researches from medical associations and institutions. To ensure the accuracy of articles in Health Canal, you can read more about the editorial process here

  1. GIS (2020). Baking Soda for Heartburn. [online] Gastrointestinal Society. Available at: https://badgut.org/information-centre/a-z-digestive-topics/baking-soda-for-heartburn/
  2. Gavazzoni Dias, M.F., Pichler, J., Adriano, A., Cecato, P. and de Almeida, A. (2014). The shampoo pH can affect the hair: Myth or Reality? International Journal of Trichology, [online] 6(3), p.95. doi:10.4103/0974-7753.139078.
  3. Journal of the American College of Toxicology. (2016). 5: Final Report on the Safety Assessment of Sodium Sesquicarbonate, Sodium Bicarbonate, and Sodium Carbonate, 1987. [online] Available at: https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.3109/10915818709095491
  4. Armandhammer.com. (2019). DIY Bath Salts | ARM & HAMMER Baking Soda Project. [online] Available at: https://www.armandhammer.com/for-everything-soda/bath-salt-soda
  5. McLaughlin, J., Watterson, S., Layton, A.M., Bjourson, A.J., Barnard, E. and McDowell, A. (2019). Propionibacterium acnes and Acne Vulgaris: New Insights from the Integration of Population Genetic, Multi-Omic, Biochemical and Host-Microbe Studies. Microorganisms, [online] 7(5), p.128. doi:10.3390/microorganisms7050128.
  6. Guindon, J. and Hohmann, A.G. (2013). Use of sodium bicarbonate to promote weight gain, maintain body temperature, normalize renal functions and minimize mortality in rodents receiving the chemotherapeutic agent cisplatin. Neuroscience Letters, [online] 544, pp.41–46. doi:10.1016/j.neulet.2013.03.033.
  7. Urtasun, R., Díaz-Gómez, J., Araña, M., Pajares, M.J., Oneca, M., Torre, P., Jiménez, M., Munilla, G., Barajas, M. and Encío, I. (2020). A Combination of Apple Vinegar Drink with Bacillus coagulans Ameliorates High Fat Diet-Induced Body Weight Gain, Insulin Resistance and Hepatic Steatosis. Nutrients, [online] 12(9), p.2504. doi:10.3390/nu12092504.
  8. Launholt, T.L., Kristiansen, C.B. and Hjorth, P. (2020). Safety and side effects of apple vinegar intake and its effect on metabolic parameters and body weight: a systematic review. European Journal of Nutrition, [online] 59(6), pp.2273–2289. doi:10.1007/s00394-020-02214-3.
  9. Mount Sinai Health System. (2018). Baking soda overdose Information | Mount Sinai – New York. [online] Available at: https://www.mountsinai.org/health-library/poison/baking-soda-overdose
  10. Al-Abri, S.A. and Olson, K.R. (2013). Baking Soda Can Settle the Stomach but Upset the Heart: Case Files of the Medical Toxicology Fellowship at the University of California, San Francisco. Journal of Medical Toxicology, [online] 9(3), pp.255–258. doi:10.1007/s13181-013-0300-4.
  11. Jensen S;Skriver S (2014). [Self-treatment with baking soda can lead to severe metabolic alkalosis]. Ugeskrift for laeger, [online] 176(25A). Available at: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25497637/
  12. Sur, M. and Shah, A.D. (2022). Alkalosis. [online] Nih.gov. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK545269/
  13. Darzi, J., Frost, G.S., Montaser, R., Yap, J. and Robertson, M.D. (2013). Influence of the tolerability of vinegar as an oral source of short-chain fatty acids on appetite control and food intake. International Journal of Obesity, [online] 38(5), pp.675–681. doi:10.1038/ijo.2013.157.
  14. Chang, J., Han, S.E., Paik, S.S. and Kim, Y.J. (2020). Corrosive Esophageal Injury due to a Commercial Vinegar Beverage in an Adolescent. Clinical Endoscopy, [online] 53(3), pp.366–369. doi:10.5946/ce.2019.066.
  15. Feldstein, S., Afshar, M. and Krakowski, A.C. (2015). Chemical Burn from Vinegar Following an Internet-based Protocol for Self-removal of Nevi. The Journal of clinical and aesthetic dermatology, [online] 8(6), p.50. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4479370/
Healthcanal

Written by:

Health Canal Staff

Medically reviewed by:

Kathy Shattler

Medically reviewed by:

Kathy Shattler

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