Does Apple Cider Vinegar Lower A1C? ACV For Diabetes [UK] 2023

Sevginur Akdas

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

does apple cider vinegar lower a1c

Researchers have recently started examining the health effects of apple cider vinegar with clinical or animal research. One of these claims is its effect on diabetes. Does apple cider vinegar lower A1c, regulate blood sugar, or are there any effects on insulin levels? Let’s look closer. 

Does Apple Cider Vinegar Help Lower A1c?

First of all, why apple cider vinegar or ACV? Apple cider vinegar is a commonly used vinegar that is produced by the fermentation of apples. Its acetic acid has demonstrated effectiveness[1] in reducing hyperglycemia which is exaggerated by chlorogenic acid, a polyphenol found in ACV. 

In a recent 2022 study on[2] obese vs. healthy individuals given ACV, it was noted that ACV positively affects HbA1c and body mass index. In another study,[3] A1c fell by .16% with the regular consumption of apple cider vinegar.

What Does Apple Vinegar Contain?

Apple cider vinegar has these effects because of its anti-inflammatory properties.[4] It includes many different flavonoids, such as catechins, caffeic acid, and gallic acid, as well as polyphenols. These chemical properties make apple cider vinegar a functional product for inflammation-related diseases. As it is well-shown in the scientific platforms that chronic diseases such as obesity, diabetes, hypertension, or cancers are closely related to inflammatory stages, researchers have become curious about whether apple cider vinegar can be beneficial against these inflammatory conditions. 

Animal experiments with normal and diabetic rats proved this hypothesis. Anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory,[5] anti-diabetic,[6] and anti-hyperlipidemic[7] effects of apple cider vinegar have been reported in different studies. This means it effectively regulates blood glucose, blood fat, and inflammatory processes.  

After many animal experiments showed that apple cider vinegar has pharmacological effects on many health problems, researchers transferred these experiments to the clinical field, where human studies also revealed some of these effects. 

Is Apple Cider Vinegar A Good Anti-Diabetic Agent?

The most significant effects among studies with apple cider vinegar have affected blood glucose levels and weight loss. Popular literature abounds with people talking about apple cider vinegar’s effects on weight loss. However, we should avoid rumors about this kind of health issue and follow scientific evidence. What does science say? 

What Is A1c?

The diabetes outcomes are followed by a few blood parameters:[8]

  • Fasting blood glucose.
  • Post-meal blood glucose.
  • Insulin level.
  • HOMA index, which shows insulin resistance.
  • Hemoglobin A1c, which shows glucose-binds hemoglobin level. 

Among these diabetes outcomes, A1c has a special place. Due to the red blood cell’s living period being about 120 days, A1c gives an idea about the long period of blood sugar control rather than the moment that blood is taken. Your doctor can understand your average blood sugar control over the last three months by checking your A1c results. So, does apple cider vinegar help lower A1c?

 It is a needed blood value to examine studies’ long-term blood sugar control during a treatment period. 

Anti-Diabetic Effects Of Apple Cider Vinegar

The study[9] held with diabetic animals showed that consumption of food containing 6% apple cider vinegar for four weeks reduced A1c Besides A1c levels, apple cider vinegar treatment also reduced low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, which is bad cholesterol, blood total fat, while increasing high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, the good cholesterol, thus affecting lipid metabolism. These results show that apple cider vinegar can improve both blood sugar and blood lipid profile in diabetes. 

A review[10] about consuming vinegar’s effects on diabetes outcomes examined related research and reported that vinegar significantly affects A1c levels and diabetes control, but it was a small effect. 

We can see the most important and reliable results on this subject in the meta-analysis study[11] published in 2021. In this study, the results of all research on the subject were collected, and a cumulative analysis was carried out. According to the results of nine studies, apple cider vinegar significantly reduced fasting blood sugar, A1c values, and total cholesterol levels, but there were no effects on blood insulin concentrations.

Another important finding in this meta-analysis is related to the duration of use and dosage. Evaluations have shown that apple cider vinegar is beneficial when consumed in quantities less than 15 milliliters daily, while excessive consumption has no effect. It is important to use it for more than eight weeks to see these effects.

In addition, studies[12] show that using apple cider vinegar with calorie restriction causes you to lose weight and develop a reduced waist circumference, more so than with only calorie restriction. It is also effective in appetite control and furthering diet compliance. These results are also effective in regulating blood sugar.

Can Apple Cider Vinegar Reduce Blood Sugar Immediately? 

According to the studies we mentioned above, apple cider vinegar lowers blood sugar levels in the long term, but what about incident action? 

According to a study published in Diabetes Care[13] journal, apple cider vinegar reduced glucose concentrations after meals in people with type 1 diabetes. It is an important result for diabetes management and might be a strategy for a diabetic diet. 

Type 1 diabetes is generally based on genetics or viral activity, and compared to type 2 diabetes, it is less related to diet. However, it is essential to control foods and not to increase blood sugar too much because the body can not produce adequate insulin levels to use all of the glucose in circulation. Therefore, blood glucose management is more critical in patients with type 1 diabetes.

Digestive Effects

On the other hand, studies revealed that while ACV increases acidity, it also slows gastric emptying.[14] This can be the main mechanism of blood glucose control. Because it slows your digestion, it means slower absorption of glucose. It gives you time for normal glucose tolerance to occur rather than peaking suddenly. 

Gastric slowing might be due to the effect on insulin-stimulated glucose uptake, but further studies are needed on this mechanism.

Yes, it delays digestion, but it also helps facilitate absorption. The acetic acid in apple cider vinegar regulates and helps digestion.[15] Especially in older adults, the stomach produces lowed acid to digest foods. When stomach acidity is decreased, people faced with digestive problems such as gas and bloating may experience symptoms. You can boost digestion with apple cider vinegar if you have issues with low stomach acid. 

Tips For Taking Apple Cider Vinegar

One of the most important points in using apple cider vinegar is not to consume too much. There are results in scientific studies that a few spoons of apple cider vinegar can show health effects. 

But no studies, including animal studies, have evaluated the health effects of direct consumption of apple cider vinegar. In each study, apple cider vinegar was diluted by adding it to various beverages and foods. This is important for your digestive system health because apple cider vinegar is a strong acid that can cause damage to your tissues and burn the skin. For this reason, you can best consume it by adding one spoonful of apple cider vinegar to a glass of water for a dilutional effect.

The use of apple cider vinegar as a dressing in salads is a very effective method both in terms of taste and in terms of facilitating the consumption of apple cider vinegar. Furthermore, you can also choose to use apple cider vinegar as a sauce for soups and main dishes.

How Much Is Enough?

Apple cider vinegar can be consumed in amounts of  15 mL daily (diluted), corresponding to about two tablespoons. Although some studies have seen four weeks of use, it is effective to use it for eight to twelve weeks or longer.

Side Effects And Risks

Yes, apple cider vinegar is a functional product with many health effects, but we need to avoid misunderstandings and rumors. If something is healthy, it doesn’t mean more is better for health. One may face side effects by consuming too much apple cider vinegar. Side effects may include delayed gastric emptying, bone loss, low potassium levels, skin burns, drug interactions, tooth enamel erosion, digestive difficulties, and throat burns.

It has strong acidic content, and the human body, especially the digestive system, is not durable against strong acids. If you drink undiluted apple cider vinegar for diabetes rather than using it in meals or diluted in water or juice, your digestive tract may get badly burned. 

Due to its acidic nature, it can interact with the drugs you use regularly. Be sure to consult your doctor if you use any medication. Similarly, its highly acidic content can damage your tooth enamel, causing dental decay. Therefore, it is important to dilute before consuming.

Some studies have shown that apple cider vinegar can lower blood sugar immediately, and it can cause sudden drops in blood sugar and tension. Especially in diabetes patients, if there are concurrently used anti-diabetic drugs, undesirable low blood sugar can be seen with apple cider vinegar consumption.

Final Thought

Apple cider vinegar is a fermented product with many benefits. It helps to lower blood sugar levels. However, it is essential to use it wisely to obtain these benefits. 

We should remember that no food is miraculous, and you can be successful by making healthy and sustainable changes in your entire diet to make your body healthier. Otherwise, it is impossible to reverse the effects of other unhealthy meals you eat during the day by consuming only a spoonful or two of diluted vinegar.

Remember to consult your physician or certified diabetes educator if you have any questions about consuming cider vinegar for diabetes and blood sugar levels and whether taking ACV is a beneficial move for you in your diabetes control plan.

+ 15 sources

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Sevginur Akdas

Written by:

Sevginur Akdas, RD

Medically reviewed by:

Kathy Shattler

Sevginur Akdas is a researcher, medical writer, and clinical dietitian, who is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in metabolism, chronic diseases, and clinical nutrition fields. She has many scientific articles, meta-analyses, systematic reviews, and book chapters on nutrition, chronic diseases, dietary supplements, maternal and child nutrition, molecular nutrition & functional foods topics as a part of a research team currently. Besides her academic background, she is also a professional health&medical writer since 2017.

Medically reviewed by:

Kathy Shattler

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