Is apple cider vinegar nature’s answer to Ozempic?

Could a spoonful a day of something as simple as apple cider vinegar really rival the effectiveness of weight loss drugs like Ozempic?

Potentially, yes. A recent study published in the BMJ found a group of overweight young people aged 12 – 25 who drank apple cider vinegar (ACV) diluted in a glass of water on an empty stomach before breakfast, experienced up to 8kg of weight loss in just three months.

The participants were divided into three treatment groups plus a placebo group. Groups 1, 2 and 3 drank 5, 10 and 15 ml of ACV respectively diluted in 250 ml of water daily, in the morning on an empty stomach, for 12 weeks.

The control group received a placebo of flavored water.

The consumption of ACV led to significant decreases in body weight and BMI at weeks 4, 8 and 12 of the study, with the decreases apparently dose-dependent, meaning the group consuming 15 ml of ACV showed the biggest improvements.

The great news is ACV is cheaply available, completely natural and relatively easily incorporated into a normal lifestyle.

Some experts have sounded a note of caution over these results though by flagging that because the group involved in the study were very young we can’t be sure that drinking apple cider vinegar like this would have the same impact across the population.

And at first glance that’s supported by the findings of a Japanese study in an older group of obese participants where drinking apple cider vinegar did lead to some weight loss but not as much.

However, in that study they drank the vinegar after eating and we now understand through blood sugar monitoring that drinking it before meals is what makes the biggest difference.

How does it work?

Its’s thought the acetic acid in vinegar temporarily deactivates a digestive enzyme in saliva that breaks down any sugar or starch that we eat into bioavailable glucose molecules.

This slows down the glucose released into the blood stream preventing the sugar spikes that can lead to weight gain and disease-causing insulin resistance.

When acetic acid gets into the bloodstream, it penetrates the muscles and helps them absorb and store glucose molecules.

And though in this most recent study, the participants who drank a 15ml tablespoon before breakfast lost most weight, impressive results were seen even with just a 5ml teaspoon.

When the study began, the average weight of participants was about 173 pounds (78.5kg).

The group that drank 15 ml of ACV daily dropped on average to about 155 pounds (70.3kg). Those who drank 10ml reduced their average weight to 159 pounds (72kg), and the group that consumed 5ml dropped to an average of 163 pounds (74kg). All three groups had a decline in waist and hip circumference and BMI.

How is it made and what’s the best form?

ACV is fermented, with the apples first crushed before yeast is added. The sugar in the apples then converts into alcohol which is broken down by natural bacteria and turned into acetic acid.

Raw, unfiltered ACV is known as “the mother” and contains the ‘good’ bacteria created during the fermenting process. ACV without “the mother” has this bacteria filtered out. The filtered vinegar is clearer but it still contains acetic acid which is what is thought to support weightloss.

Proponents of the “mother” vinegar claim the bacteria can support gut health.

What are the downsides?

Experts warn not to drink ACV with honey, fruit juice or another sweetener because that can lessen the results – just stick to diluting it with water.

The vinegar can be rough on your teeth enamel so you could drink it with a straw, rinse your mouth out with water afterwards and wait half an hour before brushing your teeth.

That’s another reason why consuming it first thing makes sense, giving yourself some time to shower etc, before you brush your teeth.

Anyone with stomach or kidney problems might want to be extra cautious around taking ACV because of the additional acidity.

If you find it gives you heartburn, you could try diluting it in more water – or stick to a lower amount which can still offer benefits.

It’s always possible to have too much of a good thing.

The vinegar can interact with some drugs, such as diuretics, laxatives, and insulin so if you’re taking medication of this kind it’s a good idea to speak to your doctor before taking ACV on a regular basis.

Consuming large quantities of ACV could lower your potassium levels so it’s best to consume moderately, as the participants in the study discussed in this article did and still experienced big benefits.

Blood sugar regulator

Biochemist and author Jessie Inchauspe has become a social media sensation with her tips for controlling blood glucose.

It’s the sudden spikes in glucose that come with eating higher carb meals and snacks, along with sugary treats and drinks, even fruit juice, that can accelerate aging.

Author of The Glucose Revolution, Jessie Inchauspe

In the short-term glucose spikes cause us to feel more hungry, experience energy dips and tiredness, and contribute to poor sleep, headaches and brain fog.

But left unchecked, and particularly as we age, if we allow glucose to routinely flood our cells it can cause inflammation and a build-up of fat (most obviously around the belly) and can lead to more serious health issues including type 2 diabetes, heart disease, liver disease, cancer and Alzheimer’s.

Along with lifestyle changes, to help limit blood sugar spikes Jessie recommends taking a tablespoon of vinegar diluted in water or consumed as a salad dressing before eating higher carb meals and/or sugary snacks.

She says doing this up to 20 minutes before eating, can reduce the glucose spike of the meal by up to 30%.