- Health Benefits of Vinegar
- Adverse Effects
Vinegar is a liquid consisting of about 5-20% acetic acid, water, and other trace elements which may include flavorings. It has been used as a treatment for many different ailments since the time of Hippocrates, 420 B.C. (R).
Other bioactive products in vinegar are gallic acid, catechin, epicatechin, and caffeic acid.
Acetic acid is the main ingredient in vinegar that makes it a useful treatment as an anti-microbial and antioxidant.
Health Benefits of Vinegar
1) Vinegar is an Antioxidant
2) Vinegar Helps Control Blood Glucose Levels
In rats, blood glucose levels were significantly reduced when used in conjunction with corn starch.
In another blinded, randomized placebo-controlled, cross-over design the addition of vinegar or peanut products to a high glycemic load meal significantly reduced postprandial glycemia (R).
Thus, vinegar could be a potential treatment to slow the progression of diabetes.
3) Vinegar Helps Reduce Weight
Vinegar also increases satiety levels, indicating that it could be useful as a weight-control.
In a double-blind clinical study, vinegar intake reduced body weight, body fat mass and serum triglyceride levels in obese Japanese subjects. A daily intake of vinegar, therefore, could be helpful in the prevention of metabolic syndrome by reducing obesity (R).
4) Vinegar Inhibits Tumor Growth and May Prevent Cancer
A case-control study demonstrated that vinegar ingestion was associated with a decreased risk for esophageal cancer (R).
Sugarcane vinegar (kibizu) induced apoptosis and reduced the growth of the human leukemia cells (R).
Japanese rice vinegar (kurosu) inhibited the proliferation of human cancer cells in a dose-dependent manner by arresting the G0/G1 phase of the cell cycle (R).
An extract from Japanese rice vinegar containing ethyl acetate inhibited azoxymethane-induced colon carcinogenesis in male rats in comparison to control rats. After 40 days, the rats had significantly smaller tumor volumes, as well as longer lifespans (R).
5) Vinegar May Help Promote Heart Health
According to a prospective cohort study, consumption of oil and vinegar salad dressings (5-6 times or more per week) significantly lowered the risk for fatal ischemic heart disease in women participants (R).
The acetic acid in vinegar significantly reduced blood pressure and renin activity compared to controls, in hypertensive rats (R).
Studies have also reported that vinegar administration inhibited the renin-angiotensin system in non-hypertensive rats (R).
Trials investigating the effects of vinegar ingestion on the renin-angiotensin system have not been conducted in humans, and there is no scientific evidence that vinegar ingestion alters blood pressure in humans (R).
6) Vinegar is an Anti-Microbial and Helps Prevent Infections
Investigations have demonstrated the effectiveness of diluted vinegar (2% acetic acid solution at pH 2) for the treatment of ear infections, including otitis externa, otitis media (R), and granular myringitis (R).
Vinegar is slightly effective at inhibiting the growth of Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa (R).
Vinegar is used in remote, poorly sourced locations as a mechanism for screening women for Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) infection (R).
When the acetic acid in vinegar comes in contact with the viral lesions associated with HPV, it alters them allowing midwives to detect infection with 77% sensitivity (R).
A preliminary study suggests that local excision plus a brief application of 99% acetic acid with rapid neutralization with sterile water under local anesthesia was effective in treating condylomata acuminata (multiple genital warts) in women with an acceptable rate of recurrence of 13.3% (R).
Vinegar has been used to treat lice, nail fungus, and warts. However, vinegar is ineffective compared to other treatments normally used for these ailments.
Although vinegar’s use is considered safe by default, there are rare reports of literature regarding adverse reactions to vinegar ingestion.
According to one case-control study in Serbia vinegar ingestion (m vs l tertile) was associated with a 4.4 fold greater risk for bladder cancer (R).
Although vinegar is able to treat many infections, there are usually other more effective options.
For example, although topical application of vinegar can treat warts; local anesthesia, excision, and neutralization is a much more effective form of treatment (R).
Thus, patients should consult with their doctor before choosing vinegar as their main treatment option.
- The proposed mechanism is that acetic acid acts directly on renin activity, which causes a decrease in Angiotensin II, which subsequently reduces blood pressure (R).
- The method through which vinegar improves glycemic levels is not fully known. However, researchers believe the mechanism occurs after translation of sucrase/lactase/maltase enzyme complex (R).
- The acetic acid in vinegar reduces blood sugar content by activating AMPK (R).