Touted Health Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar (And what The Research Says)

Flavorful and affordable, apple cider vinegar is found in virtually every supermarket nationwide for good reason: It adds a subtle and delicious tartness to salad dressings, marinades, and sauces. But is apple cider vinegar (ACV) also a natural elixir, with good-for-you benefits, as many alternative medicine aficionados and articles on the internet claim?

Maybe. Although the number of studies in humans is small and more research is needed, some experts have noted that it has benefits.

“Apple cider vinegar is a great product to use for many health and skin benefits,” says Michael Shapiro, MD, medical director of Vanguard Dermatology and a clinical instructor at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City.

Here’s how this versatile remedy might help your health. As always, for any medical condition it is best to consult a health professional for proper diagnosis and management guidance.

Apple Cider Vinegar May Help Clear Up Your Skin

“The acidity in vinegar can help clear skin and stop acne by drying out the blemishes and allowing for clear skin to take its place,” explains Dr. Shapiro. “Apple cider vinegar can also help regulate the pH levels in your skin, which keeps it at optimum levels between being oily and dry.”

The right PH helps ensure that the outer layer of your skin, the acid mantle, is healthy.

Apple Cider Vinegar May Boost Weight Loss

According to Harvard Health, ACV’s acetic acid has been shown to reduce the absorption of starches and slow digestion. But does this means that ACV could help with weight loss?

Another small study in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that the acetic acid in vinegar helped people who ate plain white bread at breakfast stay fuller longer than a control group.

Apple Cider Vinegar Could Chase Away Bad Breath

Because apple cider vinegar is acidic and contains minerals, it works as a natural bacteria-fighting agent that targets bad breath, says Marc Lowenberg, DDS, a cosmetic dentist and cofounder of Lowenberg, Lituchy & Kantor in New York City. “Mix a half tablespoon of apple cider vinegar with a tablespoon of baking soda to make a paste to brush on your teeth,” he says. The mixture is weak enough to remove bacteria while keeping tooth enamel intact, he says. “As a bonus, it can also help remove surface stains,” Lowenberg adds.

Apple Cider Vinegar May Soothe Psoriasis Symptoms

If you’re plagued with psoriasis-related scaly patches, ACV may help relieve the irritating itching. “I recommend psoriasis sufferers use apple cider vinegar as a toner and apply it directly to dry spots on the skin, using a cotton pad or sponge," Shapiro says. If your hands or feet are a concern, he recommends soaking them in a bowl of diluted apple cider vinegar.

Apple Cider Vinegar May Help Zap Toe Fungus

Although there are no clinical studies to support its effectiveness, apple cider vinegar has long been a popular home remedy for treating onychomycosis, aka toe fungus, a common condition that discolors and thickens the toenail. “Apple cider vinegar can be a natural and effective treatment for toe fungus,” Shapiro says. He advises treating toenail fungus at home with an apple cider vinegar footbath. “Since apple cider vinegar is acidic, it works to create an unfriendly environment for the fungus without being so strong as to damage the surrounding area of skin and nails,” he explains. To do, soak the affected toe in a 50: 50 mix of ACV and warm water for 15 to 30 minutes, twice daily. Finish by drying the area thoroughly.

Apple Cider Vinegar May Get Rid of Dandruff

“Apple cider vinegar has been found to be especially helpful when it comes to treating dandruff and an itching scalp, while also stimulating hair follicles for healthy hair growth,” Shapiro says. “It contains alpha hydroxyl acids that work to exfoliate the top layers of the skin to expose the smoother, softer skin below.” Simply saturate your scalp with a mixture of one to four parts water and one part vinegar several times a week. Leave on for 10 minutes, then rinse thoroughly.

Apple Cider Vinegar May Ease the Stinging Pain of Shingles

Unfortunately, there is no cure for shingles, a painful rash triggered by the same virus that causes chickenpox. However, it is possible to use ACV to reduce the pain. “Using apple cider vinegar externally helps promote blood circulation in the skin and can prevent bacteria and regulate pH levels,” Shapiro says. Both of these actions make apple cider vinegar a good remedy for shingles and other conditions that cause skin irritation, such as insect bites and hives. To do, pour 1 cup of apple cider vinegar into a tub of cool bathwater and soak for 10 minutes a day.

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