Health hacks and claims pop up all the time, but whether or not they are true is often a completely different story. When it comes to Apple Cider Vinegar or ACV, you might have heard all kinds of miracle stories online.
From being a weight-loss aid to helping with acne-prone skin, making your hair softer, or bringing your insulin response down, ACV is said to do it all.
Some of those claims might be a bit far-fetched, but in today’s article, you will learn the science behind ACV and how it might actually help you to get your insulin under control.
What is apple cider vinegar?
Apple Cider Vinegar is a vinegar that is made with apples, yeast, and sugar. It is made through a process called fermentation, which means that the yeast ‘eats’ the sugar in the apple juice and transforms it into alcohol. As natural bacteria start to break down the alcohol into acetic acid, the vinegar gets its prominent taste and smell.
Usually, this type of vinegar is used for making salads or in certain recipes, but in recent years, research has shown that consuming ACV diluted in either hot or cold water can offer some real health benefits.
From aiding with fat loss to lowering blood sugar levels, apple cider vinegar has been studied for its healthful properties.
However – if you don’t currently suffer from a disease like diabetes, why should you even care about insulin or your blood sugar?
Why it is important to have your insulin under control
Even though you may not currently have any issues with your blood sugar, it is still important to care and get your insulin under control. If you don’t control your insulin, you are at a much higher risk of facing various issues, including:
It’s no secret that insulin is crucial in regulating blood sugar levels, but what many people may not realize is that it also plays a role in fat storage. When the body becomes resistant to insulin, it can lead to excess fat accumulation, obesity, and a host of health problems. In obese individuals, the hormone becomes even less effective in controlling glucose levels. This can lead to high blood sugar and the development of type 2 diabetes. It’s a frustrating and scary cycle, which can be avoided with lifestyle changes.
High glucose levels in your blood, also known as hyperglycemia, can cause damage to your kidneys by affecting the blood vessels around your kidneys, your nervous system and your urinary tract. Over time, high blood sugar can seriously damage your kidneys and lead to kidney disease.
High blood sugar can cause strokes by damaging blood vessels in your body. Because of the high blood sugar, certain cells called macrophages, which are in charge of digesting the sugar in your blood, overeat and die. Over time, they calcify and create narrow passages in your blood vessels, which can then lead to a stroke. On a different note, the high concentration of sugar in your blood can also weaken blood vessels, which makes them more prone to bursting or rupturing. In turn, this can cause bleeding in the brain, which can lead to a stroke.
Similar to a stroke, the narrow passages in your blood vessels can increase your blood pressure and lead to heart disease or a heart attack further down the line.
Due to a condition called diabetic retinopathy, high blood sugar levels can cause vision loss over time. This issue is caused by affecting the blood vessels in the retina. Your retina is the tissue at the back of your eye that helps you to see. When these blood vessels are damaged, they can leak or become blocked, which can lead to blurred vision, dark spots, or in extreme cases even total vision loss.
6Weakened immune system
Are you sick of getting sick a lot? When your blood sugar is too high, your immune system will be weakened due to a few different factors. For one, your white blood cells, which are the cells in charge of fighting infections, will be impaired and can’t work efficiently. Since high sugar levels favour the environment for bacteria and other pathogens, you will also be at an increased risk of infections. This level of blood sugar will also cause inflammation in your body, which further impairs your immune system by reducing your body’s ability to fight off infections.
If your levels of blood sugar are too high, you may also experience nerve damage. It’s not fully understood yet how this happens, but it is most likely due to a number of factors, such as reduced blood flow, increased oxidative stress (which is the buildup of free radicals), and inflammation in the body. When you experience nerve damage, you might have symptoms such as tingling, numbness, and pain in your hands and feet.
8Slow wound healing
Due to a number of processes such as reduced blood flow, impaired immune function, increased risk of infection, and impaired cell function, your body will also have difficulties with wound healing if your insulin is not under control.
How does apple cider vinegar affect insulin?
Now: you might be wondering how this fermented fruit vinegar could possibly help you to reduce your risk of experiencing all of these unfavourable symptoms. In multiple studies, scientists have tried to discover the link between apple cider vinegar and insulin and have found that not only does ACV reduce fasting blood glucose, but it also improves insulin sensitivity and glucose absorption in the skeletal muscles! This same study also found that the consumption of ACV promotes antiobesity effects and reduces oxidative stress, which are all things that help your blood sugar levels.
There were other studies that not only tested in animals but also in humans, both healthy individuals and individuals with diabetes type 2. This study found that apple cider vinegar reduces hyperglycemia and hyperinsulinemia.
How does that work?
Well, apple cider vinegar slows down the digestion of carbohydrates, which essentially reduces the rate at which glucose is absorbed into your bloodstream. Due to this slowdown, the blood sugar spike after a meal is reduced. Additionally, ACV can trigger the release of insulin from your pancreas, which will, in turn, help lower your blood sugar levels.
Doctor Jason Fung talks about this effect in his Youtube video and explains that studies have shown the more vinegar you consume with a carbohydrate like bread, the less sugar your body absorbs. This is probably due to the fact that a part of the carbs goes undigested, meaning that the simple sugars don’t go into the bloodstream.
Acids help to block the digestion of starch which was proven using the salivary amylase hypothesis. According to that hypothesis, starch doesn’t get digested using the pancreatic fluids, but 60-80% of the starch actually gets digested using the amylase in your saliva. When scientists added acid to the equation, they noticed that less than half of the starch was released, since the acid (in this case lemon juice) had blocked the salivary alpha-amylase and therefore slowed down the digestion of these carbohydrates. This in turn means that the starch can’t be absorbed as quickly and leads to a slower rise in blood glucose.
How to implement apple cider vinegar
If you have gotten curious about apple cider vinegar, you might want to start implementing it. Here are some steps that you can take to make ACV a part of your everyday routine:
Get the right vinegar
It may sound like a joke, but the key to reaping all the benefits from apple cider vinegar is to actually buy the right kind. You see, there are many apple cider vinegars out there that are mixed with other ingredients that you don’t need. Opt for an organic apple cider vinegar, preferably “with the mother” (it will say so on the bottle). Apple cider vinegar is made by fermenting apples (which creates alcohol) and then further having acetic acid bacteria transform the alcohol into vinegar. Acetic acid helps to inhibit insulin and is the key component of ACV and why it is so healthy for you. Buying ACV that is organic, unfiltered, and raw will ensure that you get more microbes, which essentially gives you the additional benefit of aiding your digestion!
Use it while cooking
You can use your apple cider vinegar while you cook, for making salads, soups, sauces or stews. This is probably the easiest way to implement it without making a huge change to your lifestyle.
Drink it before your meals
You can also dilute 1-2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar in a glass of water and drink that before meals in order to reap all the benefits of it for insulin control. Make sure to always dilute your apple cider vinegar, since it is very acidic and strong, and without diluting it, it can cause irritation or damage to your throat, teeth, or stomach.
Fun & curious facts
Apple Cider Vinegar has been used for thousands of years for its health benefits. Even Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, used it already.
Some people use ACV as a natural cleaning product in order to remove stains or disinfect certain surfaces.
ACV can be used to preserve food, rinse your hair, or even treat insect bites!
Some people use (diluted) ACV as a natural toner as part of their skincare routine.
Let’s sum it up
Apple Cider Vinegar can be a great tool for managing your insulin in a natural way. Of course, it is always important to consult with your doctor if you are facing serious problems with your blood sugar levels, but ACV can be a great preventative medicine and can even help to manage symptoms. Although this vinegar might not be the miracle cure it is sometimes made out to be, studies have proven that ACV truly does help with controlling insulin and managing blood sugar spikes, so it may be a great thing to implement into your daily routine!
Hungry for knowledge? Here is more
If you want to find out more about this topic, we recommend you read the book ‘The Obesity Code’ by Doctor Jason Fung. He is a specialist physician, nephrologist, and New York Times best-selling author of ‘The Complete Guide to Fasting’, ‘The Diabetes Code’ and ‘The Cancer Code’. Dr. Fung has experience treating thousands of patients for decades and shares his insights on weight loss, diets, nutrition, type 2 diabetes reversal, and intermittent fasting.
Watch this video from Dr. Eric Berg in which he explains the benefits of taking ACV for diabetes. Dr. Berg is a best-selling author who specializes in Healthy Ketosis & Intermittent Fasting. He has a very popular YouTube channel in which he educates his viewers on correct nutrition and a healthy lifestyle.
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