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January 2022

Why is Apple Cider Vinegar So Popular?

Apple cider vinegar (ACV) supplement sales skyrocketed in 2020. It hit #5 on the list of top selling herbal supplement ingredients in the mainstream market. It’s found in a growing number of products, including capsules and gummies. And some people just drink it straight. So why are people taking it?

The list of reasons seems to be growing, but immune health has been a big one over the past year. Products like Apple Cider Vinegar Gummies by Goli Nutrition are promoted for supporting healthy immune function and overall good health. Marketing materials, which are increasingly pushed by social media influencers, often highlight that ACV contains acetic acid and nutrients such as B vitamins and vitamin C. But there’s no evidence that taking ACV, either in a dietary supplement like these gummies or drinking it in the same form used for cooking, helps boost the immune system. There’s also no evidence that it helps prevent or treat COVID-19, like many people initially suggested.

Buzz around using ACV for other purposes is also increasing. A recent study in healthy adults linked daily vinegar consumption to reduced depression symptoms and improved mood. Vinegar was diluted in water and consumed daily with food for four weeks. While this study is getting some media attention, it’s too small to make any conclusions about whether it actually helps. There’s similar interest in using ACV to improve blood sugar levels. But most early research actually suggests that it doesn’t improve blood sugar control in people with diabetes. For now, tell patients to skip it.

Overall, much of the hype around ACV isn’t warranted.  While it’s likely safe when consumed in normal food amounts, consuming high quantities, long-term isn’t a good idea. Doing so can lead to problems such as low potassium levels. Also, keep in mind that in the US there are no set standards for what a product must contain to be called “apple cider vinegar.” Sometimes it’s standardized to acidity, but the amount of each component of ACV, particularly acetic acid, varies from product to product.

The information in this brief report is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions. Copyright © 2022 Natural Medicines Inc. Commercial distribution or reproduction prohibited. Natural Medicines is the leading provider of high-quality, evidence-based, clinically-relevant information on natural medicine, dietary supplements, herbs, vitamins, minerals, functional foods, diets, complementary practices, CAM modalities, exercises and medical conditions. Monograph sections include interactions with herbs, drugs, foods and labs, contraindications, depletions, dosing, toxicology, adverse effects, pregnancy and lactation data, synonyms, safety and effectiveness.