March 2024

The Latest on Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar (ACV) product sales have been booming for the past several years. Recently, there’s been interest in using ACV to improve blood sugar levels and for dental health – you might get some questions about this. What should you tell patients?

When it comes to diabetes, the evidence is conflicting. Two meta-analyses of mainly lower-quality clinical trials in patients with and without type 2 diabetes show that taking ACV daily for up to 12 weeks reduces blood sugar levels by about 8-21 mg/dL and HbA1c by 0.5% to 0.9% compared with control. But subgroup analyses limited to patients with type 2 diabetes show conflicting results – it’s not clear if ACV affects blood sugar or HbA1c in these patients. It’s worth noting that these findings are limited due to variations in dosing, population, and duration of treatment. For now, continue advising patients to skip ACV for diabetes – there’s no strong clinical evidence supporting this use.

We also have some updates on using ACV for dental health. This topic has been circulating online for a while, with a lot of claims that ACV can remove dental plaque and whiten teeth. One small clinical study in children shows that applying ACV to the teeth for 6 months reduces dental plaque buildup and gingivitis scores. But this study was of poor quality and lacked blinding. Tell patients there’s no strong evidence supporting this use. Also advise them that ACV is acidic – regular use might actually do more harm to the teeth than good.

We’ll keep you updated as we learn more. Check out our recently updated monograph for details on safety and interactions.

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 © 2024 NatMed. Commercial distribution or reproduction prohibited. NatMed 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.