Apple Cider Vinegar Health Benefits: Fact or Fiction?

6 min read

Apple Cider Vinegar Health Benefits: Fact or Fiction?

Posted May 23, 2024 Updated May 23, 2024

In the ongoing and ever-evolving search for healthy ingredients, one remedy has returned to the forefront recently, particularly in prebiotic sodas. That ingredient? Apple cider vinegar, or ACV for short. 

Used for centuries and now the subject of modern scrutiny, apple cider vinegar captivates researchers and wellness enthusiasts alike, demanding further examination. Its purported health benefits range from aiding weight loss to regulating blood sugar levels. But amidst the buzz, questions linger, like are these claims rooted in scientific truth or merely a concoction of wishful thinking and folklore? And is apple cider vinegar actually good for you? Join us as we break down the pros and cons of ACV and discover if its suggested benefits are backed by hard science.

What is Apple Cider Vinegar? 

Apple cider vinegar, abbreviated as ACV, is a fermented liquid made from crushed apples and yeast. Its golden hue and pungent aroma belie its humble origins, which you can trace back to ancient civilizations like the Babylonians and Egyptians. The process of making ACV involves exposing crushed apples to yeast, which converts their sugars into alcohol through fermentation. Then, you introduce acetobacter bacteria to the mix, transforming the alcohol into acetic acid – the primary component responsible for ACV's tangy flavor and healthful properties.

The majority of grocery store ACV is clear, filtered, and pasteurized. But some stores carry raw, unfiltered ACV that has a cloudy sediment that sits at the bottom of the bottle. This is called "the mother," and it’s made of settled bacteria and yeast.

From salad dressings to marinades, ACV's culinary applications are rich and diverse. Its versatility also extends beyond the kitchen, with enthusiasts integrating it into their skincare routines and even household cleaning rituals. Yet, it's the supposed health benefits that have propelled ACV into the wellness limelight, sparking a fervent debate among proponents and skeptics alike.

What Are the Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar?

Proponents of apple cider vinegar tout a myriad of health benefits, ranging from weight loss, enhanced digestion, lowered blood sugar and cholesterol, liver detoxification, and reduced heartburn. But are any of these health benefits backed by data and hard science? Let’s take a closer look and find out…

Weight Loss

One of ACV’s most heralded virtues is its potential to aid in weight management. Some studies suggest that consuming ACV may promote feelings of satiety and reduce calorie intake, thus assisting in weight loss efforts. However, these studies remain inconclusive. Additionally, some say ACV's acetic acid content could enhance metabolism and reduce fat storage, but evidence supporting these claims remains limited.

Lowering Blood Sugar

Some research indicates that consuming ACV before meals may improve insulin sensitivity and lower blood sugar spikes after eating. This is particularly beneficial for those with diabetes or insulin resistance. In addition, its antimicrobial properties have sparked interest in its potential to combat infections and support immune function. However, we need more rigorous studies to substantiate both these claims.

Liver Detoxification

Apple cider vinegar's purported ability to "cleanse" or "detox" the liver is a topic of considerable debate within the wellness community. Proponents claim that ACV's high acetic acid content aids in the breakdown of fats and toxins, thereby supporting liver function and promoting detoxification. However, scientific evidence supporting these claims is sparse. Not only that but the liver's natural detoxification processes are complex and multifaceted, involving enzymes and biochemical pathways. While some animal studies suggest that acetic acid may exert protective effects on the liver, extrapolating these findings to human health requires caution. In addition, excessive consumption of ACV may pose risks to liver health, particularly in those with pre-existing liver conditions. So, while ACV's potential impact on liver health remains an area of ongoing research, you should approach the notion of using it as a standalone "liver cleanse" with skepticism.

Risks of Apple Cider Vinegar

It's important to acknowledge that there are potential risks associated with the consumption of apple cider vinegar, many of which stem from its high acid content. Let’s dive into a few of those:

Dental Health 

ACV's acetic acid concentration, ranging from 4% to 7%, poses a potent acidic profile that may jeopardize oral health. Prolonged or excessive consumption of undiluted ACV can lead to tooth enamel erosion, heightened dental sensitivity, and an increased risk of cavities. Diluting ACV with water or consuming it through a straw can help mitigate these risks, preserving the integrity of your tooth enamel.

Gastrointestinal Risks

Beyond its potential for dental havoc, ACV's acidic nature may incite gastrointestinal distress, particularly if you’re predisposed to conditions like gastritis or acid reflux. While some advocate for its use in alleviating digestive discomfort, others caution against its potential to exacerbate symptoms. ACV's consumption could also trigger heartburn and aggravate acid reflux, counteracting its potential digestive benefits.

Lower Potassium Levels

ACV's impact on electrolyte balance warrants consideration, particularly its potential to lower potassium levels. Potassium is essential for nerve function, muscle contraction, and heart health. Excessive ACV consumption may lead to hypokalemia – a condition characterized by abnormally low potassium levels. Individuals at risk, such as those with kidney disorders or taking potassium-lowering medications, should approach ACV with caution and monitor their potassium levels diligently.

Medication Interactions

The acetic acid content of ACV could also interfere with the absorption and efficacy of certain medications, including diuretics, insulin, and digoxin. If you’re taking prescription medications you should exercise caution and consult healthcare professionals before integrating ACV into your regimen to reduce any potential adverse interactions. Research about whether or not ACV is safe to consume while pregnant is also inconclusive.

Potential Skin Irritations

In addition to its oral, gastrointestinal, and pharmacological risks, ACV's potent acidity may cause skin irritation or burns when applied topically. Dilution is crucial to prevent a negative reaction and ensure skin compatibility, especially if you have sensitive skin or underlying dermatological conditions. 

OLIPOP vs Apple Cider Vinegar

There’s a silver lining here, which is that you don’t necessarily need to drink high-acid apple cider vinegar to support your gut health. OLIPOP provides compounds that support your gut, including prebiotics to “fuel” live probiotics. Unlike ACV, prebiotics have been heavily researched and shown to support gut health, which may, in turn, support many other aspects of your health. 

OLIPOP combines delicious flavors with the benefits of prebiotic fibers to support a healthy digestive system. Prebiotics, such as chicory root extract, Jerusalem artichoke, and cassava root fiber, along with the low sugar content, set OLIPOP apart from other sodas loaded with sugar or high-acid ACV. OLIPOP also tends to provide more fiber vs. other better-for-you sodas. And since most Americans don’t consume enough fiber, having a soda that packs a fiber punch is a welcome addition to many diets. 

Apple Cider Vinegar: The Takeaway

Well, we’ve arrived at the end and what have we learned? Certainly, apple cider vinegar exhibits some exciting potential to be a beneficial ingredient. But not everyone is a candidate for ACV considering its potential side effects. Plus, we need more data before we can confidently say that ACV is a must-have in our diets. 

Instead of leaning on ACV, focusing on ingredients whose benefits have been more clearly substantiated to avoid any possible pitfalls may be a better approach. And what better vessel to enjoy these science-backed healthful ingredients than a delicious can of OLIPOP?  


  1. Benisek, A. (2023, July 7). Apple Cider Vinegar. WebMD. 
  2. Launholt, T. L., Kristiansen, C. B., & Hjorth, P. (2020). Safety and side effects of apple vinegar intake and its effect on metabolic parameters and body weight: a systematic review. European Journal of Nutrition, 59(6), 2273–2289. 
  3. McDonald, E., IV MD. (n.d.). Debunking the health benefits of apple cider vinegar. UChicago Medicine. 
  4. BSc, K. G. (2024, April 1). 6 Health benefits of apple cider vinegar, backed by science. Healthline. 
Cheat Sheet
  • Apple cider vinegar (ACV) has been around for thousands of years. Yet the question remains whether it’s actually good for you.
  • ACV’s high acidity poses numerous potential health risks such as tooth decay, gastrointestinal corrosion, and hypokalemia.
  • Why settle for an apple cider vinegar alternative when you can enjoy delicious OLIPOP that offers healthful results backed by hard science?
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