Top 5 Health Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar

by JJ Virgin on July 19, 2023

First discovered by accident over 10,000 years ago, vinegar gets its name from the French words vin aigre or “sour wine.” (If your lips puckered with the mere thought of tasting vinegar, you know why they called it that.) 

Over the years, vinegar has been used in numerous ways, in cooking, as medicine, as a preservative, and as a drink to boost strength and promote wellness.1 

How Is Apple Cider Vinegar Made? 

Nearly any fruit can be fermented into vinegar, which is a two-step process. First, naturally sweet cider (the juice of crushed fruit) is fermented into an alcoholic beverage, what we call hard cider. Then, that cider is fermented again into vinegar.2   

Apple cider vinegar, a popular type of vinegar, is made by fermenting apples with yeast and bacteria. This process converts the apple’s natural sugars into acetic acid, a byproduct of fermentation that creates its characteristic sharp odor. 

America discovered apple cider vinegar around 1700, and it soon became a popular remedy for pneumonia.3 By the 1800s, Americans began using it as a health tonic.  

What Are the Health Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar? 

That health buzz carries into today, where ACV is positioned as a cure-all for digestion, weight loss, immune health, skin health, and… really, just about everything. As with most things, the truth isn’t quite so hyperbolic. However, apple cider vinegar does have some science to substantiate its benefits.

One caveat: ACV is acidic, which means it can erode tooth enamel and irritate your throat. A tablespoon or two mixed with a glass of water is ideal to take before a meal or otherwise when you want its benefits. Please don’t chug it straight! 

1. Apple Cider Vinegar Supports a Healthy Gut 

Apple cider vinegar contains prebiotics, probiotics, and enzymes that support digestion and a healthy gut. Those probiotics promote a diverse variety of healthy gut bacteria, while prebiotics nourish those beneficial bacteria. The acetic acid in ACV stimulates the production of digestive enzymes in your stomach as well, making it ideal to use before a meal.  

ACV also has antimicrobial properties thanks to its acetic acid, antioxidants, and caffeic acid. These and other antimicrobials selectively target harmful or pathogenic microorganisms to restore a healthy gut environment. 

2. Apple Cider Vinegar Balances Blood Sugar  

When you balance blood sugar, you’re supporting the foundation of your health, reducing the risk of diabetes, inflammation, and disease. Apple cider vinegar can help; studies show that taking it before a higher-carb meal can reduce stomach emptying and prevent blood-sugar spikes.4    

Other research shows that for people with metabolic syndrome (including diabetes and obesity), ACV can improve insulin sensitivity and even reduce the free-radical damage that harms cells.5 Those effects continue overnight, helping maintain stable blood-glucose levels. 

3. Apple Cider Vinegar Makes You a Better Fat Burner  

Losing weight and maintaining a healthy weight require more than taking a swig of ACV. (Optimal protein and lifting heavy are the magic combo for that, especially after age 40!) However, apple cider vinegar can give your weight a favorable nudge when you’re dialing in everything else correctly. 

I mentioned apple cider vinegar helps balance blood-sugar levels, and balanced blood sugar means you burn more fat. It can also suppress appetite, so you feel full faster.6  Animal studies find that its acetic acid can boost metabolism and suppress fat accumulation.7  

Metabolic Reset™ combines a powerful blend of vitamins, minerals, and plant extracts to help promote fat metabolism, lean body mass, and normal appetite.* This awesome formula provides a helpful metabolic boost to promote healthy blood-sugar levels and make you a better fat burner. 

In one study, three groups of rats with similar body weight, body mass index (BMI), and waist circumference received either 15 ml, 30 ml, or 0 ml (placebo) of vinegar for 12 weeks. Researchers found that things like body weight, BMI, and dangerous visceral fat were significantly lower in both vinegar-intake groups compared with the placebo group. They concluded that using vinegar could help reduce obesity and other metabolic problems.8  

4. Apple Cider Vinegar Can Boost Your Immune System 

Beneficial bacteria and enzymes in apple cider vinegar help support and boost your immune function by fighting off harmful bacteria and viruses.  

I mentioned earlier that the antimicrobials in ACV inhibit the growth of bacteria and pathogens. What works for your gut also works for your immune system. About 70-80% of your immune system lives in your gut.9 

Apple cider vinegar also contains antioxidants that neutralize harmful free radicals. These and other benefits give your immune system a helping hand fighting off harmful invaders.   

If a bug is going around your office or home, give your immune system a boost with some warm water and a spoonful of apple cider vinegar. Feeling a sore throat? Mix ACV with warm water and a little honey. (When I say honey, I’m talking about a teaspoon of local, organic, raw honey—not the pasteurized stuff in those cute grocery store bears!)  

5. Apple Cider Vinegar Gives You Glowing Hair and Skin 

For glowing hair and skin, skip the expensive products and add ACV into your beauty routine. Its antibacterial properties fight acne-causing bacteria. Even if you don’t have skin problems, this vinegar can help, thanks to alpha-hydroxy acids.  

Skincare products use these organic compounds for their exfoliating and skin-renewing properties.10 Among the benefits of alpha-hydroxy acids, they: 

  • Help exfoliate by removing dead skin cells, leaving your skin smoother and brighter 
  • Hydrate your skin 
  • Stimulate the production of new skin cells 
  • Improve skin tone 
  • Reduce age spots 
  • Minimize fine lines and wrinkles 
  • Promote collagen production 

To use apple cider vinegar as a facial toner, simply mix it with equal parts water (half water, half apple cider vinegar). Its low pH (a mildly acidic 2-3 on the pH scale) makes it best for oily or acne-prone skin to help balance sebum production. 

You can also use it as a hair rinse to help reduce dandruff and excess oil, remove buildup, purify your scalp’s pores, and support healthy, supple hair.  

Choosing the Right Apple Cider Vinegar 

Other research shows apple cider vinegar can lower blood pressure, improve circulation, and support heart health.11 The key to getting these and other benefits is choosing the right kind.  

Unpasteurized vinegar can contain 50 nutrients, including those that come from the original “starter” material the vinegar is made from (in this case, apples). 

Pasteurization, on the other hand, destroys heat-sensitive vitamins and enzymes. When you're buying ACV, look for words like “unpasteurized,” “unfiltered,” “traditionally brewed,” and/ or “traditionally fermented” on the label.”12   

Another term you’ll see is “the mother.” This refers to a cloudy, stringy substance present in unfiltered, unpasteurized apple cider vinegar. See the sediment settled at the bottom of the bottle or as floating strands in the liquid? That’s the mother, which contains the good stuff like probiotics, enzymes, and proteins produced during fermentation. 

Besides taking it before meals, I like mixing apple cider vinegar with green tea to make the most of its benefits. It also mixes well into salad dressings and marinades—I like to blend it with extra-virgin olive oil, a touch of honey, and Dijon mustard. Whisk it and voila, you’ve got a simple, delicious salad dressing! 

You can even use apple cider vinegar as a non-toxic, budget-minded household cleaner. Mix equal parts ACV and water in a spray bottle. Use this solution to clean countertops, kitchen appliances, bathroom fixtures, and other non-porous surfaces. Simply spray the solution on the surface, let it sit for a few minutes, then wipe it clean with a cloth. 

“Where do I start?” I get that question a lot. That’s why it’s so important to have a roadmap you can trust. A roadmap that breaks down your health journey into small, manageable steps. Download my Ultimate Health Roadmap and take control of your health… one step at a time.  


  1. Harvard University: Vinegar 
  2. Bowden, Jonny. The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth: The Surprising, Unbiased Truth about What You Should Eat and Why (p. 294). Creative Publishing International. Kindle Edition. 
  3. Freedom of Health: The history of apple cider vinegar. 
  4. Siddiqui FJ, Assam PN, de Souza NN, Sultana R, Dalan R, Chan ES. Diabetes Control: Is Vinegar a Promising Candidate to Help Achieve Targets? J Evid Based Integr Med. 2018 Jan-Dec;23:2156587217753004. doi: 10.1177/2156587217753004. PMID: 29756472; PMCID: PMC5954571. 
  5. Gheflati A, Bashiri R, Ghadiri-Anari A, Reza JZ, Kord MT, Nadjarzadeh A. The effect of apple vinegar consumption on glycemic indices, blood pressure, oxidative stress, and homocysteine in patients with type 2 diabetes and dyslipidemia: A randomized controlled clinical trial. Clin Nutr ESPEN. 2019 Oct;33:132-138. doi: 10.1016/j.clnesp.2019.06.006. Epub 2019 Jul 9. PMID: 31451249. 
  6. Hasan F, Hamilton K, Angadi S, Kranz S. The Effects of Vinegar/Acetic Acid Intake on Appetite Measures and Energy Consumption: A Systematic Literature Review. Curr Dev Nutr. 2022 Jun 14;6(Suppl 1):285. doi: 10.1093/cdn/nzac053.026. PMCID: PMC9193460.
  7.  Yamashita H. Biological Function of Acetic Acid-Improvement in Obesity and Glucose Tolerance by Acetic Acid in Type 2 Diabetic Rats. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2016 Jul 29;56 Suppl 1:S171-5. doi: 10.1080/10408398.2015.1045966. PMID: 26176799. 
  8. Kondo T, Kishi M, Fushimi T, Ugajin S, Kaga T. Vinegar intake reduces body weight, body fat mass, and serum triglyceride levels in obese Japanese subjects. Biosci Biotechnol Biochem. 2009 Aug;73(8):1837-43. doi: 10.1271/bbb.90231. Epub 2009 Aug 7. PMID: 19661687. 
  9. Wiertsema SP, van Bergenhenegouwen J, Garssen J, Knippels LMJ. The Interplay between the Gut Microbiome and the Immune System in the Context of Infectious Diseases throughout Life and the Role of Nutrition in Optimizing Treatment Strategies. Nutrients. 2021 Mar 9;13(3):886. doi: 10.3390/nu13030886. PMID: 33803407; PMCID: PMC8001875. 
  10. Vidt DG, Bergfeld WF. Cosmetic use of alpha-hydroxy acids. Cleve Clin J Med. 1997 Jun;64(6):327-9. doi: 10.3949/ccjm.64.6.327. PMID: 9188214. 
  11. Hadi A, Pourmasoumi M, Najafgholizadeh A, Clark CCT, Esmaillzadeh A. The effect of apple cider vinegar on lipid profiles and glycemic parameters: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized clinical trials. BMC Complement Med Ther. 2021 Jun 29;21(1):179. doi: 10.1186/s12906-021-03351-w. PMID: 34187442; PMCID: PMC8243436. 
  12. Bowden, Jonny. The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth: The Surprising, Unbiased Truth about What You Should Eat and Why (p. 294). Creative Publishing International. Kindle Edition. 

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration. Products mentioned are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. The views in this blog by JJ Virgin should never be used as a substitute for professional medical advice. Please work with a healthcare practitioner concerning any medical problem or concern.