Apple Cider Vinegar
Liquid, Tablets Or Powders

What type of apple cider vinegar product is best? We cut through the hype to help you make the right choice!

Apple cider vinegar has been known for its health benefits since the beginning of human civilization.

For example, according to Dr. Carol Johnston of the University of Arizona, vinegar was traditionally used for the following purposes:

Hippocrates (420 BC) used vinegar medicinally to manage wounds. Cleopatra (50 BC) dissolved precious pearls in vinegar and offered her love potion to Anthony. Sung Tse, the 10th century creator of forensic medicine, advocated hand washing with sulfur and vinegar to avoid infection during autopsies.

According to US medical practitioners dating to the late 18th century, many ailments, from dropsy to poison ivy, croup, and stomachache, were treated with vinegar. Vinegar “teas” were commonly consumed by diabetics to help manage their chronic aliment.

Today, there are many varieties of vinegar tonics and beverages on the market, as well as a plethora of pills and powders. Are there any differences between these supplements? Which type of supplement is the best?

Chemical Composition

To answer this question, we must first consider what apple cider vinegar is made of, and what gives it its beneficial properties.

During the making process, yeasts ferment the apples sugars to alcohol. Next, acetic acid bacteria (Acetobacter) convert the alcohol to acetic acid.

Here is how Dr. Carol Johnston of University of Arizona explains it:

Acetic acid, the volatile organic acid that identifies the product as vinegar, is responsible for the tart flavor and pungent, biting odor of vinegars. However, acetic acid should not be considered synonymous with vinegar.

Other constituents of vinegar include vitamins, mineral salts, amino acids, polyphenolic compounds (eg, galic acid, catechin, caffeic acid, ferulic acid), and nonvolatile organic acids (eg, tartaric, citric, malic, lactic).

In the United States, vinegar products must contain a minimum of 4% acidity.

European countries have regional standards for vinegar produced or sold in the area. White distilled vinegars are generally 4% to 7% acetic acid whereas cider and wine vinegars are 5% to 6% acetic acid.

Why So Beneficial?

Apple cider vinegar is antiseptic and anti-fungal because of its acidic nature. Traditionally, it has been used to treat everything from arthritis to weight loss, and it is a popular method of detoxing. Studies have shown that it may help reduce cholesterol and help diabetics regulate their blood sugar.

However, nobody is 100% sure why it has these effects.

Some people say it contains essential nutrients from the apples, others say it contains enzymes produced by the acetobacter.

So, until we know exactly what makes it so beneficial, it is a good idea to choose the supplement with the least amount of processing.

Also, look for organic supplements to avoid pesticides and other harmful chemicals.

Vinegar Benefits Claims - Supported by Evidence, May Be and Unsubstantiated

Liquid Vinegar

Commercial vinegar is produced by either fast or slow fermentation processes.

For the quick methods, the liquid is oxygenated by agitation and the bacteria culture is submerged permitting rapid fermentation.

During the slow method, the culture of acetic acid bacteria grows on the surface of the liquid and fermentation proceeds slowly. The longer fermentation period allows for the accumulation of enzymes and acetic bacteria, known as the mother of vinegar.

The least processed type is simply liquid vinegar with "the mother". Some people believe that "the mother" is one of the sources of its beneficial properties. It certainly will not hurt you, so it makes sense to choose a supplement that includes it.

Most liquid vinegar sold in stores has been pasteurized and does not contain this sediment.

Pills and Tablets

Some people dislike the taste of vinegar.

The main benefit to pills and tablets is that you never have to taste it - you simply swallow the pill and it dissolves in your stomach. However, as with all supplements, it is important to choose a reliable brand.

A 2005 study conducted by the University of Arkansas found that many diet pills may not be made from apple cider vinegar at all. To quote Dr.Hill:

Apple cider vinegar products are advertised in the popular press and over the Internet for treatment of a variety of conditions.

After an adverse event was reported to the authors, eight apple cider vinegar tablet products were tested for pH, component acid content, and microbial growth. Considerable variability was found between the brands in tablet size, pH, component acid content, and label claims. Doubt remains as to whether apple cider vinegar was in fact an ingredient in the evaluated products.

The inconsistency and inaccuracy in labeling, recommended dosages, and unsubstantiated health claims make it easy to question the quality of the products.

When choosing an product, you should also be aware of the potential side effects. Vinegar is acidic, and strong concentrations can irritate your stomach or even burn your skin. In one instance, a consumer suffered damage to her esophagus after getting an pill stuck in her throat. This is rare, but if you choose a pill, you should make sure to take it with plenty of water.

Also, there have not been any studies done that show how drying the vinegar to make it into pills, tablets and powders affects the mother.


What about powdered vinegar?

Like liquid vinegar, powder is easy to dilute to a safe strength, and you do not have to worry about pills getting stuck in your throat. However, it is more processed and may not give you all of the same benefits as liquid vinegar.

Bragg Vinegar

When it comes to liquid vinegar, Bragg is one of the oldest and most respected manufacturers. Bragg is organic, and it comes with the "mother," so you are getting the full benefits of using this product.

Bragg Apple Cider Vinegar - An Unbiased Review

Apitherapy Herbal Tonic

However, if you would prefer a tonic that comes pre-sweetened and has the benefits of additional herbs, Apitherapy makes some wonderful products that combine raw honey, organic apple cider vinegar and medicinal herbs.

For example, this product contains raw honey, apple cider vinegar, burdock to prevent indigestion, blueberries to provide antioxidants, milk thistle to strengthen the liver, Siberian ginseng for an extra energy boost, and iron-rich nettle.

Nature's Life Tablets

If you just can not stand the taste of vinegar, a pill or a tablet might be a better choice. As with any dietary supplement, you should only buy from a reputable manufacturer.

Nature's Life offers apple cider vinegar tablets that have been standardized to provide 35% acetic acid. Since the product is standardized, you know how much acetic acid is in each pill. Also, Nature's Life guarantees that its supplements only contain ingredients listed on the label, with no extra "surprises".

Nature's Life's manufacturing facilities and practices have been certified "Excellent" by the National Nutritional Foods Association's (NNFA) Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs) Program.

Whatever product you choose, make sure to follow the directions on the label to get the maximum benefit from this powerful supplement.

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Carol S. Johnston, PhD, RD and Cindy A. Gaas, BS (2006). Vinegar: Medicinal Uses and Antiglycemic Effect. MedGenMed. 2006; 8(2): 61. Published online 2006 May 30.

Hill LL, Woodruff LH, Foote JC, Barreto-Alcoba M.(July 2005). Esophageal injury by apple cider vinegar tablets and subsequent evaluation of products Am Diet Assoc. 2005 Jul;105(7):1141-4.

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