Apple cider vinegar has been shown to help with blood glucose control, particularly with postprandial (after a meal) blood glucose. Apple cider vinegar slows the rate of stomach emptying (gastric emptying), allowing food to stay in the stomach longer and leaving you feeling fuller for longer.
Glucose control in the body has a lot to do with weight loss and a lot to do with overall health. Extremely poor glucose control can lead to diabetes type 2. The type of diabetes where your cells have become completely unresponsive to insulin.
Insulin is a hormone that is released to control glucose and clear the bloodstream of all glucose that was consumed through food. It is important that our body clears glucose from the bloodstream because glucose is acidic. When our bloodstream acidifies, everything dies and this could be lethal. This is why diabetes is a big problem, as it is a disease where the body cannot clear blood glucose.
Over the years our food sources have become more concentrated with sugars and are higher in glycemic index as a result. This means that they will spike (release more) insulin higher than a lower glycemic option. It is the spiking of insulin that is the root of the problem. Insulin like any other hormone, will go through a process of degradation when it is bombarded with more hormone than normal. This process of degradation is simply just how the body responds to overload. Hormone receptors weaken and respond less to the same amount of hormone. This means that more hormone is required to be released to accomplish the same task. The problem with insulin is its fat storage properties, so more insulin release means more fat storage.
When referring to how well the cells respond to insulin it is referred to as ‘insulin sensitivity’. Oppositely As your insulin receptors degrade, it is referred to as ‘insulin resistance’. Once you get to a point of complete degradation where your insulin receptors are no longer responsive at all, we refer to this as type 2 diabetes.
The reality is that the majority of North America are so insulin resistant that they are borderline diabetics. So, it is important to keep your insulin and carbohydrate intake in check for preventative measures, as well as better control over dietary carbohydrates.
Insulin is primarily a storage hormone, it is released when we eat carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are broken down into glucose and rises our blood glucose levels. Insulin is then triggered to clear our blood glucose, it does this by storing the glucose. Starting at the liver with an approximate total capacity of about 500g. It then stores glucose in the muscles with an approximate total capacity of 1500g. Once storage sites are full the rest is stored in fat cells for later use as energy when needed. It is typically the last part of your meal that is being stored as fat, portion sizing is a good practice for this reason.
Since insulin as a hormone acts to store nutrients and potentially fat, we want to control and reduce the amount of insulin we release. One way of accomplishing this is by choosing low glycemic foods. The other way is to increase insulin sensitivity, to regain control of proper insulin release and reception. When you are very insulin resistant, you release more insulin and as a result are more likely to store fat with the same amount of food.
Insulin is also a hormone that has been linked to regional fat storage patterns. Insulin has been shown to hold onto fat in the obliques (‘love handles’) area of the body. This is important because many people struggle with ‘trouble areas’, and these types of studies help us to understand why. We know that spot reduction is not a possible, however if you are already losing weight but struggle in certain areas, it could be due to imbalanced hormones.
Apple cider vinegar may be helpful with digestion in a few specific but non-direct ways. Apple cider vinegar by itself has not been proven with strong scientific evidence to be beneficial to digestion directly. However, it is acidic and contains acetic acid which can help raise the pH(acidity) of the stomach. Stomach acid levels should be a pH of 1-2, but can rise to 2-4 from common things like inflammation, stress and medication. So, this helps digestions in the event of low stomach pH. Less acidic stomach environments have trouble breaking down food and can show as acid reflux, burping or gas.
It has also been found that apple cider vinegar has aided in increasing the production of some digestive enzymes. Intestinal enzymes protease, α-amylase, lipase was shown to increase as a result of apple cider vinegar. Acetic acid has also been shown to help certain minerals absorb such as calcium and iron. The acetic acid also helps to kill bad bacteria and helps good bacteria grow for digestion.
Apple cider vinegar has been shown to help with yeast infections in women. Yeast infections(Candidiasis) is caused by a fungus called ‘candida albicans’. Yeast infections are very common in females, but also very treatable. Apple cider vinegar has been shown to help kill this fungus as an antimicrobial. So regular use of apple cider vinegar can help protect you from yeast infections.