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Vinegar (Acetic Acid) Intake on Glucose Metabolism: A Narrative Review

Written By Claire C

Although research is still ongoing, the data provided shows promise in allowing for more freedom to have carbs!  In this article published in the journal Clinical Nutrition, authors reviewed current and ongoing research related to these therapeutic effects of vinegar (also known as acetic acid). 

Published in May 2019 in the journal Clinical Nutrition. The full article is freely available online here: Vinegar (Acetic Acid) Intake on Glucose Metabolism: A Narrative Review

The Bird’s Eye View of Vinegar:

  • Vinegar has been used as a natural remedy for centuries
  • More recently coined as a “superfood” that is believed to play a role in weight loss, digestion, and skin quality
  • In recent years, the prevalence of disorders related to glucose homeostasis (Type 2 diabetes, obesity, and fatty liver disease) has increased dramatically 
    • Current treatments for these disorders have serious side effects
    • Vinegar has been proposed as a non-pharmacological alternative for patients with type 2 diabetes 

Vinegar Action in Animals:

  • Immediate post-exercise intake combined with glucose resulted in higher liver glycogen stores
    • May facilitate liver glycogen restoration during the early stages of recovery
  • Has been associated with a decrease in visceral fat 
  • Acute and chronic vinegar consumption may optimize muscle glycogen restoration and increase fatty acid oxidation

Vinegar Action in Humans:

  • Apple cider vinegar consumption may partially reduce the need for insulin secretion 
  • Found that vinegar supplementation resulted in higher rates of muscle glycogen resynthesis during recovery 

Acute (Short-Term) Impact of Vinegar Intake:

  • Most research supports a role for vinegar as a glucose-lowering nutraceutical 
    • Nutraceutical: food with health-giving additives and medicinal benefits
  • The majority of this research is based on tests following carbohydrate-rich meals
  • Typically, the studied dose of vinegar is arround 20 grams or 4 tablespoons

Chronic Impact of Vinegar Interventions:

  • Has been shown to improve glycemic and lipid profiles in those with type 2 diabetes 
    • These results have yet to be replicated in subjects without diabetes
  • Other studies have shown a reduction of triglycerides and visceral fat in patients that ingested vinegar 
  • Research has also shown promising results in the use of vinegar for the treatment of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
    • Decreased markers of insulin resistance
    • Reduction of LH/FSH ratio
    • Restoration of ovulatory menstruation
    • Research on these particular benefits is still ongoing 

Side Effects of Therapeutic Vinegar Use:

  • Higher urinary excretion of potassium, sodium, and bicarbonate
  • May increase risk of ulcerative injury 
  • The authors noted that most side effects noted in current research are related to excessive consumption (around 250mL/day and/or confounding factors)

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