Researchers have uncovered a signaling mechanism that occurs within the excess abdominal fat of obese people and is associated with cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Fatty liver disease however, may be more likely the root cause of these metabolic disorders, an earlier study suggests.
Health Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar Supported by Research
While it may be too early to make vinegar a weight loss staple, the evidence is promising. A study published in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry(1) found that vinegar helps prevent the accumulation of body fat.
Lab mice fed a high-fat diet along with acetic acid, gained significantly less body fat (up to 10 percent less) than mice fed a high fat diet without acetic acid. Researchers believe acetic acid turns on genes that produces proteins involved in breaking down fats, which in turn suppresses body fat accumulation.
Lower Blood Sugar
Several small sample studies showed that vinegar lowers glucose levels in the body and increases insulin sensitivity, issues of particular concern for people at risk for or managing, type 2 diabetes. Insulin sensitivity is the body’s ability to handle excess sugar after eating high glycemic index foods, foods that cause sharp spikes and drops in blood sugar. Insulin sensitivity is one measure of someone’s risk for heart disease; the more sensitive someone is, the lower their risk for heart problems.
Results from a study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition(2) found that vinegar lowered glucose and insulin levels in healthy subjects and increased their feeling of being full.
In a study published in Diabetes Care conducted by the Arizona State University’s Department of Nutrition(3), researchers divided 29 subjects into three groups: people diagnosed with type 2 diabetes; prediabetics; and healthy subjects. Each group consumed vinegar before eating a high carbohydrate test meal. Subjects in all three groups showed improved blood glucose levels and increased sensitivity to insulin compared to the control group who did not consume vinegar.
Researchers in the 2009 study, “Preliminary evidence that regular vinegar ingestion favorably influences hemoglobin A1c values in individuals with type 2 diabetes mellitus,(4)” compared the affect of the acetic acid found in vinegar, a dill pickle and a commercial vinegar pill on hemoglobin A1c in people with type 2 diabetes mellitus. Hemoglobin A1c is a measure of how much sugar has been around in the body for the preceding three months, a more accurate measure of sugar levels than the finger stick. Results showed Hemoglobin A1c values dropped with the vinegar but increased with the commercial vinegar pill and the dill pickle.
Reduce Blood Pressure
Gamma-aminobutryic acid (GABA), an inhibitory neurotransmitter involved in creating a state of focused calm, has been shown to also decrease blood pressure.(5,6). In a study conducted in Japan,(7) researchers measured the effect of adding GABA to vinegar on people with mild or moderate hypertension (high blood pressure).
After a pre-treatment period of two weeks, subjects with mild or moderate hypertension drank fermented drinking water with vinegar mixed with a flavoring base of fish flakes (dried bonito), with or without GABA added (in the form of sodium glutamate). Blood pressure rates dropped in both the GABA and the non-GABA groups, suggesting vinegar was the compound that lowered the subjects’ blood pressure.
Apple Cider Vinegar: Form, Dose & Warnings
Dr. Mercola, a physician, health and nutritional expert, suggests in his article, “Apple Cider Vinegar: Healing Wonder or Hype,” that people use apple cider vinegar, and in the form that is murky and brown. “Organic, unfiltered and unprocessed apple cider vinegar has a tiny, cobweb-like substance floating in it, called the “mother,” which indicates good quality,” Dr. Mercola explains. “Since the benefits of the apple cider vinegar are still being studied, there is no clear-cut guide on how to take it.” One or two tablespoons before a meal is generally the reccomended dose.
Dr. Mercola warns that because apple cider vinegar is extremely acidic to dilute it with water or juice. Straight cider ingested over time can harm tooth enamel or the tissues of the mouth and throat. An excess can also lead to low potassium levels and lower bone density.
While more research needs to be done on the health benefits, dosing and long term effects of vinegar, studies suggest the acetic acid in vinegar can lower fat accumulation, reduce blood pressure, hunger and glucose levels and increase insulin sensitivity, issues of importance to pre-diabetics and people with type 2 diabetes.
Photo credit: Andy Roberts Photo
Kondo et al. “Acetic Acid Upregulates the Expression of Genes for Fatty Acid Oxidation Enzymes in Liver To Suppress Body Fat Accumulation.” Journal of Agricral and Food Chemistry, 2009.
E. Östman, E et al, “Vinegar supplementation lowers glucose and insulin responses and increases satiety after a bread meal in healthy subjects,” European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2005.
Johnson, CS, Kim, CM, Buller, AA, “Vinegar improves insulin sensitivity to a high-carbohydrate meal in subjects with insulin resistance or type 2 diabetes,” Diabetes Care, January 2004
Johnston CS, White AM, Kent SM, “Preliminary evidence that regular vinegar ingestion favorably influences hemoglobin A1c values in individuals with type 2 diabetes mellitus,” Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice, May, 2009.
Inoue K, Shirai T, Ochiai H, et al, “Blood-pressure-lowering effect of a novel fermented milk containing gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in mild hypertensives,” European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2003.
Hirata H, Kimura M, Nakagawa S, et al. Hypotensive effect of fermented milk containing gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in subjects with high normal blood pressure,”Journal of the Japanese Society for Food Science and Technology, 2004.
Tanaka H et al, “The Effects of gamma-Aminobutyric Acid, Vinegar, and Dried Bonito on Blood Pressure in Normotensive and Mildly or Moderately Hypertensive Volunteers,”Journal of Clinical Biochemical Nutrition, July 2009.
Mercola, Joseph, DO, “Apple Cider Vinegar: Healing Wonder or Hype,” http://www.drmercola.net/search/label/vinegar, June 12, 2009.
Copyright Laura Owens. Contact the author to obtain permission for republication.