Apple cider vinegar (ACV) is an apple juice fermented product. It contains an acid known as acetic acid, which gives the liquid its sour taste and smell. People are using it to treat several conditions, such as obesity, high blood sugar and more. The acetic acid in apple cider vinegar may have some beneficial health effects, but drinking too much of it can cause some serious side effects. What will happen if you drink too much apple cider vinegar? First thing first, apple cider vinegar is high in acid, which can damage your esophagus and erode your tooth enamel. Drinking apple cider vinegar in small quantity diluted in water is healthy but it can be harmful or even dangerous if you take too much of it. In this article, we list potential side effects of drinking too much apple cider vinegar.
Bone Loss and Low Potassium Levels
People with low potassium levels (hypokalemia) should avoid apple cider vinegar, as it may make the condition worse. There is no study on the effects of apple cider vinegar on potassium and bone health. However, there is one case report of low blood potassium and bone loss because of drinking too much apple cider vinegar. A 28-year-old woman consumed apple cider vinegar daily for six years 8 oz (250 ml) diluted in water. They admitted her to the hospital with low concentrations of potassium and other blood chemistry defects. (1)
The woman had osteoporosis, a condition of brittle bones rarely seen in young people. Doctors who treated the woman believe that drinking too much apple cider vinegar caused her bones to leach minerals. They also observed that elevated levels of acid can decrease fresh bone formation. Here, the amount of apple cider vinegar was much more than most people would consume on a single day. Plus, for 6 years, she did this every day.
In one case report, low blood potassium was noticed because of drinking too much apple cider vinegar. A 28-year-old woman had osteoporosis, a disorder characterised by fragile bones that is uncommon in young people.
Can Damage the Tooth Enamel
Acidic foods and drinks can damage tooth enamel. Soft drinks and fruit juices have been researched more extensively, but some study shows that the acetic acid in vinegar can also harm tooth enamel. Apple cider vinegar has a pH around 3, which is very acidic. For tooth enamel to dissolve, the environment within the mouth just has to be at pH 5.5. However, exposing your teeth to an acidic substance with a pH level of 3 daily is harmful to your teeth. There is some evidence that drinking too much apple cider vinegar can cause dental decay. A case study shows that one cup (237 ml) of undiluted apple cider vinegar as a remedy caused serious dental decay of a 15-year-old girl. (2, 3, 4)
Apple cider vinegar contains acetic acid, which can damage tooth enamel. Drinking too much vinegar might lead to tooth decay. Apple cider vinegar has a pH of roughly 3, making it extremely acidic.
Apple cider may induce stomach discomfort or digestive difficulties because of its high acidity. However, unless a person consumes a substantial amount of the undiluted apple cider vinegar, this is unlikely to occur. Although research on apple cider vinegar on stomach discomfort is limited, but some people have reported negative side effects. A study shows that sometimes it can cause indigestion which can lead to less appetite. People who drank 25 grams (0.88 oz) of ACV reported less appetite but also considerably more nausea, particularly when the apple cider vinegar was mixed with other unpleasant drinks. (5, 6, 7)
Because of its strong acidity, apple cider vinegar may cause digestive problems. People who consumed 25 grams (0.88 oz) of apple cider vinegar reported less appetite but increased nausea, especially when the apple cider vinegar was combined with an unpleasant drink.
Impair Gastric Emptying
Apple cider vinegar can slow down the process food by decreasing the amount of food leaving the stomach. This effect might be good for reducing blood sugar spikes, but it may increase the risk of diabetic gastroparesis, a rare disease in individuals with type 1 diabetes. The manifestation of diabetic gastroparesis is that the nerves in the stomach do not function properly, so food stays for too long in the stomach. Gastroparesis symptoms include heartburn, bloating, and nausea. In one controlled study, they examined ten patients with type 1 diabetes and gastroparesis. They gave 2 tablespoons (30 ml) of apple cider vinegar diluted in water to the patients and found that the timing of food remained in the stomach increased compare to drinking plain water. (8, 9, 10)
Apple cider vinegar can slow down the digestion process. This may increase the risk of diabetic gastroparesis in people with type 1 diabetes.
Other Downsides of Apple Cider Vinegar
- A few medicines may interact with ACV: People who take insulin or other diuretic medicines may experience dangerously low levels of blood sugar or potassium levels.
- Can burn the throat: Drinking too much apple cider vinegar can cause burns of the esophageal (throat). keep it out of the reach of children. (11)
- Can burn the skin: Apple cider vinegar can burn the skin because of its strong acidic nature. (12)
How to drink apple cider vinegar safely?
Start with one tablespoon diluted in a glass of water and progressively move to a maximum of two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar per day. To keep your teeth safe from acetic acid, always use a straw and rinse your mouth with water. To reap the health benefits of apple cider vinegar, use it in moderate quantities for a few months. You can also use apple cider vinegar in cooking, salad dressings, marinades, vinaigrettes, and chutneys. Apple cider vinegar allergies are rare, but if you experience an allergic reaction, stop taking it immediately and consult with your doctor.
What is the best time to drink it?
You can take apple cider vinegar on an empty stomach 40 minutes before a meal. This will help in reducing appetite. Consumption of apple cider vinegar with meals helps delay the digestion of carbohydrates and provides satiety.
To minimize side effects and stay safe, it is always a good idea to monitor the quantity of apple cider vinegar you consume. Also, be cautious about how you take it. Drinking it in small amount diluted in water can provide several health benefits, but drinking too much apple cider vinegar is not a good idea and may even be dangerous to your health.
- Hypokalemia, Hyperreninemia and Osteoporosis in a Patient Ingesting Large Amounts of Cider Vinegar. Nephron 1998.
- Erosion–chemical and biological factors of importance to the dental practitioner. Int Dent J. 2005.
- In vitro study on dental erosion caused by different vinegar varieties using an electron microprobe. Clin Lab. 2014.
- Erosie door appelazijn [Unhealthy weight loss. Erosion by apple cider vinegar. Ned Tijdschr Tandheelkd. 2012.
- The short-chain fatty acid acetate reduces appetite via a central homeostatic mechanism. Nat Commun. 2014.
- Vinegar as a functional ingredient to improve postprandial glycemic control-human intervention findings and molecular mechanisms. Mol Nutr Food Res. 2016.
- Influence of the tolerability of vinegar as an oral source of short-chain fatty acids on appetite control and food intake. Int J Obes (Lond). 2014.
- Delayed gastric emptying rate may explain improved glycaemia in healthy subjects to a starchy meal with added vinegar. Eur J Clin Nutr. 1998.
- Effect of apple cider vinegar on delayed gastric emptying in patients with type 1 diabetes mellitus: a pilot study. BMC Gastroenterol. 2007.
- Consequences of caustic ingestions in children. Acta Paediatr. 1994.
- Esophageal injury by apple cider vinegar tablets and subsequent evaluation of products. J Am Diet Assoc. 2005.
- Chemical Burn from Vinegar Following an Internet-based Protocol for Self-removal of Nevi. J Clin Aesthet Dermatol. 2015.