Apple cider vinegar has long been touted as a natural remedy for everything from weight loss to digestion issues to acne. But one of the more recent claims is that it can help detox your body. With so many health benefits associated with this natural elixir, it’s easy to see why people are curious about using apple cider vinegar to detox. But does it really work?
In this post, we’ll take a closer look at what apple cider vinegar is, its health benefits, and whether or not it can help you detox.
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What is apple cider vinegar?
Apple cider vinegar is made from fermented apples and is high in acetic acid. This amber-hued liquid is crafted through a fermentation process, where crushed apples are exposed to yeast and bacteria, transforming the sugars into alcohol. Subsequent acetic acid-forming bacteria then convert the alcohol into acetic acid, the star component of ACV.
Its use dates back centuries, with purported benefits ranging from weight loss to improved digestion.
Related: 7 Foods for A Healthy Gut
6 Science-Backed Apple Cider Vinegar Benefits
While the anecdotal wisdom surrounding ACV is abundant, scientific studies lend credence to several established benefits:
- Blood Sugar Regulation: Some studies suggest that ACV may help improve insulin sensitivity, supporting better blood sugar control (1). This may be helpful if you have PCOS, or if you struggle with weight.
- Weight Management: ACV may help you lose weight, possibly by promoting feelings of fullness and reducing calorie intake (2).
- Heart Health: The acetic acid in ACV might aid in lowering cholesterol, promoting cardiovascular well-being (3).
- Antimicrobial Properties: ACV exhibits antimicrobial effects, potentially assisting in the prevention of infections and supporting a healthy immune system (4).
- Clearer skin: The antibacterial properties of apple cider vinegar make it a popular remedy for acne-prone skin. Adding apple cider vinegar to a home face mask may help clear breakouts.
- Improves digestion: If you drink apple cider vinegar before meals, it may help with digestion by stimulating the production of digestive enzymes and promoting the growth of healthy bacteria in the gut (5).
Can Apple Cider Vinegar Help You Detox?
Detoxification, often synonymous with cleansing, is based on the idea that our bodies accumulate toxins from our environment and processed foods, which can lead to inflammation and other health issues. Some say an apple cider vinegar cleanse will help eliminate these toxins by improving liver function and aiding in digestion.
Although there is limited scientific evidence specifically on apple cider vinegar and its detoxifying effects, there are a few ways in which apple cider vinegar might potentially assist in detoxification:
- Liver Cleansing: ACV is purported to support liver function, assisting in the elimination of toxins from the body (6).
- Alkalizing the Body: Some believe that ACV, despite its acidic nature, has an alkalizing effect, creating an environment unfavorable for disease.
- Metabolic Boost: ACV is thought to kickstart metabolism, aiding in the efficient breakdown of nutrients and elimination of waste.
While apple cider vinegar does offer some health benefits, the idea of using it as a standalone detox elixir requires scrutiny.
Our bodies have a natural detoxification system in place, and it’s largely regulated by the gut, liver, and kidneys. If you’d like to support your natural detox pathways, you can do so by optimizing your gut and liver health. With that in mind, drinking apple cider vinegar may be a part of a safe and effective detox plan.
Related: 7 Steps to Skin Detox
How to Do An Apple Cider Vinegar Detox
Incorporating ACV into your routine can help support your body’s natural detox pathways. To harness its potential benefits without compromising health, consider the following:
- Dilution is Key: Always dilute ACV with water to minimize acidity and potential side effects.
- Moderation Matters: Like any supplement, moderation is crucial. Excessive ACV intake may lead to adverse effects.
- Pair with a Healthy Lifestyle: ACV should complement—not replace—a wholesome diet and active lifestyle.
Try this: Summer ACV Smoothie
Apple Cider Vinegar Detox Drink
This detox drink combines the potential benefits of apple cider vinegar with the refreshing taste of lemon and the warmth of cinnamon.
- 1-2 tablespoons of raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon of honey (optional)
- 1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
- 1 pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)
- 1-2 cups of warm water
Mixing the Ingredients:
In a mug, combine the apple cider vinegar, fresh lemon juice, honey (if using), ground cinnamon, and cayenne pepper.
Pour warm water into the mug. Make sure the water is warm but not boiling to preserve the beneficial enzymes in apple cider vinegar.
Stir the mixture thoroughly to ensure that all ingredients are well combined.
Sip on this detox drink in the morning on an empty stomach or before meals.
Notes: Adjust Ingredients: Adjust the quantities of honey, cinnamon, and cayenne pepper according to your taste preferences.
Use Raw, Unfiltered ACV: Make sure to use raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar that contains the “mother,” which is a colony of beneficial bacteria.
Try as a morning tonic before breakfast
This popular tonic helps prime your gut for digestion, while facilitating metabolic health and healthy liver function.
Incorporate into meals
Try using apple cider vinegar in salad dressings or marinades for a flavorful and nutritious addition to your meals.
Drink before bed
Some may find it beneficial to drink ACV before bed, as it can help promote restful sleep and provide overnight detoxification benefits.
Potential Side Effects and Considerations
As with any wellness remedy, ACV isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. It’s important to note that consuming too much apple cider vinegar can have adverse effects. For example, its acidity can damage tooth enamel and irritate the throat and esophagus if you’re drinking it often and undiluted.
While consuming small amounts of apple cider vinegar is safe for most people, it’s important to consider your individual situation.
A Balanced View on Apple Cider Vinegar
While apple cider vinegar has some health benefits, it’s not a cure-all for detoxing. And though it has some liver and digestive benefits, it can’t eliminate toxins from your body on its own. However, incorporating a modest amount of ACV into your diet does support overall health. If you’re considering adding it to your routine, it’s important to make sure that it’s safe for you given your circumstances and any medications you may be taking. As with any natural remedy, remember that moderation is always key.