apple cider vinegar

Forget about an apple a day keeping the doctor away! Apple cider vinegar is one of the most buzz-worthy remedies around. Found everywhere from beauty supply shops to local health food stores, it's thought to have many health benefits, some of which are science-backed. ACV fans swear by this multi-purpose remedy for treating a range of issues. In fact, many recommend starting each day by swilling a glass of water mixed with apple cider vinegar. Yet, for those who can't stomach the taste, there are also apple cider vinegar pills. Let's find out which works best.

Apple cider vinegar, explained

So, what exactly is apple cider vinegar, and, more importantly, what does it do? Made by fermenting apples with yeast and bacteria, its health benefits include helping with weight loss, decreasing bloating, reducing cholesterol, lowering blood sugar levels, improving diabetes’ symptoms, supporting immune function and acting as a natural antibacterial agent.

Do pills or liquid work best?

Whether apple cider vinegar pills or liquid are better is a recent hot topic. According to Amy Leigh Mercree, author of Apple Cider Vinegar Handbook: Recipes for Natural Living, the benefits of liquid apple cider vinegar outweigh those of apple cider vinegar tablets.

“The benefits of liquid apple cider vinegar as opposed to apple cider vinegar capsules are speed and purity,” says Mercree during an interview, explaining “with a capsule there may be other fillers to preserve the vinegar within the capsule and you’re also ingesting the capsule itself. With the liquid you get the goodness of apple cider vinegar fast and unadulterated.”

The wellness expert says liquid apple cider vinegar has several unique properties that apple cider vinegar capsules do not. A main benefit of consuming liquid apple cider vinegar is the powerful prebiotics it contains, explains Mercree, adding that capsules are combined with other fillers that may lessen the amount of prebiotics ingested into the system.

The outer coating of an apple cider vinegar capsule may dissolve higher or lower in the digestive system, depending on the person's existing stomach and digestive system. Additionally, for those with low stomach acid (common in people with an A blood type), the apple cider vinegar pill does not open until it reaches the middle of the small intestine. This eliminates benefits that could have been received during the main acid and enzyme breakdown phase that occurs in the stomach earlier in the digestive tract.

The “mother” knows best

Apple cider vinegar contains these helpful nutrients only if it includes what is known as the “mother” or “SCOBY,” which is the semi-gelatinous substance created during the vinegar making process. The "mother" is where much of the pectin and other prebiotic compounds are found. These essential nutrients feed the good flora within the body. Prebiotics act as the food for probiotics to improve gut health.

Make a morning tonic

Begin the day by mixing 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar in a minimum of 8 ounces of water. Be mindful to always properly dilute apple cider vinegar. Undiluted, apple cider vinegar will damage tooth enamel and can cause stomach irritation. According to Mecree, drinking this combo each morning helps optimize your acid and alkaline balance, which is an essential component of a healthy immune system. “If you'd like, add one drop of organic, therapeutic grade lemon, sweet orange, or lime oil to your mixture.”

Pair ACV with a meal

“It’s also especially useful to drink before or after a meal to help you absorb the vitamins, minerals and nutrients contained in your meal. Apple cider vinegar acts as an aid to your digestive enzymes,” says Mercree. This assists in quick absorption and increased digestive effects.

Go ahead, skip the daily apple in favor of ACV. It just might be the secret to better health.