From healing skin issues to helping with diabetes, the range of health benefits and medicinal uses of apple cider vinegar are gaining popularity by the moment. But when ingesting any substance, especially for health or healing, it’s important to know any potential dangers. There are a few possible issues that can arise from taking apple cider vinegar, so understand and discuss them with your doctor before diving into a regimen.

Ingestion

Apple cider vinegar contains acetic acid, which can be damaging to parts of your body if not diluted. In its concentrated form, it may cause erosion to the mouth, teeth, throat lining, esophagus, or liver. Always take ACV by mixing it with something else such as water or tea.

If you’re allergic to apples, do not consume apple cider vinegar, as it can cause serious internal reactions.

Topical Use

If you’re using apple cider vinegar topically to treat an external issue such as acne, ringworm, or a fungus, the acetic acid can be irritating, especially if you have sensitive skin, open sores, cuts, or burns. Always mix the vinegar with water when applying it. If it still burns, it’s best to stop using it. If the acid burns your skin or works its way into an already existing wound, it can cause pain and scarring.

Diabetes

Apple cider vinegar has been known to help lower glucose levels, but always check with your doctor about using it for diabetes because the amount of chromium in vinegar can have negative effects on your insulin levels. ACV can cause changes in glucose and insulin levels, so check with your physician to make sure it won’t have adverse reactions when combined with diabetes medication.

Medicine Combinations

Ensure that it’s okay to combine apple cider vinegar with other medicines you’re taking. Using it over a long period of time may lower potassium levels, which can increase the risks involved with taking cardiac glycoside drugs, diuretics, or laxatives. ACV has also been known to help with blood pressure; if you’re considering using it for lowering blood pressure, check with your doctor to be sure it’s safe to combine it with other blood pressure or heart medications.

Types of ACV

Many commercial apple cider vinegars have been distilled, pasteurized, and processed to a point where many of the healthy benefits are eliminated or greatly reduced. In order to get adequate health benefits, use organic apple cider vinegar that’s cold-pressed, unpasteurized, and free of chemicals or preservatives. ACV tablets are also sold in stores, but aren’t monitored by the Food and Drug Administration and aren’t checked for quality or safety.