Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) has been around for a long time and has been used over the centuries as a popular folk remedy for a variety of conditions, most notably for fighting infections and also in promoting weight loss. In fact Hippocrates, considered the father of medicine, both studied and also used apple cider vinegar for its curative powers as an anti-septic and natural anti-biotic.
In more recent times ACV has become popular as a natural way to control high blood pressure. I was curious to see if there is sufficient evidence to support this claim, so today’s post is going to focus on examining Apple Cider Vinegar as one of the natural remedies for high blood pressure…
Exactly what is ACV?
Well, as its name suggests it is basically a vinegar made from cider, or freshly pressed apple juice which is then fermented into alcohol by adding bacteria and yeast. Then finally during a second stage of fermentation it is made into the vinegar itself by adding acetic-acid forming bacteria. The sour taste of the vinegar is caused by the acetic and malic acid it contains.
What’s in ACV
For one thing Apple Cider Vinegar is nutrient rich, containing organic acids, enzymes and vitamins which are good for strengthening the immune system and helping the circulatory system, as well as reducing spikes in blood sugar levels, which is very important for people dealing with Type 2 Diabetes.
Ingredients of ACV
- Vitamins such as B6, B2, B1, A, E and C
- beta carotene
… and it is also contains probiotics which are very good for the body.
The best form to buy is to find a brand which is organic, unpasteurized, unheated and ideally still contains the “mother of vinegar”. This is a
“substance composed of a form of cellulose and acetic acid bacteria that develops on fermenting alcoholic liquids, which turns alcohol into acetic acid with the help of oxygen from the air.” – source Wikipedia.
To find the mother of vinegar look for a cobweb like texture floating in the liquid.
Health Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar on Blood Pressure
The effects of taking regular doses of apple cider vinegar on blood pressure are several.
To begin with it contains potassium which acts as a type of natural blood thinner, thereby allowing blood to flow more smoothly and easily through and around the body’s network of blood vessels, arteries and veins. This helps regulate blood pressure.
In addition to this benefit, ACV performs several other functions which indirectly improve blood pressure.
It has a positive effect on the liver by eliminating toxins and excess salt, and in also stimulating increase bile flow from the liver. This then enables the liver to more effectively manage cholesterol production and disposal which in turn helps reduce the harmful LDL cholesterol levels in the blood.
And thirdly the acetic acid supports weight loss by increasing body metabolism. This is significant because weight increase has been shown to be a marker for heightened risk of developing hypertension.
What does the Research say?
Whilst research is fairly scant at this point, there have been studies looking at both the cholesterol lowering benefits of apple cider vinegar, and also the effect of the main ingredient – Acetic Acid – on lowering blood pressure. Admittedly, both studies used animals (rats) as their test subjects but the results were significant.
However further research based on human test subjects is now required to reproduce the results found in the rat studies.
This study involved looking at how cholesterol can be effectively reduced by the use of acetic acid in the diet. High levels of cholesterol have been documented in numerous studies to be a risk marker for developing high blood pressure. The high levels of LDL or bad cholesterol in the blood can lead to hardening of arteries and plaque build up which ultimately culminates in hypertension.
The outcome of this study indicated clearly that the rats fed with a diet laced with acetic acid had significantly lower values for serum total cholesterol and triglycerides than the rats whose diet did not include acetic acid.
Looked at how apple cider vinegar has a blood pressure lowering outcome by effectively reducing the amount of renin production. Renin (also known as angiotensinogenase) is an enzyme which is secreted by the kidneys and is used to regulate blood pressure. Again this study needs to be replicated using a human trial population, but the results did suggest that the blood pressure lowering benefit was derived from the acetic acid component of the vinegar used in the experiment.
So the research about the effectiveness of ACV in lowering blood pressure is pointing in the right direction, with the hope that further human studies will be conducted in the future.
How to use Apple Cider Vinegar**
Probably the easiest way to take ACV is to add a tablespoon to a 8 oz glass of filtered water. But for those who find its sour taste a little hard on the palate, I would suggest adding a small amount of sweetener, such as Stevia or organic honey to help it go down!! It can also be combined with freshly squeezed organic lemon juice plus a sweetener as suggested above.
IT IS IMPORTANT NEVER TO TAKE ACV UNDILUTED AS THIS CAN HAVE DETRIMENTAL EFFECTS ON TOOTH ENAMEL AND THE DELICATE TISSUES OF MOUTH AND THROAT.
Another way of using ACV could be to incorporate into a home made salad dressing, instead of a balsamic or red wine vinegar. Click here for some recipe ideas using apple cider vinegar!
The recommended daily dose is to take 1 to 2 tablespoons. Taking it on a consistent basis like this will lead to positive results. And as stated previously, it is important to make sure the type of ACV is organic and of good quality.
One popular brand, and the one I like to use, is the BRAGG brand. It is organic, unpasteurized and comes with the “mother of vinegar” which by the way is completely harmless, but may be filtered out using a paper coffee filter if so desired!
However, if the liquid form is just to hard to take then there are ACV supplements which may be used instead. These come in either pill or capsule form and are tasteless.
**Just one proviso to note: if you are already taking blood pressure pills but want to add Apple Cider Vinegar to see if it will help, please be sure to consult with your physician first so you can work on a strategy for this together.
Apple Cider Vinegar really does offer some health benefits, is relatively inexpensive and is full of natural goodness. Even although the research around its use and effects on blood pressure is rather scarce at this point in time, there is a large amount of anecdotal evidence to suggest that taking a small amount of apple cider vinegar diluted in water each day can be beneficial.
However, just be aware that it is not a ‘cure all’ for high blood pressure and thus should be more effectively used as a adjunct to a BP friendly diet e.g. DASH Diet and a healthy lifestyle which includes regular exercise and activity, and mindful stress awareness.
Have you had success using Apple Cider Vinegar to help manage your BP?
If so please share your stories in the comments section below.