By Amy Medling, Founder of PCOS Diva
Years ago, while looking online for a natural remedy for a nasty sore throat, I stumbled upon a fantastic website called earthclinic.com. It is a repository of anecdotal information regarding folk remedies and holistic cures. I was amazed to find Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) combined with a spoonful of honey, a squeeze of lemon, and a dash of cayenne pepper would ease my sore throat and sinuses (it worked!). I was even more intrigued by the number of postings from people who use ACV to control their blood sugar.
Before I embarked on a new regimen, I wanted to see if there was any scientific data to support all of the positive ACV testimonials. I did discover that in ancient Greece, around 400 BC, Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, prescribed apple cider vinegar mixed with honey for a variety of ills, including coughs and colds. (1) With further investigation, I found that Professor Carol Johnston Ph.D. has been working on the subject of vinegar and diabetes with her research team from the Department of Nutrition at Arizona State University. Her studies have recently shown that drinking apple cider vinegar slows the rise of blood sugar after the consumption of a high-carbohydrate meal. (2)
In Dr Johnston’s initial study, 29 people had orange juice and a bagel for breakfast, which contained a total of 87 grams of carbohydrates. Two minutes before the meal, half of the subjects were given 20 grams (about 4 teaspoons) of apple cider vinegar mixed with 40 grams water and 1 teaspoon saccharine. The other half were given a placebo drink. A cross over trial was conducted a week later, at which time the placebo group received the vinegar. The participants’ blood sugar levels were measured before and after the breakfast. They were classified into 3 separate groups:
Although all three groups in the study had better blood readings after meals begun with vinegar cocktails, the people with insulin resistance experienced a 34% reduction in their blood sugar levels after the meal. Those with type 2 diabetes, experienced blood sugar levels reduced by 19%. The researchers reported in the January 2004 issue of Diabetes Care that the vinegar had an effect on the volunteers’ blood sugar comparable to what might be expected from diabetic drugs, such as Metformin.
Based on these results and two other recent studies (3, 4), Dr. Johnston thinks that the vinegar tonic interferes with the absorption of high-carbohydrate foods which reduces the blood sugar rise that normally occurs after a meal. She states in her findings that, “The acetic acid in vinegar may inhibit enzymes that digest starch so that carbohydrate molecules aren’t available for absorption and are eliminated as fecal matter.” She suspects that the acetic acid is the anti-diabetic ingredient in the vinegar.
Everyday, I splash 2tsp of raw, unfiltered organic ACV such as Braggs in 16 oz. of water and drink this 3x per day. In the summer, it is refreshing iced (it just takes the place of a squeeze of lemon in your water). In the winter, I often drink it warm like a tea. In addition to lowering blood sugar, ACV also detoxifies and balances PH levels.
Give ACV a try for a few weeks and let me know what you think. I can almost guarantee that it will not only keep sugar cravings at bay, but you may also lose a few pounds.
(2) Johnston C, Kim C, Buller A: Vinegar improves insulin sensitivity to a high-carbohydrate meal in subjects with insulin resistance or diabetes. Diabetes Care 27:281-282, 2004 Web Link
(3) White A, Johnston C: Vinegar Ingestion at Bedtime Moderates Waking Glucose Concentrations in Adults With Well-Controlled Type 2 Diabetes.
Diabetes Care 30:2814-2815, 2007 Web Link
(4) Johnston C: Strategies for Healthy Weight Loss: From Vitamin C to the Glycemic Response. Journal of the American College of Nutrition, Vol. 24, No. 3, 158-165 (2005) Web Link