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Choosing the Right Apple Cider Vinegar Dosage

August 14, 2020 6 min read

At a glance

Although apple cider vinegar is readily available, it can be hard to know how much to take. The right apple cider vinegar dosage for each individual depends primarily on their reason for use. Published clinical trials can help to provide general dosage guidelines. 

A typical dose of apple cider vinegar for overall health and wellness is one to two tablespoons, mixed with water and taken before meals. If you have a pre-existing health condition or are taking any medications, it may be best to discuss dosage with your practitioner prior to use. 

For those who would prefer to avoid the strong taste or smell of apple cider vinegar, choosinghigh-quality supplements and following the dosage guidelines on the product label is often a good option. 

What is apple cider vinegar?

Apple cider vinegar, made by fermenting the sugar in apples, has been used for centuries in natural medicine(1). A growing body of research now demonstrates many of the beneficial effects of apple cider vinegar, including its ability to improve blood sugar levels and its use in weight management(2,3)

While human studies have generally focused on the use of apple cider vinegar for chronic disease management and weight loss, many healthy individuals also choose to take apple cider vinegar daily for enhanced digestion and overall wellness. 

How to choose the right apple cider vinegar dosage

Whether you’re thinking about purchasing your first bottle of apple cider vinegar or you have some in the cupboard leftover from a cooking project, you may be wondering how much you should be consuming in order to reap your desired health benefits. 

The right apple cider vinegar dosage depends on a few factors — primarily your reason for use. Certain pre-existing conditions and the use of some medications should also be considered when determining your dosage. 

Apple cider vinegar has been used in studies for several health issues, and the following provides some guidance on the dosage for each condition.   

Insulin resistance and blood sugar management 

One of the most common uses for apple cider vinegar is for blood sugar management and insulin resistance in those with and without type 2 diabetes(2)

When taken prior to meals, specifically meals with a high carbohydrate content, apple cider vinegar has been found to help normalize blood sugar levels and improve insulin sensitivity. 

Two teaspoons (10 ml) of apple cider vinegar have been found to have a significant antiglycemic effect, especially when taken at mealtime and with complex carbohydrates(4). Another study found that four teaspoons (20 ml) of apple cider vinegar mixed with water improved insulin sensitivity in those with insulin resistance(5)

Healthy weight loss 

Taking apple cider vinegar before meals is a simple and natural way to promote healthy weight loss. It is thought to work in part by increasing feelings of satiety after eating, thereby reducing total food consumption(6)

One double-blind study on overweight adults showed that a daily dose of one tablespoon (approximately 15 ml) helped with a loss of an average of 2.6 pounds over the course of three months, while two tablespoons (approximately 30 ml) led to a loss of an average of 3.7 pounds. This effect was noted alongside a decreased body fat percentage, less belly fat and lower blood triglycerides in both groups compared with the placebo group(7)

A 2018 study also found that a daily dose of two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar combined with a restricted-calorie diet led to significantly greater weight loss over a three-month period compared to those who were following the diet alone(3)

PCOS

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, or PCOS, is a common hormonal disorder in women characterized by abnormal menstrual cycles, hormonal imbalances, ovarian cysts, fertility issues and insulin resistance. 

In one study on individuals with PCOS, taking one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar with water with meals led to improved hormonal balance and more regular menstrual cycles (8). Researchers have attributed this primarily to the effect of apple cider vinegar on insulin resistance.

Digestive health and overall wellness

Apple cider vinegar is often taken by healthy individuals who are hoping to improve digestion and gut health and reduce the risk of health conditions including heart disease(9)

Although more human research is necessary in order to establish specific dosage guidelines for digestive health and overall wellness, a typical daily dose is one to two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar. 

How to take apple cider vinegar

The most common way to take apple cider vinegar in liquid form is to mix it with water. Diluting apple cider vinegar in water helps to neutralize the strong taste.

A daily apple cider vinegar dosage of one to two tablespoons may be consumed all at once, or spaced out throughout the day. It is generally recommended that apple cider vinegar be taken immediately before meals.

Apple cider vinegar can also be used in cooking, and a common way to consume it is to mix it with olive oil in order to make a salad dressing. 

When to choose apple cider vinegar supplements 

If you are looking to experience the benefits of apple cider vinegar without the strong taste or smell,supplements may be a good option. 

In addition to eliminating the strong taste, supplements are less likely to lead to the damage of tooth enamel. Many people also find capsules more convenient to take, whether at home or on the go. 

Someapple cider vinegar supplements also contain additional ingredients that may enhance effectiveness or offer additional benefits, including supporting metabolism, digestion or detoxification. 

Because research on apple cider vinegar in capsule form is still limited, a standard dose has not yet been established. Use as directed on the product label, or discuss with your practitioner. 

How to choose the right apple cider vinegar supplement 

One potential concern with apple cider vinegar supplements, as with all supplements, is that the limited regulation and oversight of the supplement market means that the quality and effectiveness may differ greatly between products. 

When it comes to supplements in general, it’s always best to choose a trusted brand with research-backed products and high-quality manufacturing standards. 

When shopping forapple cider vinegar supplements, make sure to look for those that use a high-quality vinegar. Generally speaking, this means an apple cider vinegar that is pure, unfiltered, organic and non-GMO. 

Risks and side effects

Apple cider vinegar is generally considered to be safe, but side effects may occur in some people. Because of the acidity, regular, long-term use of apple cider vinegar may damage tooth enamel(10). Diluting vinegar in water and drinking with a straw may help to reduce this risk, as will choosingcapsules

If digestive symptoms including nausea, gas or acid reflux occur, use should be stopped and a practitioner should be consulted. 

People who have certain medical conditions including ulcers, gastroparesis or low potassium levels, as well as those who are taking certain medications including blood thinners and diabetes medications, should speak to a practitioner prior to use. 

It’s always best to stick to dosages similar to those used in positive human trials, or those recommended by trusted product manufacturers, as very high doses may lead to health complications with long term use(11)

In summary 

Apple cider vinegar has been used in natural medicine for hundreds of years. It is often used to support digestion and enhance overall health, and has been shown to help with insulin resistance and blood sugar management, healthy weight loss and PCOS. 

Once you’ve decided to try apple cider vinegar, it’s important to determine the right dosage for you. The right apple cider vinegar dosage depends primarily on an individual’s reason for use. A number of human studies have been published which can help to guide dosage for specific uses, including weight loss and blood sugar management. 

Potential side effects, medical conditions and interactions with medications should also be considered or discussed with a practitioner prior to use. 

Apple cider vinegar supplements are another popular option for those who wish to avoid the strong taste or smell. Some supplements may also contain additional ingredients that work symbiotically with apple cider vinegar in order to enhance metabolism or digestion. Make sure to look forhigh-quality supplements that use pure, unfiltered vinegar, and follow the dosage directions on the label. 

Ellie Ellias -Contributing Writer, Physician’s Choice