Research indicates that common apple cider vinegar, available at grocery stores nationwide, may improve blood sugar levels for diabetics when taken before meals.
According to the American Diabetes Association, 23.6 million children and adults have diabetes, with type 2 diabetes diagnosed with ever-increasing frequency. Diabetes is an autoimmune disease in which the body’s own defense mechanisms attack the pancreas. The pancreas is responsible for producing insulin, the hormone that regulates blood sugar levels. If blood sugar levels rise too high, the sugars can damage blood vessels and vital organs like the brain.
Type I or Juvenile Diabetes is usually a disorder of the pancreas and is managed by measuring blood glucose levels and administering insulin, along with diet and exercise. Type 2 diabetes or adult onset diabetes is a disorder in which the body’s cells are no longer receptive to insulin, leading to high blood sugar levels. Promising new research into apple cider vinegar shows that it may help people with type 2 diabetes lower blood glucose levels, lose weight, and manage diabetes symptoms.
Apple Cider Vinegar Lowers Blood Glucose Levels in People with Type 2 Diabetes
Two studies published in the American Diabetes Foundation’s journal, Diabetes Care, show that common apple cider vinegar smoothed out the insulin spikes common in study participants who had either fully diagnosed type 2 diabetes or pre-diabetic conditions. Although the study was small and involved only 29 people, every participant – including healthy people included as the control group – showed improve blood glucose readings when taking apple cider vinegar instead of a placebo.
The results of the apple cider vinegar study included:
- Every group, including the control (healthy) people involved in the study showed improved blood glucose readings
- Participants with pre-diabetes or blood sugar levels higher than 90 but not exceeding 120 showed the most improvement and benefit from taking apple cider vinegar prior to meals
- Follow up studies showed that taking just two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar before meals helped people lose weight, an important aspect of managing type 2 diabetes.
An Apple a Day and Two Tablepoons of Vinegar Keep the Doctor Away
More recent studies also show the weight loss benefits of taking apple cider vinegar. According to Web MD, a study of 11 people with type 2 diabetes indicates that taking apple cider vinegar before bedtime may aid weight loss. Participants downed two tablespoons before going to bed at night. The results: weight loss and lower blood glucose readings.
Some experts believe that the magic of apple cider vinegar actually lies in apples themselves, and not in a special vinegar. The phytochemicals and antioxidants found in apples exist in the vinegar made from apple juice pressings, although many of the nutrients are lost during processing. Whether it’s the fermentation of the actual apple juice itself that benefits people with type 2 diabetes, no one knows for sure.
Choosing and Taking Apple Cider Vinegar as Liquid and Supplement
Vinegar itself is harsh, and taking it straight from the bottle may be too much for some people. The good news it that just pouring two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar and one tablespoon of olive oil onto a dinner salad and eating this as a first course may provide as much benefit as supplements, pills, and taking the liquid straight. Try adding vinegar dressing to other vegetables too, such as sprinkling it over broccoli or cauliflower.
Many vitamins and supplement manufacturers claim that vinegar pills are an effective weight loss aid, but the research doesn’t back up this claim. Stick with common apple cider vinegar purchased at the local store. If possible, choose the least processed kind. The murkier and darker the liquid, the more beneficial, according to health experts. Organic is best, but any apple cider vinegar is likely to have some health benefits.
As part of a diabetic diet, apple cider vinegar may play a role in managing blood glucose levels. Eliminating intake of substances such as high fructose corn syrup, white sugar, white flour and snack foods is important, as is the careful balance among protein, carbohydrates and fats. Adding exercise to one’s daily regimen also helps diabetics control blood glucose levels and lead a healthier life.
Never stop taking diabetes medication except under the guidance of a physician. Natural remedies may be helpful, but always consult a physician for advice when managing serious medical conditions such as diabetes.