August 7, 2015

Apple Cider Vinegar in the News Again

This topic is back in the news again. It now happens once or twice a year and is done to excite people new to diabetes into trying apple cider vinegar in hopes of helping them maximize blood glucose management. What they don't tell us is more important than what they do tell us.

Do not drink apple cider vinegar straight. It's so acidic that it could harm your tooth enamel and esophagus. That is told to us, but it is not emphasized. As a folk remedy, apple cider vinegar has been credited with curing everything from the flu to warts. Many of its supposed benefits are unproven, but some experts think that adding a little of this sour liquid to your life may have some health benefits.

Apple cider vinegar does appear to help with diabetes and blood glucose management in the short term. Carol Johnston, PhD, directs Arizona State University’s nutrition program. She has been studying apple cider vinegar for more than 10 years and believes its effects on blood sugar are similar to certain medications yet she refuses to say which medications.

According to Johnston, apple cider vinegar's anti-glycemic effect is well documented. She explains that the vinegar blocks some of the digestion of starch. It doesn’t block the starch 100%, but it definitely prevents at least some of that starch from being digested and raising your blood sugar.

We are fortunate that not everyone feels as confident about apple cider vinegar.
Michael Dansinger, MD, director of Tufts University’s diabetes lifestyle coaching program says, “Trying to use vinegar to treat diabetes is like trying to bail out a flooded basement with a teaspoon.” He advises patients to focus instead on their overall diets -- a strategy backed by a lot more research.

I agree with him when he says. “If you have gastroparesis, a common problem with diabetes that slows stomach emptying, be careful. Early research shows apple cider vinegar may make this problem worse.” "I’m concerned that drinking vinegar, even diluted in water, increases acid in your system, which puts a strain on your kidneys and bones,” Dansinger says.

If you have diabetes and want to try apple cider vinegar, let your doctor know, and keep an eye on your blood sugar levels. Johnston stresses that if you are on medication for diabetes, you shouldn’t stop taking it and substitute vinegar. If you're thinking about using vinegar to help manage your blood sugar, talk to your doctor first. Then follow his directions carefully.

If you drink apple cider vinegar with a starchy meal, then the starches you don't digest will feed the good bacteria in your gut. This has not been proven in a clinical trial and is just the opinion of Carol Johnston.

An unidentified source says, “He recommends using unfiltered apple cider vinegar, “the cloudy kind, where you can see a blob in the bottle.” “That blob is known as “the mother,” and it’s full of probiotics and other beneficial bacteria. “This kind of vinegar can support immune function and, for some people, even help with constipation”

Carol Johnston has only two small studies to her credit and there are a few more small studies by others, but because of the lack of funds, no more studies have been done. Yet, she claims to be the “expert” about apple cider vinegar.

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