Apple cider vinegar or ACV is a miracle food. Just ask any health nut out there!
It’s used to treat so many conditions. ACV can soothe an upset stomach, manage diabetes, and improve digestion. You can even take it for appetite control.1 Basically, ACV is a must-have.
Yet, like all good things, ACV isn’t for everyone. It doesn’t play well with some conditions and drugs. For some, ACV does more harm than good.
Play it safe by learning about ACV’s drawbacks. This way, you can avoid harmful complications.
1. Diabetes Drugs And Insulin
- DPP-4 inhibitors
- SGLT2 Inhibitors
- Alpha-glucosidase inhibitors
- Bile Acid Sequestrants
ACV is known for improving diabetes risk. It reduces postprandial blood sugar, making it easier to control glucose levels. As for people with type-1 or type-2 diabetes? ACV offers a natural form of management.
If you’re already taking a diabetes medication, be careful. These drugs will decrease blood glucose. When combined with ACV, your blood sugar might get too low. This can turn into hypoglycemia and cause shaking, dizziness, confusion, and weakness.3 Untreated hypoglycemia may lead to unconsciousness and seizures.4
It’s the same deal with insulin therapy. Insulin uses glucose for energy, helping reduce blood sugar levels.5 ACV’s glucose-lowering effects may be harmful with insulin therapy.
Both ACV and diabetes drugs can also decrease blood potassium. This presents a risk for hypokalemia.6 Symptoms include constipation, palpitations, skipped heartbeats, fatigue, muscle damage, tingling, and numbness.7
2. Hypertension Drugs
- Thiazolidinediones (thiazide diuretics)
- Loop diuretics8
High blood pressure or hypertension affects 1 in 3 American adults.9 Often, diuretics are used to “flush” extra sodium out of the body. They’re also known as water or fluid pills.10
Unfortunately, when sodium goes, so does potassium. No wonder low blood potassium is a common side effect.11 Again, symptoms can range from constipation to muscle damage.12
3. Heart Failure Drugs
- Thiazolidinediones (thiazide diuretics)
- Loop diuretics
Some diuretics treat heart failure. Again, they work to reduce blood pressure and therefore, the heart’s workload. Excess fluids and sodium are flushed out when you pee.13
However, it’s another setup for low blood potassium.14 ACV can worsen the risk, so it’s crucial to be careful. You might need to limit or avoid ACV.
After all, potassium is needed for normal heart function. It even controls the heartbeat and rhythm. This is even more important if you have congestive heart failure.15
If you have issues with hypokalemia, you might be switched to potassium-sparing diuretics. These drugs increase urination but keep potassium in the body. Otherwise, you can take potassium supplements or eat potassium-rich foods. Excellent sources include avocados, bananas, bran, carrots, milk, oranges, salmon, and spinach.16
Always dilute ACV with water. It’s also a good idea to take it in moderation. As an acid, ACV can burn the esophagus.17
If you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, check with your doctor before taking ACV. If you get the OK, ask about a safe amount.
|↑1||Johnston, Carol S., and Cindy A. Gaas. “Vinegar: medicinal uses and antiglycemic effect.” Medscape General Medicine 8, no. 2 (2006): 61.|
|↑2||What Are My Options? American Diabetes Association.|
|↑4||Is Low Blood Glucose (Hypoglycemia) Dangerous? Joslin Diabetes Center.|
|↑5||Insulin Basics. American Diabetes Association.|
|↑6||Zillich, Alan J., Jay Garg, Sanjib Basu, George L. Bakris, and Barry L. Carter. “Thiazide diuretics, potassium, and the development of diabetes.” Hypertension 48, no. 2 (2006): 219-224.|
|↑7, ↑12, ↑14||Low potassium level. MedlinePlus.|
|↑8, ↑15||Potassium. Oregon State University.|
|↑9||High Blood Pressure Statistics and Maps. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.|
|↑10||How Is High Blood Pressure Treated? National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.|
|↑11||Potassium Loss From Blood Pressure Drugs May Explain Higher Risk Of Adult Diabetes. John Hopkins Medicine.|
|↑13||Medications Used To Treat Heart Failure. American Heart Association.|
|↑16||Low potassium level.
|↑17||Hill, Laura L., Logan H. Woodruff, Jerald C. Foote, and Morela Barreto-Alcoba. “Esophageal injury by apple cider vinegar tablets and subsequent evaluation of products.” Journal of the American Dietetic Association 105, no. 7 (2005): 1141-1144.|