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Apple Cider Vinegar Side Effects: Any Ill Effects Users Should Be Aware Of?

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Apple cider vinegar (ACV) is extremely beneficial and a staple in many folk remedies around the world. However, that doesn’t mean you won’t experience any weird effects upon ingestion. Some people’s stomachs just don’t find the beverage agreeable.

What are the apple cider vinegar side effects? Should you, the user, be worried?

Apple Cider Vinegar at a Glance

First, it helps to understand what exactly constitutes ACV. It’s simply crushed apples with yeast added in. The yeast converts the fructose into alcohol. Bacteria (the good kind) is then added to the concoction, which turns the alcohol into acetic acid.

Most side effects of apple cider vinegar are due to the acetic acid, which some people are sensitive to. In addition, ACV also contains prebiotics, which may have a few minor effects of its own. We get into all of this below.

Potential Apple Cider Vinegar Side Effects

Before we go through a list of apple cider vinegar side effects, we want to point out that any unpleasant experiences typically only occur in large doses. Unless you’re especially sensitive, you should be fine as long as you stick to recommended servings.

READ MORE: Apple Cider Vinegar Science: Weight Loss, Appetite Suppression, Digestive Support

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1. Nausea

The vinegar in ACV may cause nausea. In one study, subjects that consumed vinegar reported feeling nauseous. The feeling was accompanied by a loss of appetite.

It should be reiterated that the subjects consumed vinegar and not ACV. It’s believed that the nausea and subsequent appetite loss were due to the unpleasant taste of the vinegar. Most people find ACV to be a bit more tolerable, even if a bit on the sour end.

Nevertheless, consumers sensitive to the taste of vinegar may experience small degrees of nausea and hunger loss.

2. Throat Burn

It goes without saying that acetic acid is acidic. Some people — children in particular — have experienced a mild but noticeable burning sensation in their throat. In one incident published in the July 2005 issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, one woman suffered prolonged throat burns after an ACV tablet became lodged in her throat.

If you’re sensitive to acidic foods, then consider diluting the drink with water. This will actually eliminate most side effects of apple cider vinegar.

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3. Skin Burns

Apple cider vinegar side effects also include skin burns, if applied topically. Some people treat it as a solution for removing skin blemishes, such as acne. ACV is indeed a natural alternative to an Oxy Pad. However, just as it may burn the throat, it may also cause a slight burning sensation in the skin.

In one incident, a 14-year-old girl suffered a burn on her nose after applying ACV to remove a mole.

4. Digestion Problems

ACV is renowned for relieving digestion woes and alleviating irritable bowel syndrome. However, in rare instances, it may induce the opposite for people with type 1 diabetes.

Normally, ACV improves digestion by keeping food in the stomach longer. This allows more time for the stomach acid to do its job before sending the remnants into the small intestines.

READ MORE: The Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar Pills: The Perks Minus the Sour Taste

However, in diabetics, this may worsen pre-existing symptoms of gastroparesis. This is a condition that inhibits the function of nerves in the stomach and intestinal lining. This causes food to remain in the stomach much longer than necessary. This leads to symptoms of bloating and heartburn.

5. Abdominal Pain

ACV contains prebiotics. That’s a very good thing, since prebiotics are necessary for probiotic health. However, a small minority of users have reported prebiotics side effects. In one study, users reported abdominal pain, which was also accompanied by bloating and gas.

It should be noted, though, that in the study the subjects were in poor health and consuming prebiotics as part of their treatment.

Certain prebiotics may also increase the number of gas-producing bacteria, hence the bloating. As long as you’re healthy and stick to recommended dosages, there’s no reason why you should experience severe prebiotics side effects.

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6. Teeth Erosion

Some foods good for overall health may have the opposite effect on your oral health. This is especially the case with acidic and citric foods, which can strip away teeth enamel. In one study, teeth immersed in vinegar experienced one percent to 20 percent greater enamel loss. Keep in mind, though, that this was done in a lab. In the human mouth, saliva acts as a buffer and neutralizes much of the acidity.

In any case, after consuming acidic foods, drink some water or swish some H2O to dilute the acid. You can also chew sugarless gum; the chewing stimulates saliva flow.

Should You Be Worried?

If you have read our previous posts, you know we’re huge advocates of ACV consumption.

Why then, are we mentioning all these side effects? For one, we believe in transparency. Second, we want to add that in 99 percent of the cases, side effects are zero or minimal among healthy users. Those that experienced unwanted effects usually either consumed monstrous doses or had pre-existing medical conditions. Even if you experience undelightful sensations, they will most likely dissipate once your body adjusts.

Ultimately, the scientifically documented health benefits far outweigh potential ill effects. We believe you’ll be surprised at how much better you feel after making ACV a regular part of your dietary regimen. You can consume the tonic as a beverage or get it in tablet form with our new ACV + Prebiotic supplement.

An image of UMZU's ACV+Prebiotics supplement.


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Ryan Tronier

Ryan Tronier is a writer and editor who has worked with NBC, ABC, and USA Today.
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