Apple cider vinegar can lower blood pressure, enhance digestion, reduce cholesterol, assist in weight loss, and more.
Whether you take it in capsule form, by the teaspoon, or mix it with your favorite salad dressing, it can help you achieve a higher degree of overall health.
There are a lot of apple cider vinegars on the market today. After careful assessment, our experts determined that the following are the best apple cider vinegar products of 2021.
1. Essential Elements Apple Cider Vinegar Gummy
Not everyone is inclined to swallow pills or consume apple cider vinegar by the spoonful. For those folks (and everyone else, really), there’s Essential Elements Apple Cider Vinegar Gummies.
What we like: These gummies are an ideal way for anyone to reap the benefits of apple cider vinegar. They are derived from the raw, unpasteurized vinegar and retain all the benefits of the ‘mother’. Chew two before dinner to control your appetite.
Flaws: Obviously there is no adding these to your salad dressing.
2. Zeal Naturals Apple Cider Vinegar
These capsules from Zeal Naturals contain a bit of cayenne pepper to offset the bitterness of the vinegar and boost metabolism. They provide an easy, convenient to enjoy the weight loss and other benefits of apple cider vinegar.
What we like: Zeal Naturals Apple Cider Vinegar capsules are some of the most potent on the market. They’re ideal for those looking to lose weight, bolster their immune system or restore order to their digestive tract.
Flaws: Each recommended serving is pretty large, so be careful not to overdo it.
3. VitaBalance Apple Cider Vinegar Pure
VitaBalance Apple Cider Vinegar capsules are free of genetically modified organisms, free of gluten and other allergens and derived from the raw, unpasteurized source material so it retains its full nutrient value.
What we like: Each capsule provides a generous 1300 mg of raw vinegar with the ‘mother’ intact. They do an excellent job curbing appetite, raising your energy levels, and making your hair and skin shin with that youthful glow.
Flaws: Not the least expensive brand on the market.
4. Bragg Organic Raw Apple Cider Vinegar
Bragg Organic Raw Apple Cider Vinegar is certified organic and kosher and free of harmful additives. It’s rich in antioxidants, valuable minerals, and probiotic bacteria that facilitate digestion and nutrient absorption.
What we like: Capsules are great, but when you buy apple cider vinegar in its natural, liquid form, you open up a world of possibilities. Use it to make a salad dressing, add it to your protein shakes, put some in your morning juice, or add it to your baked goods.
Flaws: It will take some time to get through all this, so make sure you store it in a cool place, away from the sun.
5. Viva Naturals Apple Cider Vinegar
Viva Naturals Apple Cider Vinegar is rough around the edges, just how you would expect a raw vinegar to be. There are no additives to make it more visually appealing, and that’s fine. Because what you get is a pure, effective dietary supplement for weight loss and more.
What we like: Viva Naturals vinegar is made from fresh juice, not from concentrate like some other brands. It is free of allergens and harsh chemicals and provides you myriad ways to enjoy its benefits.
Flaws: The taste can be a bit harsh when taking it straight.
6. Dynamic Health Organic Apple Cider Vinegar
Dynamic Health Organic Apple Cider Vinegar is rich in antioxidants and important minerals like magnesium and potassium. It’s raw vinegar with its ‘mother’ intact, so you can enjoy the probiotic benefits as well.
What we like: The taste of this Dynamic Health vinegar is more palatable than some of the competition. That is no small thing considering they do not add any flavor enhancers. It is also packaged in a glass bottle, not plastic.
Flaws: They also offered flavored varieties. We would take a pass on them.
7. Vitacost Organic Apple Cider Vinegar with “Mother”
It can be difficult to glean the benefits from this type of product if it is loaded with artificial preservatives and flavors. Thankfully, Vitacost avoids all that nonsense. This is a straightforward, high-potency apple cider vinegar that’s great straight up or on your salad.
What we like: This is the simplest of simple products, containing raw, unprocessed apple cider vinegar and nothing else. It is highly potent and makes a good additive for smoothies, salad dressings, baked goods, and more.
Flaws: It has quite a potent smell. We could also live without the plastic bottle.
8. Kevala Organic Raw Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar will typically last for years. But why tempt fate? This modest-sized bottle from Kevala is perfect for those who are not looking for a lifetime supply. Or for those who are as yet unsure if apple cider vinegar is for them.
What we like: If you want to try apple cider vinegar but don’t want to have to buy a quart, this 8oz bottle from Kevala is perfect. The vinegar is raw and unpasteurized, free of food allergens and additives, and ready to help you lose weight or bolster your immune system.
Flaws: Tends to sell out quickly.
9. Lucy’s Organic Raw Apple Cider Vinegar
Lucy’s organic is raw, unpasteurized apple cider vinegar at its best. It has an appealing smell, smooth texture, and will work just as well as a weight-loss supplement as it will as a salad dressing.
What we like: Lucy’s is a family-run company whose highly pure, certified organic apple cider vinegar will help you lose weight, lower your blood pressure or cholesterol, improve the look and feel of your skin and more.
Flaws: Not really a big fan of plastic bottles, BPA free or not.
10. Heinz Regular Apple Cider Vinegar
In the spirit of covering all the bases, we have included this pasteurized entry from food giant Heinz. While pasteurized is often considered to be a step down in effectiveness, some people are not able to tolerate the bacteria in unpasteurized apple cider vinegar.
What we like: Out of an abundance of caution, pregnant women are often advised to avoid unpasteurized juices. This vinegar from Heinz enables them to enjoy some of the benefits of apple cider vinegar without endangering their health or the health of their baby.
Flaws: This has had the ‘mother’ pasteurized out of it.
Who Needs Apple Cider Vinegar?
Apple cider vinegar can be useful for just about anyone interested in achieving a higher degree of overall health. Its ability to promote digestion and enhance nutrient absorption is useful for older folks whose bodies naturally begin to lag in those areas. Dieters can also benefit from more efficient digestion as it means they can maintain proper nutrition while eating less food.
But the benefits of apple cider vinegar do not stop there. It has also demonstrated its ability to help treat skin conditions such as eczema and atopic dermatitis. And it can help stabilize blood glucose levels and thereby perhaps help people from developing type 2 diabetes. Those with high blood pressure should also speak to their doctor about adding it to their diet, as apple cider vinegar has been shown effective at lowering blood pressure.
How We Ranked
Ranking apple cider vinegar can be a somewhat subjective process because not everyone will experience the same benefits to the same degrees. That said, there are some objective criteria that can be applied when trying to determine if one brand is better than another.
The first of these is whether or not the vinegar has been pasteurized. Both pasteurized and unpasteurized apple cider vinegar will provide benefits. Most nutritionists, however, believe the raw, unpasteurized form is the more effective of the two because the bacteria used during the 2nd portion of the fermentation process has not been removed.
Why is that important? Because those bacteria (which take the form of the ‘mother’ cloud), contain nutrients and provide valuable probiotic benefits. As such, when it came to apple cider vinegar in liquid form, we gave the nod to raw, unpasteurized products.
Next, we included a mix of pills and liquids because some folks are not keen to cook with vinegar (or to take it by the teaspoon), and some are.
For the pills, we gave preference to high dosage pills that were free of preservatives and were sourced from raw product containing the ‘mother’. We also gave the nod to cellulose-based capsules over ones made with animal gelatin.
Finally, we factored in user feedback because, even though it is an imperfect source of information, trends can still be spotted within such feedback that can help inform a selection.
Apple cider vinegar is good for your heart. Of all the benefits of apple cider vinegar, perhaps none is more important than its ability to lower blood pressure and reduce the strain on your heart. Studies have shown that the acetic acid in apple cider vinegar reduces blood pressure and renin activity (1). Renin (2) is a hormone produced by the kidneys that regulates blood vessel dilation, which also plays a role in determining blood pressure.
Apple cider vinegar may help prevent osteoporosis. When not enough calcium is absorbed by the body, but instead expelled via urine, it can lead to a weakening of the bones known as osteoporosis. Studies on laboratory animals suggest that apple cider vinegar improves calcium absorption (3) in the digestive tract and helps prevent the onset of osteoporosis.
Apple cider vinegar may aid in weight loss. There are a couple of ways apple cider vinegar can be helpful to those seeking to lose weight. First, a teaspoon before dinner will make you feel full and should reduce the amount you eat. Second, it increases nutrient absorption. That means a person does not need to eat as much to obtain the same nutritional value from their food.
Apple cider vinegar is rich in antioxidants. Free radicals are unbalanced atoms that attack healthy atoms in an effort to harvest electrons from them. In doing so, they create yet more damaged atoms, which ultimately leads to the death of formerly healthy cells. This process is known as oxidative stress (4), and it is a major cause of disease. The only antidote to free radicals are antioxidants. As it turns out, apple cider vinegar is rich in antioxidants.
Apple cider vinegar contains valuable nutrients. Beside being rich in antioxidants, apple cider vinegar is also loaded with valuable nutrients. These include the minerals phosphorus, magnesium, iron, and manganese, as well as amino acids that are the building blocks of muscle tissue. This is important for seniors who will lose muscle mass with age (5) unless they take steps to halt the process.
Apple cider vinegar can aid digestion. Above, we mentioned that apple cider vinegar aids in nutrient absorption. It does this by helping to improve conditions in the digestive tract. The acetic acid in this type of vinegar helps break down food so that the nutrients can be more efficiently and effectively separated and absorbed in the digestive tract.
Apple cider vinegar is good for your skin. The health of our skin is reliant on maintaining a certain balance between acidity and pH levels. Too much of either can lead to a breakdown in the appearance of your skin and its ability to protect you from atmospheric pollutants and the like. The acetic acid in apple cider vinegar helps restore this delicate balance. For that reason, many use it to help them deal with skin conditions.
Apple cider vinegar may help regulate blood sugar levels. There is compelling scientific evidence that it can do just that (6). Many diabetics have a hard time keeping their blood glucose levels in check. Many other people who are prediabetic will go on to develop type 2 diabetes if they don’t do something to rein in their blood glucose levels. Apple cider vinegar can help. Talk to your doctor about making it part of your dietary routine.
Apple cider vinegar may help prevent cancer. Let’s be clear: there is no direct correlation between consuming apple cider vinegar and cancer prevention. The effect is indirect. That is, making apple cider vinegar part of your diet should result in more effective digestion, better nutrition, fewer free radicals wreaking havoc in your body, and better overall health. It is that improved overall health that will reduce your risk of cancer.
Apple cider vinegar is a natural product. So many of the foods we ingest as a matter of course these days are highly processed. The long-term effects of all that processed food (7) are obesity, inflammatory conditions, digestive problems, and cancer, among other things. Apple cider vinegar is an all-natural product produced using natural methods thousands of years old.
Apple cider vinegar may help boost the immune system. Probiotics are the beneficial microorganisms that live in your digestive tract (8). One of their jobs is to extract nutrients from the food you eat and deliver them directly to your immune system. Over time, probiotic levels in the gut can decline. As a result, the immune system weakens. Apple cider vinegar is a natural probiotic that can help restore immune system function.
Apple cider vinegar can be used as an emergency disinfectant. Not many foods can also be used as a disinfectant. But apple cider vinegar can. It’s actually the acetic acid in this type of vinegar that can prevent bacterial infection (9). So if you cut yourself and do not have anything else available to disinfect the wound, whip out the apple cider vinegar and pour some on the cut.
Apple cider vinegar boosts energy levels. It is not like drinking a double espresso, but because apple cider vinegar can increase nutrient absorption, it makes more vitamins and minerals available to your muscles and nerves and helps increase blood flow. The result is that you feel more alert and have more energy available to apply to whatever task is at hand.
Apple cider vinegar can help hair look more lustrous. Many of the shampoos sold today end up disturbing the pH balance of the hair. This leads to breakage and frizziness and makes hair difficult to control (10). Mix a bit of apple cider vinegar with an equal amount of water and use it as a final rinse to restore the pH balance. The result will be thicker-looking, more lustrous hair. There is a good chance it will help reduce the itchiness of your scalp as well, which is often caused by bacteria.
Apple cider vinegar may lower cholesterol. High levels of LDL cholesterol are a known risk factor for heart disease and stroke. That’s the bad news. The good news is that numerous studies have confirmed that apple cider vinegar can be useful in lowering the amount of ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol in the blood (11). At the same time, it increases the amount of ‘good’ HDL cholesterol. This restored cholesterol balance will pay short and long term benefits.
Apple cider vinegar may have antifungal properties. Clinical tests have proved its effectiveness in battling candida, otherwise known as yeast. Candidiasis infections can attack the mouth, throat, vagina, penis, and skin and are experienced by both men and women. Apple cider vinegar can neutralize candida overgrowth (12) and prevent these fungi from producing troublesome infections.
Apple cider vinegar may alleviate menstrual cramps. While there is not a lot of clinical evidence to support the notion, many women believe apple cider vinegar can reduce the severity of menstrual cramps. The standard treatment is to mix a tablespoon of vinegar with a full glass of water (hot or cold) and drink. Do this once a day (no more than that) for the duration of your period.
Apple cider vinegar is a natural probiotic. Earlier, we mentioned that probiotics help bolster the immune system and that apple cider vinegar is a probiotic. But its probiotic benefits extend far beyond helping the immune system. The healthy gut microbiome produced by probiotics ensures regularity, reduces cholesterol levels, improves skin health, and can even improve your mood and overall cognitive function.
Apple cider vinegar improves overall health. The best reason of all to make apple cider vinegar part of your daily diet is because you will look and feel better if you do. Your digestive tract will be running more efficiently and effectively. Your immune system will be operating at full capacity. It may help you lose weight and keep it off. And you will not be as prone to bacterial and fungal infections. You are also likely to feel more alert and energetic.
Q: What is apple cider vinegar?
A: Apple cider vinegar is fermented apple juice that has had bacteria added to it during the fermentation process. The role of the bacteria is to neutralize the alcohol that results from fermentation. If this were not done, you would wind up with hard apple cider. Instead, you end up with vinegar. Apple cider vinegar is available either in its raw, unpasteurized state, or pasteurized. Most people prefer the unpasteurized state with its characteristic ‘mother’ cloud.
Q: How should I use apple cider vinegar?
A: Apple cider vinegar may be added to salad dressing, fruit juices, or consumed a teaspoon at a time before meals to suppress appetite. It can also be used in baking like any other type of vinegar. Some people add a couple of teaspoons worth to their bath to benefit their skin, and others mix it 1:1 with water and rinse their hair with the mixture after shampooing.
Q: What happens if I drink apple cider vinegar?
A: Apple cider vinegar should be thought of in the same vein as olive oil. They are both things that can enhance the flavor of different foods, and that may be safe if consumed in small quantities by themselves. But neither one is a drink. Consuming more than a teaspoon of vinegar at a time is to invite unpleasant side effects including nausea, diarrhea, and a lingering unpleasant aftertaste.
Q: Does apple cider vinegar really lower blood sugar?
A: A number of clinical studies have concluded that apple cider vinegar can likely be a valuable tool for those struggling to control blood glucose levels (13)(14). The upshot of these studies is that vinegar increases glucose absorption by muscle tissue, which, in turn, reduces glucose levels in the blood. Vinegar has also demonstrated the ability to reduce blood triglycerides (15), thereby reducing the threat of heart attack and stroke.
Q: What is the ‘mother’ in apple cider vinegar?
A: This is one of the most common questions surrounding apple cider vinegar. The ‘mother’ all the marketing refers to is the cloudy character of unpasteurized, raw apple cider vinegar. This is a byproduct of the bacteria introduced to the fermenting apple juice. Its job is to break down the alcohol that results from that fermentation process and convert it to acetic acid. The ‘mother’ contains vital nutrients that would be lost if the vinegar were pasteurized.
Q: Which is better: pasteurized or unpasteurized apple cider vinegar?
A: As we just mentioned, pasteurization will remove much of the beneficial bacteria you see in the ‘mother’ cloud. While that will not affect the taste of the vinegar to any significant degree, it will result in lost nutrients and a vinegar that is less likely to produce beneficial digestive effects. People tend to buy pasteurized vinegar because they think it will last longer. But this is not the case.
Q: What’s the best time to take apple cider vinegar?
A: As far as time of the day goes, there is no particular time that is better than any other. The only exception is that you probably do not want to consume it right before going to bed. To obtain optimal weight loss and other benefits, it is suggested you take a teaspoon on an empty stomach before meals. This will produce a feeling of being full and likely reduce the amount you want to eat.
Q: Can anyone use apple cider vinegar?
A: Any reasonably healthy person should be able to consume apple cider vinegar in modest amounts on a regular basis. However, those with diabetes, or who are taking medication to control acid reflux or other digestive issues, should consult their doctor before consuming apple cider vinegar.
Q: Are there any side effects to drinking apple cider vinegar?
A: Apple cider vinegar, when consumed in moderation, is typically well-tolerated by most healthy people. However, even too much of a good thing can be a bad thing. So if a person were to overindulge they might experience indigestion, acid reflux, or low potassium levels. In addition, if too much is applied directly to the skin, it could cause a burning sensation. If you intend to apply it to your skin, make sure it is well diluted.
Q: Can apple cider vinegar help with a cold?
A: There is no scientific evidence that apple cider vinegar is solely responsible for preventing or reducing the symptoms of a cold. What it can do is help you enjoy better overall health and immune system function. A healthy person with a strong immune system will be less susceptible to colds and flu. And if they do contract one or the other, they are likely to recover faster.
Q: How long does apple cider vinegar last once you open it?
A: Because apple cider vinegar is naturally acidic and has natural antimicrobial properties, it should last for years, even after being opened. And that is the case whether or not you refrigerate it. There are a couple of things you can do to ensure a long shelf life. The first is always to make sure you reseal it tightly. The second is to store it in a cool place, away from direct sunlight.
Q: Should I drink apple cider vinegar every day?
A: Consuming a bit of apple cider vinegar every day is a good idea for maintaining robust health. However, the critical word here is ‘bit’. Consuming too much vinegar could lead to an upset stomach, diarrhea, or other unwanted side effects. The key to ensuring you derive only benefits from your apple cider vinegar is limit consumption to a couple of teaspoons per day (preferably one at a time), diluted in water.
Q: Can apple cider vinegar help with kidney stones?
A: There is clinical evidence to support the notion that apple cider vinegar may be useful in treating kidney stones (16). It does so by preventing crystals from forming inside the kidney and by reducing the amount of calcium in urine. The primary benefit may actually be more preventive in nature, rather than as a treatment for existing stones.
Q: Can bathing with apple cider vinegar treat eczema?
A: The idea that putting apple cider vinegar in bath water can help treat eczema has been getting around quite a bit. It certainly seems reasonable enough, since eczema is characterized by higher than normal skin pH and apple cider vinegar is mildly acidic. So it should offset that high pH and restore proper acid levels on the skin. As of this writing, however, there is no clinical proof that bathing with apple cider vinegar will help reduce eczema.
Q: Is there anyone who should not take apple cider vinegar?
A: Apple cider vinegar can provide numerous benefits as we have seen. However, because it has demonstrated an ability to affect blood sugar levels, people with diabetes should consult their doctor before using apple cider vinegar. It may be that there is a way to incorporate it into your diabetic treatment regime. But such changes should not be made impulsively.
Q: What’s wrong with pasteurized apple cider vinegar?
A: There is nothing inherently ‘wrong’ with apple cider vinegar that has been pasteurized. It just does not provide the same wealth of benefits that the unpasteurized variety does. During pasteurization, food is exposed to high temperatures that destroy microorganisms that can cause it to spoil. Unfortunately, many of those microorganisms also play a role in providing the above-listed benefits.
Q: Is it true apple cider vinegar can damage teeth?
A: There have not been any health studies that examined a possible link between apple cider vinegar and damage to tooth enamel. However, it is believed that repeatedly exposing one’s teeth to acidic foods can increase the risk of such damage (17). But that doesn’t mean you should rush to the bathroom to brush your teeth after taking apple cider vinegar. In fact, that could be counterproductive. Instead, just rinse your mouth out with water.
Q: Can apple cider vinegar prevent acid reflux?
A: A popular claim circulating about the internet is that apple cider vinegar prevents acid reflux. The fact is, there have been no clinical studies to either confirm or refute these claims. Anecdotal evidence is also mixed. Some people claim it helps them. Others claim it makes their reflux and heartburn worse. The bottom line is that as of this writing, there is not enough evidence to support this claim.
Apple cider vinegar is a natural probiotic that can enhance digestion, bolster immune function, relieve diarrhea and constipation and ensure you get more nutrients from the food you eat. It is also an excellent source of antioxidants that help protect vital organs from the scourge of oxidative stress.
Beyond all that, the acetic acid in apple cider vinegar has numerous other practical benefits. It can help prevent bacterial and fungal infections, improve skin health, improve the look and feel of your hair and aid in weight loss. Unpasteurized apple cider vinegar with its ‘mother’ intact is also a source of important nutrients.
There are scores of apple cider vinegar products on the market today. Use the above information to determine which is right for you.
For cpoe.org’s #1 recommended apple cider vinegar, click here.