Apple Cider Vinegar has a long standing reputation as a health supplement. This golden brew is referred to as ACV by nutritionists who suggest adding it to salad dressings, soups, stews, baked goods and even cocktails. Herbalists use ACV as base for infusing their own version of herbal remedies classics like such as 4 Thieves Vinegar and Fire Cider Vinegar. Among the myriad of reasons it deserves its place in the spotlight is its proven effect of reducing low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol.
What is LDL Cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a fatty substance that our bodies make in order to digest food, make hormones, convert sunlight to vitamin D. As helpful as that is, not all cholesterol is the same. This waxy protein is broken into 2 groups: high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. LDL has been labelled as the “bad” cholesterol although too much of both types is harmful. LDL attaches itself to the walls of our arteries and, if it goes unchecked, cause blocks to blood flow. After taking a lipid test, if your LDL levels are 190 or higher, you may be at risk for heart disease.
How Does Apple Cider Vinegar Help?
As of the publication of this article, there are no studies on humans that focus on how ACV effects cholesterol. It does, however, have a number of compounds that are documented in doing the trick. This nutritional favorite has natural acids such as acetic acid, lactic acid and malic acid. Even a small amount of these natural acids give your digestive system an extra boost in absorbing minerals locked within your food. It encourages your gall bladder and pancreas to excrete more of the digestive juices needed for healthy digestion. This is what gives your body the extra boost it needs to wash the LDL plaque out of your arteries.
ACV contains a water soluble fiber known as pectin. This is the same ingredient that is stirred into jam to make it thicker. Pectin binds with particles in your GI tract, breaking down into fat into smaller droplets. In this form, an enzyme called pancreatic lipase can more easily break fats into heart-healthy fatty acids.
In Western Clinical medicine, organic apple cider vinegar is the favored vinegar as a liquid solvent (menstruum) to infuse herbs in. The most common blends will add warming herbs such as chili pepper/cayenne, onion, garlic, rosemary or ginger. Sometimes an herbalist will infuse the herbs for a few weeks and then strain out the herbs. Sometimes the herbs are left in the vinegar depending on the starchiness of the herb in question. It is frequently paired with heart-healthy herbs such as hawthorn or motherwort and nutritional supplements such as omega 3 fatty acids, red yeast rice, magnesium, potassium and coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10).
Apple cider vinegar infused is spring greens such as nettle, dandelion or chickweed is a common suggestion from herbalists. ACV can lower potassium. The spring greens listed above are high in trace minerals including potassium. The infusion then doubles as an herbal and nutritional supplement.
When not taken as an ingredient in food, 1 or 2 tablespoons of ACV is taken daily for several months or until the lipid levels reduce to a safer level. Dietary changes and exercise regimes compliment the nutritional formulas mentioned above. Always rinse your mouth with water after drinking straight or infused apple cider vinegar as the acetic acid is damaging to your tooth enamel. No more than 2 tablespoons of straight ACV should be taken by mouth a day or either stomach upset or esophageal damage can occur.
Some people are allergic to apples. Do not use it if you are allergic. Be sure to notify your herbalist if you have any allergies. Medication such as digoxin, water pills (diuretics), and insulin all lower your potassium levels. As ACV also lowers your potassium, be sure to talk to your certified healthcare provider before adding it to your diet.
Further Research on Apple Cider Vinegar