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Ask the experts: Apple cider vinegar

Q: “I have been reading on the internet about apple cider vinegar. Apparently it is a health tonic and is helpful in easing arthritis pain if taken regularly. Would you agree with this?”

Marion

A: Nutritionist Bronwen King responds:

“Apple cider vinegar is an acidic solution produced by fermenting apples. It is primarily acetic acid but has extra acids and enzymes. Reports of its healing properties date back to 300BC. In 400BC Hippocrates supposedly used it as a healing and health promoting elixir; since then it has been used alone or in combination with other ingredients, eg. honey, for many health conditions including arthritis and diabetes.

In the 1970s it was also used extensively as an aid to weight loss and this use goes in and out of favour. While the internet has thousands of articles and claims as to its effectiveness there is not enough reliable scientific evidence to form clear conclusions about the efficacy or safety of apple cider vinegar for any health condition.

Research done by reputable scientific institutions with conclusive results is needed before health professionals (and this magazine) can promote it as a health aid. My advice is to use it if you think it helps ease pain but take care with quantity. This is because some experts believe there may be long-term risks associated with the acidity of apple cider vinegar, including low blood potassium levels or diminished bone mineral density.”

First published: Aug 2009



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