Vinegar is a natural tonic that has gained popularity with time due to its hype about home remedies. And it may have some benefits, but you win some, you lose some. In the case of Vinegar, acetic acid is the biggest culprit, behind all the side effects caused by ingesting vinegar. Let’s see the Potential Side Effects of Apple Cider Vinegar!

Vinegar has been very popular for many years because people only focus on the few benefits they see on social media. And they completely ignore the side effects that can be very dangerous and cause severe diseases in the long run.

There are many different kinds of vinegar present in the market, which most of us use daily and the most popular and commonly used type of Vinegar is apple cider vinegar. Apple cider vinegar has a long history as a medication and home remedy to treat diseases like sore throat and weight loss. But there is not much scientific evidence present to prove this claim.

No doubt, apple cider vinegar can be very helpful in boosting metabolism and can burn fats, but you cannot ignore all the side effects that come with it. Most people trying to lose weight add Vinegar into their diet, and some of them take it raw. This is all due to the hype of it in the media. Which can lead these people to some serious disease or health issues.

See, Dangers Of Energy Drinks, Dangers Of Sitting All Day Long, and Is Milk Bad For You?

apple cider vinegar in bottle with apples on wooden cutting board

What is apple cider vinegar:

Apple cider vinegar is the type of apple juice in which the sugar is turned into alcohol by adding yeast. This procedure is known as fermentation. And then, bacteria turn the alcohol into acetic acid, which gives the vinegar smell and sour taste.

Apple cider vinegar is very famous for its home remedies. This Vinegar can easily be made with a few simple steps. First, chop the apples, cover them with water and leave them at room temperature. After some time, the natural sugar will be converted into alcohol with the help of fermentation, and then bacteria will convert it into acetic acid. And this acetic acid can be very harmful to health if used in high doses.

The Side Effect of Apple Cider Vinegar:

Apple cider vinegar can be very harmful to health as there are various side effects of using it in higher doses.

1-Stomach Issues

Apple cider vinegar can cause many stomach issues as well. It can reduce the rate at which food leaves the stomach and enters the lower digestive tract. This slower rate can also slow the absorption of nutrients into the bloodstream.

And all these can worsen the symptoms of gastroparesis, which is a common health condition that affects people with diabetes. In this medical condition, the stomach nerves don’t work properly. And food stays in the stomach for a longer time and slows the rate of its emptiness.

Bloating, heartburn, and nausea, are all the symptoms of gastroparesis. People who have both type 1 diabetes and gastroparesis face many challenges in digestion and absorption of food.

According to one study (Hlebowicz, 2007), the group of people who drink two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar daily has a slower rate of food digestion as compared to those who drink only plain water. Slower digestion can be good for people who want to feel full for a longer time to avoid extra calories, but it can also be dangerous at the same time as it also slows the rate of absorption of nutrients.

So, it is very important for people, especially those with diabetes and gastroparesis, to avoid Vinegar as much as they can. And if consuming, monitor their blood glucose levels regularly. You can also consult a physician before adding Vinegar to your diet plan.

pickles in vinegar


2. Digestive Side Effects

Apple cider vinegar can also cause digestive problems in some people. As it is made by sugar fermentation, which creates acetic acid. And this acetic acid is the critical part of Vinegar that makes it acidic, and some people face upset stomachs and heartburn with acidic or spicy food.

A human and animal study (Frost & Sleeth, 2014) found out that acetic acid present in Vinegar can keep the stomach full for a longer time and some people face bloating and nausea due to this.

Drinking too much apple cider vinegar at one time can also cause diarrhea. And that can be several reasons behind this:

  • The undiluted apple cider vinegar can kill the good bacteria present in the intestine, which is important for gut health.
  • The high amount of sugar present in apple cider vinegar can also cause peristalsis.

Undiluted apple cider vinegar can pull water out of the body and makes the stool more watery.

Another study (Darzi & Montaser, 2013) of people who consume 25 grams of apple cider vinegar found out that they have less appetite but a greater feeling of nausea, especially when they have added Vinegar into their drink with not a pleasant flavor.

3. Low Potassium Levels and Bone Loss

There are a lot of studies \which show the effect of apple cider vinegar on potassium levels and bone health in humans. According to the mayo clinic (clinic, 2020), consuming higher amounts of apple cider vinegar can lead to lower potassium levels in the blood, which can cause constipation, muscle cramps, fatigue, and irregular heartbeat.

And the symptoms can be worse for people who are already on medication like diuretics for high blood pressure, which also lowers the potassium level.

Research (K et al., 1998) on young women who consume 8 ounces of diluted apple cider vinegar daily. When that woman was admitted to the hospital due to low potassium levels in her blood, she had many other abnormalities in her blood chemistry.

Moreover, the woman was also diagnosed with osteoporosis, a medical condition of bones in which bones become weak and brittle. The doctors who treated her believed that the daily use of apple cider vinegar could cause the weakening of her bones. It was also noted that high acid levels present in apple cider vinegar can also reduce the formation of new bones.

According to the latest study (Walker, 2022), Apple cider vinegar can greatly affect bone density and make them weak and brittle. Consuming apple cider vinegar in excess amounts can lead to many health issues like acid reflux and rheumatoid arthritis and increase arthritis pain.

4. Erosion of Tooth Enamel

Apple cider vinegar can also damage the tooth enamel and cause tooth decay and dental erosion. Not only this, but people consume apple cider vinegar daily and also experience yellowish stains on their teeth. There are many studies on soft drinks and fruit juices as well, but some research also showed the damage to tooth enamel due to acetic acid present in Vinegar. That’s why most experts avoid drinking apple cider vinegar, and those who are in support of drinking suggest diluting it first and never drinking it plain. 

In one lab study (Willershausen, 2014), different kinds of Vinegar with pH levels from 2.7 to 3.95 were taken, and the enamel from wisdom teeth was immersed in that. In the next 4 hours, there was a 20% loss of minerals from teeth due to the Vinegar.

Most importantly, the study was done in the lab and not in the mouth. In the mouth of humans, the saliva helps in reducing and balancing acidity. Nevertheless, much different evidence shows the tooth erosion caused by apple cider vinegar.

Another case study (Gambon & Brand, 2012) was conducted on a 15-years old girl who consumed 237 ml of apple cider vinegar daily to lose weight and faced severe dental decay due to this undiluted apple cider vinegar daily.

 5- Esophageal or Throat Burns

Apple cider vinegar is so acidic that it can also cause throat irritation. And in some cases, it can even lead to an esophageal burn. There are no published cases of throat burns due to apple cider vinegar, but one case study (Hill, 2005) explained what happened when an apple cider vinegar tablet was stuck into a woman’s throat for half an hour.

It led to pain and trouble swelling and can also cause injury to her esophagus. The authors of the study also concluded that apple cider vinegar can also be the cause of acid burns.

A registered dietitian, Dr. Katz, and Michelle Jaelin recommend taking apple cider vinegar after diluting it with water. They also said,

“It is a kind of acid that can damage the esophagus lining if taken straight without diluting.”


According to a review (Nuutinen et al., 1994), the children accidentally swallowed some harmful liquids. The acetic acid from the Vinegar was the most common cause of throat burns in those children. So, the researchers recommend putting Vinegar out of children’s reach.

6. Skin Burns

Most people also use apple cider vinegar for brighter and glowing skin home remedies. There is no evidence of apple cider vinegar affecting the skin’s brightness and glow. But some researchers found out that skin burns are caused by Vinegar due to its strong acidic nature.

In one case study (Feldstein et al., 2015), a 14-years old girl applied a few drops of apple cider vinegar on her face to remove moles based on the video she had seen on the internet, which resulted in developing erosions on her nose. In another study (Bunick, 2012), a 6-years old boy developed leg burns due to the apple cider vinegar on his leg infection. There are also many different reports of burns found online caused by applying apple cider vinegar to the skin.

Apple cider vinegar is sometimes also applied to the skin as a toner. Some people also use it on the skin to clear acne, and some for anti-aging purposes. So, if you are also thinking of using apple cider vinegar for clear skin, keep in mind that it will come with the risk of skin irritation.

Another study (Feldstein et al., 2015) found out that apple cider vinegar is applied to the skin regularly can cause serious skin burn and even worsen acne.

So, try to avoid the DIY vinegar remedies for skin; instead, use a medicated toner recommended by a dermatologist. For example, the U.S foods and drugs administration recommends toner on with glycolic acid, which soothes the skin as well as provides the exfoliating benefit. And for acne, salicylic acid can be good.

7. Drug Interactions

Taking apple cider vinegar without diluting it can interfere with other medications as well, especially with diuretics, which are used to lower blood pressure. These medicines lower potassium levels, and apple cider vinegar can also reduce the potassium level in the blood. Apple cider vinegar also interferes with other medications as well:

  • Diabetic medication: people who take insulin or other insulin-stimulating medication, if they consume Vinegar, may exercise and suddenly have low blood sugar levels and potassium levels.
  • Lanoxin: this medication reduces the potassium level; taking it with apple cider vinegar can reduce potassium levels to a dangerous level.

To avoid all of these medical issues, consult the doctor before adding apple cider vinegar into your daily diet routine.

Bottom line:

Apple cider vinegar has become very popular on the internet and media due to its weight loss benefits and usage in home remedies. But it’s not always true what we see on the internet. Sometimes the thing that is working for others may not work for you. And in the case of apple cider vinegar, there are a lot of cases in which people face health issues and experienced Side Effects of Apple Cider Vinegar while using it.

So, try to avoid Vinegar as much as you can. And if you are a supporter of using it, then dilute it with some water before drinking or adding it to home remedies to avoid all the health issues. Undiluted apple cider vinegar can cause stomach and digestive issues, but it can also weaken the bones, cause diarrhea, and if applied to the skin and sensitive areas, cause a burn.

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