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Last modified on August 25th, 2020
There are often natural remedies touted as being helpful for diabetes. Of those, one popular natural remedy is apple cider vinegar. Does apple cider vinegar lower A1C? We explore this topic and what the research says below.
What Is A1C?
Before exploring the answer to “does apple cider vinegar lower A1C,” it’s helpful to understand what A1C is and how it’s relevant to diabetes and health in general.
A1C is measured through a blood test. It can tell you:
- Whether or not you have prediabetes, which puts you at risk for diabetes
- It can be used to help diagnose diabetes
- A1C tests are used to monitor how effective your diabetes treatments are
An A1C test gives you a view of your average blood sugar level over the last two or three months. If you have higher A1C levels, it means you have a higher risk of developing complications of diabetes.
Most people have an A1C test twice a year, but in some cases, if your diabetes doesn’t seem to be well-managed, you may have it more often throughout the year.
There’s no one answer as far as what a normal A1C level is.
A1C target levels are reported as a percentage, and a target level may be different for someone who’s older, for example. Even so, if you are an adult with diabetes, the goal is to have an A1C less than 7% in most cases. The higher the percentage of your A1C test results, the higher your blood sugar levels have been over the past few months.
- If your A1C level is anywhere from 5.7 to 6.5%, then you may meet the criteria for prediabetes
- If your A1C level is 6.5% or higher, then you’re in the range for diabetes
Why Is the A1C Test Important?
If you have diabetes, you may use daily finger pricks or urine tests to measure your blood sugar levels. The downside of these tests, despite their accuracy, is that they only provide a snapshot of your levels at the moment.
These measurements don’t show you how effectively you’re controlling your blood sugar in general. Blood sugar can vary quite a bit because of hormonal changes, the time of day, and your activity levels.
You could have a normal fasting blood sugar, but still have type 2 diabetes, which is why A1C tests are so important in diagnosing prediabetes and diabetes.
What is the A1C Test Actually Measuring?
The A1C test measures the hemoglobin in your blood with glucose attached to it. Hemoglobin is a protein located in our red blood cells, responsible for carrying oxygen to the body.
Glucose attaches to hemoglobin, and there’s a record of the amount of glucose attached to hemoglobin that lasts for around three months. If your hemoglobin cells have too much glucose attached, you have high A1C.
If you have high A1C levels it may mean your diabetes is not well-controlled. Uncontrolled diabetes puts you at risk for many chronic health conditions, including kidney disease, nerve damage, and cardiovascular disease. Uncontrolled diabetes can also put you at greater risk for eye damage that can lead to blindness.
You may need to be on medication if you’ve had prediabetes or diabetes.
Natural Ways to Lower Your A1C Levels
The best ways to lower your A1C levels are to make lifestyle changes. For example, changing your diet and getting more exercise can lower your A1C levels. Taking your medicine as instructed by your doctor is important too.
Often people will turn to supplements to lower their blood sugar naturally as well.
Some of the supplements commonly used to lower A1C and blood sugar levels include:
- American Ginseng
- Vitamin D
The Health Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar
So, now to the question of whether or not apple cider vinegar lowers A1C, and if so, how?
Apple cider vinegar is one of the most popular natural remedies, and it’s been used as a cooking ingredient as well as medicine for centuries.
Apple cider vinegar is made through a two-step process. First, apples are crushed to yeast. That then ferments the sugars, turning them into alcohol. Then, bacteria is added to ferment the alcohol more.
That then turns it into acetic acid, which is the primary active compound in vinegar.
The acetic acid is why most researchers believe apple cider vinegar has potential health benefits.
There’s something called mother in unfiltered, organic apple cider vinegar that has proteins, enzymes and beneficial bacteria. Some believe the mother is the most health-beneficial part of vinegar, but the exact whys of that aren’t known.
Some of the possible benefits of apple cider vinegar include:
- Research shows apple cider vinegar may help kill bacteria. While there isn’t any research to back up the claim officially, it’s long been used for its antibacterial and also antifungal properties.
- There is some evidence apple cider vinegar may help you lose weight. There are human studies that show vinegar can increase how full you feel. Therefore you may eat fewer calories. There was one specific study in which participants took vinegar along with a meal high in carbs. That then led to increased feelings of fullness, and ultimately study participants ate anywhere from 200 to 275 fewer calories throughout the day. Another study of 175 people with obesity found the use of apple cider vinegar daily led to weight loss and reduced belly fat.
- Animal studies have shown the use of vinegar can help reduce cardiovascular risk factors and improve heart health. For example, studies in rats have shown vinegar helps reduce blood pressure. High blood pressure is one of the biggest risk factors for heart disease as well as kidney problems.
- The use of topical apple cider vinegar may help rebalance your skin’s natural pH, and some people feel apple cider vinegar helps with symptoms of eczema and dry skin.
Apple Cider Vinegar and Diabetes
Along with the above and many other health benefits, does apple cider help with diabetes? If so, how? Does apple cider vinegar lower A1C?
There is a fair amount of research on the topic that provides some answers to the question of does apple cider vinegar lower A1C.
For example, there was a review in 2018 that looked at the short- and long-term effects of apple cider vinegar on blood sugar. It found that there was some benefit. The review report found apple cider vinegar led to a small reduction in HbA1c levels after 8 to 12 weeks.
A separate study looked at why apple cider vinegar might lead to reductions in blood sugar and lower A1C levels. A study from 2015 determined that vinegar may help your body absorb blood sugar and that can then increase insulin sensitivity in the muscles.
Since apple cider vinegar contains acetic acid, which is linked to reducing obesity, that is believed to be another way it might help lower A1C.
A 2017 study on mice looked at the effects of a dose of vinegar. The mice in that study had lower body weight, reduced inflammation, and reduced fat distribution, all of which are factors in Type 2 diabetes.
Research from 2004 found that taking 20 grams of apple cider vinegar diluted in 40 mL of water helped lower blood sugar after meals. A 2007 study showed taking apple cider vinegar before bed helped regulate blood sugar when waking up.
So overall, does apple cider vinegar lower A1C? The research is somewhat limited and mixed, but it is possible based on what we currently know.
How to Use Apple Cider Vinegar to Lower A1C
If you want to use apple cider vinegar to lower A1C and control your blood sugar, it’s often best to go straight to the source. Look for organic, raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar. It’s higher in good bacteria. You can add around one teaspoon of vinegar into water, but remember there is no quick fix for something like type 2 diabetes. Making overall healthy lifestyle choices is important as well.
Are There Any Risks of Using Apple Cider Vinegar to Lower A1C?
Apple cider vinegar is pretty safe overall, but always speak to your doctor before adding anything into your routine. If you have ulcers or kidney problems, you might also need to avoid using apple cider vinegar.
Don’t take too much apple cider vinegar because it can lower your potassium levels too much.
The Best Apple Cider Vinegar to Lower A1C
If you plan to use apple cider vinegar to lower your A1C and you prefer not to drink it in water, there are supplements available. We put together some of our favorite apple cider vinegar supplements based on factors like effectiveness and customer reviews.
Nature’s Craft Apple Cider Vinegar Pills are a simple, inexpensive way to get the benefits of ACV, including potentially lowering your A1C.
- ACV supplement works to support overall health and digestion
- Can help reduce sugar cravings and lower your appetite
- The nutrient-dense blend also includes vitamin B6, spirulina, kelp and apple pectin
- Made in America
- Reviews feel this product helped them lose weight relatively quickly without having to drink actual apple cider vinegar
This apple cider vinegar pill features cayenne pepper, to help if you want to detox and lose weight. It may help reduce bloating, as well.
- 100% natural apple cider vinegar from the mother
- The tablets are small, easy to swallow and easily absorbed without irritation
- Contains 1560 mg of pure apple cider vinegar and 60 mg of cayenne pepper
- May help introduce more beneficial bacteria in your gut
- Reviews say this product helps give them more energy and feel less bloated
This potent apple cider vinegar product contains high-quality ACV extract that’s ethically cultivated and sourced. It has an acetic acid content of 20%, compared to other apple cider vinegar gummies and supplements that usually have 3% or less.
- Apple cider vinegar extract is 100% non-GMO
- 12X potency extract
- Contains the mother, so you get the probiotics and enzymes
- The added cayenne pepper helps with bioavailability and maximizes absorption
- Reviews say it’s a high-quality product at a great price that helps with energy and bloating
This apple cider vinegar supplement is keto and helps support detox and suppress your appetite. The makers of the HerbTonics apple cider vinegar product say you’ll lose weight and put your body in ketosis in less than a week.
- This apple cider vinegar includes BHB salts and MCT oil, which can possibly help you burn fat faster. MCT oil is easily digested, healthy fat that helps promote weight loss and reduce lactate buildup so you can use fat for energy.
- Since the idea of HerbTonics is to put you in ketosis, you may be able to burn off carbohydrates faster
- This formula includes 1500 mg of apple cider vinegar
- Supports the body’s natural cleansing process to get rid of bloating and undigested waste
- Reviewers say they’ve gotten amazing results using these pills for weight loss and decreasing their hunger
If you’re thinking about trying apple cider vinegar as a way to lower your A1C, always speak with your doctor first.
To sum up, does apple cider vinegar lower A1C? Some research suggests that it could be helpful. If you do supplement with apple cider vinegar to lower A1C, you’re likely to have better results if you make other lifestyle changes such as getting more exercise.